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Types of Mobility Scooters Explained: Pavement Scooters

Types of Mobility Scooters Explained: Pavement Scooters

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Types of Mobility Scooters Explained: Pavement Scooters
Last updated: February 5, 2019

With Spring fast approaching, you may be thinking about buying a pavement scooter to help you get around. For those that have owned or used a mobility scooter previously, this may be a fairly straight forward decision. However, what should you do if you have never owned or used a mobility scooter before?

For those unfamiliar with pavement scooters, this is the second in a short series of blog articles that will attempt to demystify the jargon and get you up to speed on the different types of mobility scooters and some of the key considerations when choosing a mobility scooter that meets your needs.    

Different Types of Mobility Scooters

As a recap from the first article, mobility scooters are available in a few different shapes and sizes depending on the users' needs. The type of mobility scooter can be loosely categorised as one of the following; 

This blog article will focus on pavement scooters and will explore portability, battery range, performance and comforts afforded by this type of mobility scooter. 

Additional commentary is also offered on servicing, user requirements and expectations that accompany owning and operating a pavement scooter.  

Pavement Scooters

Pavement Scooter Portability

Pavement scooters, as they are commonly referred to are a medium size mobility scooter and are considered a 'Class 2' carriage.  Pavement scooters are usually slightly larger and heavier than the boot scooters discussed previously. 

Whilst the majority of boot scooters disassemble, not all pavement scooters do. For pavement mobility scooters that do disassemble, the process is identical to that of a boot scooter.  This usually allows for the scooter to be separated quickly and easily into smaller, lighter parts.  Typically, the handlebars (otherwise known as the 'Tiller' or 'Tiller Control') may be lowered and the seat can be removed and folded down. For convenience, the components are usually assembled with a 'push & click' type mechanism and in most cases won't require the use of any special tools to assemble and disassemble this type of mobility scooter.  Similar to a boot scooter, the rear of the mobility scooter that houses the transaxle, rear wheels, gearbox and motor usually separate as one whole component.  In most cases, the rear component is usually the heaviest and a grab bar is available to make lifting and carrying easier.  

However, this is where the portability similarities with boot scooters usually end. Pavement scooters - as the name suggests - are designed for regular, short to medium distance pavement journeys. To accommodate this extra range consideration, larger, heavier batteries are often fitted.  This extra weight, in addition to the larger frame and components such as motor, gearbox, seat and wheels combine to make the whole process of disassembly and lifting of a pavement scooter for car transport more challenging, particularly if this is required to happen on a regular basis.   However, if you have a large enough vehicle, such as a 4x4 or an estate car and are willing to outlay the extra cost, an electronic hoist may be fitted in the boot will allow you to lift and manoeuvre the mobility scooter into the rear of the vehicle using a remote control. 

On the other hand, if transporting your mobility scooter is only likely to be required once in a while and you are of suitable physical strength, then a pavement scooter will fit in most cars providing the car is empty, the scooter disassembled as far as possible, and the rear seats of the car lowered to accommodate the full length the scooter. 

Pavement Scooter Battery Range

A pavement scooter is designed for making short to medium journeys. Typical use cases for using a boot scooter would be a trip into your local village, a trip to see friends or family a few streets away, or a visit to your local doctor's surgery. Anywhere that is likely to require you to otherwise do somewhere in the region of 20 - 30 minutes walking each way is a good example of the type of journeys that are suited to a pavement mobility scooter. 

As such, pavement scooters are powered by medium size (12V/34Ah), heavier (11Kg) batteries compared to a typical boot scooter battery (12V/12Ah/4Kg). 

A pavement scooter is powered by two of these 34Ah batteries in series, giving a total capacity of 34 Amps at a voltage of 24V.  This strikes a balance between performance and portability that differs from a boot scooter.  Unlike a boot scooter than leans more towards portability, a pavement scooter will lean more towards performance.  Many other factors ultimately play a part in achievable battery range but to keep it simple, as a loose guide, the three-times heavier batteries found in a pavement scooter will also offer nearly three times the charge capacity and in turn, additional range.  This additional range translates into a greater achievable distance, a greater number of journeys before the batteries need recharging or a mixture of both. 

If you are looking for additional mileage from your pavement scooter, some are designed to handle larger capacity batteries. Where available, this will usually be limited to the next physical size up, 45Ah-50Ah. 

If you do choose to purchase a pavement mobility scooter with the intention of fitting larger capacity batteries for increased mileage, be mindful the bigger the battery, the longer it will take to charge. 

Pavement Scooter Lights

Almost every pavement mobility scooter will come fitted with at least a front headlight. In many cases, taillights will be also be fitted at the rear of the scooter with the lights controlled via a button on the handlebars. 

If lights are not present, a rear tail light can be retrofitted to the seat post and a front light attached to the handlebars to make yourself more visible. Universal mobility scooter light sets are readily available in various styles

Pavement Scooter Tyres

Pavement scooters are typically fitted with tubed tyres. These type of tyres are cheaper and arguably offer a more comfortable ride than solid, puncture proof tyres. Tubed tyres will feel like they have a little more bounce compared to a solid tyre which can give the feel of a more rigid ride.   Naturally, however, a solid tyre holds the distinct advantage of being puncture proof which can provide some additional peace of mind if you travel alone, have limited physical abilities or are concerned about breaking down and not being able to get home. 

Ultimately, if the answer is you would struggle to be able to get home in the eventuality of a puncture, then consider upgrading the tyres from tubed to solid type. The additional costs of the upgrade are usually worth it for the peace of mind.  

With use, both tubed tyres and solid types eventually need replacing so factor this into long term maintenance costs. 

Pavement Scooter Performance

A pavement scooter is designed with a maximum speed of 4mph and is usually driven by a low power, relatively lightweight electric motor. 

There are two types of motor often found in pavement scooters; 'brushed' and 'brushless'.  If fitted with a brushed type motor it is possible with regular long term use that you may need to replace the motor brushes.  This can be arranged during your mobility scooter service. Different models of a motor will require different size brushes so plan ahead when arranging your pavement scooter service and advise your service engineer at the earliest opportunity if your service is to include replacing your motor brushes.  

Pavement Scooter Seat

The seat is another part of the scooter that is often distinguished by the type of scooter it is fitted to. In the essence of comfort, the seat on a pavement scooter will usually be well padded and better suited to longer journeys than a boot scooter.  On deluxe pavement scooters, a 'Captains' seat with adjustable headrest may be fitted. Whilst offering greater comfort, it is worth remembering these style seats are heavier and bulkier than a standard seat. So if you are planning on transporting your pavement scooter by car or consider battery range to be of greater importance than a comfort, factor in the impact of the additional bulk and weight that comes with a deluxe seat.     

Similar to how the seat on a push bike works, most pavement scooter seats are adjustable up and down to accommodate users of different heights and allow ample leg room. A pavement scooter will also typically be fitted with adjustable armrests and a swivel seat. 

How Comfortable is a Pavement Scooter to Operate? 

A pavement mobility scooter is operated using controls on the handlebars. The handlebars are usually a 'T' design that is held with both hands, similar to a push bike. A throttle lever is usually present that can be pressed with a thumb whilst holding the handlebars. Pushing the lever forwards or backwards will allow the scooter to be operated in forward or reverse directions. 

Some luxury or deluxe models of pavement scooters come equipped with 'Delta' style handlebars more often found on 'road legal' mobility scooters. Delta handlebars curve back on themselves at the end of the handlebar, affording the user to be able to hold the handlebars in a different position to the regular 'T' design. Arguably, the greatest benefit of a Delta style handlebar and the different hand position is that it affords the user the ability to operate the throttle control by clasping the hand around it, rather than pushing with the thumb. This helps avoid 'thumb fatigue', a phenomenon where the user's thumb may become cold, stiff or uncomfortable over longer journeys.  

With the extra comforts afforded by the seat, the lights and the medium size batteries, it becomes easier to understand the situations and applications a pavement scooter is designed for. 

As far as additional comforts and perks are concerned, an electronic horn is usually present to help alert others of your presence (similar to a car or bike) and is operated by push button. 

Newer models of pavement scooter may also come equipped with suspension in the form of small spring coils or hydraulic dampeners that may afford a bit of extra comfort over uneven terrain. 

Legal & Requirements of You as a User

A pavement scooter, as a Class 2 carriage, is only permitted to be operated on a pavement or footpath and not on the road unless reasonably unavoidable, such as a broken footpath or an obstacle such as repair works or a parked car. Take extra care and watch for passing traffic if using the road is unavoidable. 

4mph is the maximum speed permitted on a pavement or footpath; this does not necessarily mean it is the safest or most appropriate speed to travel at.  This is for the driver to determine, in consideration of both the environment they are in and their own competence to operate the mobility scooter at speed and consideration must be shown to others at all times. 

Operating your pavement scooter without due care and attention in a public place so as to endanger your own safety or the safety of others is likely to be breaking the Law.

You are not required to tax or insure a  pavement scooter, although insurance may offer you peace of mind in the event of a fire, theft or an accident. 

If you do choose to insure your pavement scooter, check first to see if you are not already covered by an existing policy, such as your home insurance.  Overlapping insurance policies of any description rarely both payout fully, so satisfy yourself with what you are and aren't covered for under any existing policies you may own.

As with any mode of transport, when operated in public space it is especially important to drive sensibly and remain considerate to other members of the public. Unlike a car, as of writing, there is no mandatory test to determine a individuals suitability or fitness to operate a pavement scooter or any other type of mobility scooter (although this could change in the future). 

Common sense, safety and courtesy to others is paramount.  

If you suffer from a medical condition or episodes that may impact upon your capability to operate a mobility scooter, you are best advised to factor in these considerations when determining your suitability to operate a mobility scooter competently and within the Law.  Such examples may include but are not limited to impaired eyesight, dependency and side effects of drugs or medication and conditions such as dementia.   

Servicing

Depending on usage, an annual service is usually sufficient for most users. However, if you are a frequent user have your pavement scooter serviced at shorter intervals. 

Similarly, if you notice any unusual noises or changes in your pavement scooter's performance or stability, have your pavement scooter serviced at the earliest opportunity.  Like with many electrical or mechanical apparatus, regular servicing and maintenance will go a long way to avoiding unnecessary and costly repairs at a later date. 

This was the second in a three-part series of blog articles exploring the different types of mobility scooters. 

Thank for reading. Next time, we will explore Road Legal Mobility Scooters and their differences. 

This is an opinion based article and is intended for informational purposes only. Errors, omissions, and amendments are to be expected.  

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