Getting out and about
MOBILITY scooters and wheelchairs can give a new lease of life to people enabling them to get out and about more often.
Weekend Shopper’s General section includes a range of transport options with a scooter, power chair and wheelchair all giving owners freedom and the opportunity to lead a more interesting and independent lifestyle.
A spokesperson for the Queenslandbased Spinal Injuries Association with offices at Woolloongabba, Brisbane, and Townsville, said for some people, these pieces of mobility equipment were vital.
“They are literally a lifeline for people with a temporary or permanent disability to be able to leave their home, get out into the community, work, socialise and shop doing the everyday things people should all be able to do with the right supports and equipment,’’ the spokesperson said.
There are several things to consider when looking to buy a pre-loved wheelchair and scooter.
“Adequate seat size is important. Your bottom and back should rest against the backrest with a gap of three fingers from behind your knee to the start of the seat,’’ the spokesperson said.
“There should be one to two fingers on either side of your hips to the armrests as a good starting point.
“With the backrest, the recommended height is to the top of your shoulders.
“If you intend to use your powerchair for travel in a maxi taxi or public transport you will require vehicle tie downs and a chair that has passed Australian Standards for crash testing.
“A headrest is also required when travelling in case of collision to prevent whiplash injuries. Most scooters currently available in Australia are not crash tested and hence occupants are required to transfer out of their scooter onto a passenger seat in maxi taxis.
“Like any piece of mechanical equipment ensure that the chair has been repaired and maintained by a reputable service provider.
“Older scooters and powerchairs may be more difficult to maintain due to availability of spare parts.
“If you have limited space at home and need to manoeuvre the chair in tight spaces, a mid-wheel drive powerchair may be more suitable.
“However, if you intend to use the powerchair for community access or have acreage or steep hills near your home, a more rugged chair with a rear wheel drive may be more appropriate.
“Take your potential new wheels for a test drive when possible. Make sure you are happy with the available speeds and that it has sufficient torque to negotiate any ramps or gradients for your specific needs.’’
If people intend using either a powerchair or a scooter on the road, they will need to register their equipment with Queensland Transport and road rules apply.
Take your potential new wheels for a test drive when possible. Make sure you are happy with the available
speeds and that it has sufficient torque to negotiate any ramps or gradients for
your specific needs.’’