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Independent Living Journal cover...


Independent LivingVolume 27 No 4

  published in December 2011

Featured Articles

Gofer Guidelines

- How to Select a Mobility Scooter
by Liza Ozsdolay, ILC WA

A scooter can assist a person to extend their personal mobility, conserve energy and increase their independence within the community...

Mobility scooters - sometimes referred to as gofers or gophers - are designed for use by people who have difficulty walking long distances involved in accessing their community.

There are many different types of scooters, ranging from small scooters that can be folded or disassembled for transport to heavy duty outdoor models for rough terrain, so it is important to understand the differences between scooters before purchasing one. Comparing the features of scooters will ensure you select one that suits the individual’s abilities, environment and lifestyle.

ACCC Report

- Help cut Mobility Scooter Injury
by ACCC and Accident Research Centre, Monash University

Over the past year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has been leading a number of coordinated national activities to help cut mobility scooter accidents.

Working in partnership with stakeholders including representatives from the mobility scooter industry, health, injury prevention and aged care organisations, and other government agencies, activities have included gathering further data and developing standardised information for relevant stakeholders; and clarifying and standardising terminology and requirements across various government areas. The aim of these activities is to develop and implement strategies for a united approach to minimise deaths and injuries related to mobility scooters.

An ACCC commissioned research report into injury data related to motorised mobility scooters released earlier this year found a total of 442 hospitalisations related to mobility scooter fall injuries during the two years from July 2006 and June 2008. This number would be higher if other accidents, such as collisions, were also included. With motorised mobility scooters becoming an increasingly viable option for older people to maintain independence and engagement with the community and provide physical, social and mental health benefits, there is an increasing need to address some important safety concerns.

Motor Scooter Injury Surveillance

- Incidence, Severity And Common Characteristics
by Sophie Pointer and Clare Bradley, Research Centre for INJURY Studies, Flinders University

Mobility scooters (also referred to as gofers or motorised/electric scooters) are a common mode of transportation for frail or disabled people. Considered to be a ‘pedestrian conveyance’, not a vehicle, by the Australian Road Rules (NRTC 2009), mobility scooters are not registered and/or owners do not have to pay compulsory third party insurance fees in most jurisdictions.

The number of mobility scooters in use in Australia is largely unknown due to the lack of registration records and limited sales data (many mobility scooters are bought and sold in the second-hand market). However, it is thought that the number of mobility scooters in use will rise as the proportion of the Australian population aged 65 years and older rises.

Removing the Blinkers

- Scooter Use for People with Low Vision
by Lil Deverell, Guide Dogs Victoria and Daniel Ong, Vision Australia

The prospect of scooter use by people with low vision naturally raises concerns, particularly amongst health professionals. This article explores some of the issues which arise in elation to low vision scooter travel.

Motorised mobility scooters have recently become more prominent in the community. Like bikes, anyone can buy or use a scooter, even people with low vision, providing they follow the road rules.

Scooter Retrospective

- A Product Review Special
by Jenny Foreman ILC NSW

As noted elsewhere within this issue of Independent Living, the secondhand market represents a significant share of mobility scooter sales. With this in mind, we look back at some of the scooters featured within Product Review over the last five years...