Many people have limited mobility, making it necessary to use a wheelchair or scooter to get around. Motorized chairs allow people with disabilities to get around on their own, without constant caregiver support. These chairs are a way for people to become more independent in their environment.
A motorized wheelchair uses electric motors and batteries to power the vehicle. The chair is used to transport people with medical conditions. The chairs can either have three wheels like a trike or have four wheels for better stability. Power comes from two 12-volt batteries that are wired to a controller. A joystick or buttons mounted on the arms of the chair are used for controlling movement.
For those owners that have limited or no hand movement other options are available. A chin control is mounted on a swing-away gimble and is placed just below the chin. The user pushes the control in the direction that they want to go. Power wheelchairs are typically used for those that are have extremely limited movement and use a wheelchair as their main source of movement. A basic motorized chair will have simple controls and drive motors. More advanced units will be equipped with power lift which helps the occupant ease in and out of the chair. Some wheelchairs have the ability to climb stairs and self stabilize. These chairs are very expensive and only available for the few who can afford them.
Unlike motorized chairs, mobility scooters are used for those who need a little more aid in mobility for longer distances than a cane or walker can provide. The scooters typically use steering handles similar to a bicycle handlebar. Just like on a motorcycle or motor scooter, the speed is controlled by rotating a throttle on the handlebar. Often these scooters come equipped with baskets that allow hands-free operation while carrying loads.
Scooters come in different sizes for use in the home and ease of transport in a vehicle. They are equipped with lights for nighttime operation. Even though scooters are capable of faster speeds than power chairs, they are still considered to be pedestrian modes of transportation. The chairs are not registered to be driven for highway use.