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Safety concerns for mobility scooter users

17 July 2019 – The ever increasing number of mobility scooters and power chairs now on footpaths do provide independence for the users but Waikato charitable trust Life Unlimited is concerned some people using them are doing so unsafely.

Service and development manager Todd Stephenson says training workshops Life Unlimited runs at retirement villages and community events provide an ideal opportunity for people who have bought or contemplating buying a mobility scooter, the opportunity to learn how to drive them safely. A service technician usually attends to provide free mobility scooter checks.

“We see the positive change in so many people’s lives through the increased independence that a mobility scooter can provide and feel it is very important to give people a chance to see how easy they are to operate and how safe they can be,” says Stephenson.

Life Unlimited is a charitable trust offering health and disability services, advice and equipment. It has five stores operating under Mobility Centre in Hamilton, Lower Hutt, Tauranga, Rotorua and Gisborne as well as an online store offering an extensive range of mobility products and services. This includes a wide range of daily living aids, mobility scooters, walkers, braces and supports.

“You don’t need a driver’s licence to operate a mobility scooter and they’re not required to have a warrant of fitness or registration, but there are rules around their use,” says Stephenson.

For example, a mobility scooter should not be on the road if a footpath is available.

“People on mobility scooters can be quite vulnerable and that’s why we recommend accessories like flags and high-vis clothing.

“We also like to provide guidance to our customers around the type of mobility scooter they should buy. For example, does it have enough power to get up hills around your neighbourhood, what size is best for your weight and can you get it serviced?

How to choose a mobility scooter

“Neo mobility scooters have been on the New Zealand market for 20 years but we now import them directly and are the exclusive New Zealand retailer.

“We did a lot of research and we believe the model offers the best value for money, reliability and safety for the New Zealand environment,” says Stephenson.

Life Unlimited celebrated its 40th anniversary this month as a charitable trust which provides health and disability information, advice and equipment to enable people to live the life they choose.

Other services offered by Life Unlimited include: