By Jason Stark
I was enjoying a gorgeous sunny spring day, leaning back in my chair, sipping my coffee. At the Santa Barbara Borders patio, a woman on her mobility scooter was moving about on the front patio.
She was just swinging by people sitting at the tables who seemed to be getting ready for the late afternoon concert. The woman in what I learned later was called a “mobility scooter” was making small talk to the people who she drove by. It really seems not to be difficult to strike a conversation when you have a scooter. You simply drop by a table where someone else sits, usually by themselves, and start a conversation with “Excuse me, just wanted to catch a sun ray here…” Mobility scooter is not just a vehicle but also an impressive conversation starter!
I looked away for a second and I noticed another person in a wheelchair being pushed out of the bookstore’s entrance. Somebody was holding his wheelchair by the handles on the back seat and pushing his wheelchair toward the exit. I thought for a second. What was the difference between the woman in the mobility scooter and the man in the wheelchair?
The woman in the scooter was speaking with a smile in her voice, cheery. She was talkative and seemed easy to make conversation with. The man in the wheelchair had a face that had just about no expression on it. He seemed quite lifeless when compared with the woman.
I thought about it. What was the difference between the two? Was it that the lady was scooting around on her own, using an electric scooter, and the man in the wheelchair had to be pushed and seemed like he couldn’t move around on his own? Is that why he seemed so lifeless? That was my first thought anyways. Then I asked myself, what would I do if I couldn’t walk for some reason? At first it would probably be quite difficult to adjust but soon I would probably want a mobility scooter. It just seems so easy to move around. You can accelerate quickly and stop on a dime too, it seems.
I suddenly started noticing there were many people motoring around on their mobility scooters everywhere. I checked online and I noticed a plethora of websites selling mobility scooters and scooter accessories. The mobility scooters, power wheelchairs, scooter lifts and carriers industry seems to be booming online and putting millions of people all across the USA, so it seems, on pavements, minding their business, motoring around.
I noticed that, indeed, our cities are fully ready for mobile scooters. Our pavements have ramps and sidewalk cuts enabling scooters to drive easily across the pedestrian crossings. Our busses have ramps that extend out of the bus and provide a bridge that can enable a mobility scooter driver to ride a bus easily and effortlessly.
I even realized that, on flat pavement, mobility scooters are much faster than pedestrians. A real speed advantage of the “mobility challenged” over regular pedestrians!