Mobility is the hot gift from families looking for options to keep their aging parents active and happy.  Family members pitch in a portion of the cost and prepare to buy dad or mom “new wheels” – an electric scooter for their upcoming birthday.  The purchase is viewed as an alternative for a revoked driver’s licence or a way to compensate for reduced mobility due to health issues.

Price

On average, a new scooter will cost about $3,000 including two batteries.  Their price range is from about $2,000 to more deluxe models around $5,000.  Some regular maintenance as well as battery replacements approximately every four years can be expected.  Accessorizing options include sun and rain canopies, hard-cover weather shells, and baskets for groceries and personal items.  Some accessories such as the hard shell will add substantial weight and dimension to the scooter making it difficult or even impossible to fit it into a bus or van.  Accessories may be inconveniences if they end up reducing access to some services.

Buying-selling second-hand

Generally retailers will consider consignment sales for units that are less than two years old.  However, re-sales are not a strong market.  Purchasers often receive subsidies through veterans’ programs or Blue Cross.  Eligibility for subsidies requires an assessment by an occupational therapist and the approval and subsidy will be given only for new units.  For those looking to sell their scooter, a consignment sale will return about 25% of the original purchase price, depreciation and the retailer’s cut consuming the difference.

Rent first

Some retailers will offer a rental option.  This is a great opportunity not only to determine if you feel a scooter is a suitable style of transportation but also to see if it fits your lifestyle.

Scooters can be a complex purchase and some things to consider include:

  1. Ensuring you have an appropriate and safe place for the scooter to be parked and the batteries recharged;
  2. Check that the scooter model selected has a motor strong enough for regular inclines you encounter;
  3. If your home or other places important to you require a ramp, ensure you can navigate it safely and comfortably;
  4. If you will be using an elevator with your scooter, ensure you are comfortable moving the scooter in and out of the elevator;
  5. Determine if you are comfortable driving the scooter into a public bus[1] if public transit is one of your transportation methods; and,
  6. Look beyond price, ensuring that the retailer has a reputable repair shop with great customer service.

Scooter users will find that weather can be a challenge.  Snow means leaving your scooter parked.  Rain requires that the scooter control pad be protected.  Even so, scooters can offer a wonderful way to stay engaged and active even as health changes occur.


[1] BC Transit FAQs for wheelchairs and scooters http://www.bctransit.com/regions/vic/accessible/low-floor-faq.cfm