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The Future Of Mobility with Scooters Australia

We take a look at the past, present, and future of mobility scooters with Managing Director of Scooters Australia, Peter Fraser.

Mobility scooters have come a long way since they first appeared in Australia in the 1980s. Many models were unreliable, portability was out of the question, and only a handful of retailers dealt in this strange new product. 

The mobility industry progressed slowly, but by the late 1990s, scooters had assumed that now-familiar design, and the fundamental engineering behind them wouldn’t change for another 15 years. The sight of someone trundling down a footpath, visibility flag twisting in the wind, became normal. Fledgling state-based government programs provided modest financial support, but most purchases were self-funded. 

Scooters Australia was one of the first importers. There weren’t many options: a couple of American manufacturers and one Japanese. 

Managing Director Peter Fraser, who began by selling the Shoprider brand out of his garage, says it’s been a long ride. 

“People used to look at you funny. Accessibility wasn’t as big as it is now. But we believed that what we were selling genuinely improved lives, and that’s a powerful belief,” Peter says. 

“Things have changed in the last 5 years. There’s more awareness, especially with the NDIS,” he says. 

The scooters themselves have also changed. Users have become more discerning. They know what they want and they have a large range to choose from. There are heavy-duty scooters that go far and accommodate large passengers. There are minimalist scooters that fold to implausibly small cubes. Some come with USB chargers, some are made for travel. 

“We sell mostly portable products like the Luggie now. Hundreds of customers have taken them on planes,” Peter says. 

A man seated on a Luggie scooter on the path in Bordeaux
The Luggie scooter is portable enough to take users around the world.

The Luggie scooter combines portability with a sturdy frame, allowing users to roam the globe. It also features a nifty half-fold trick for levering it into the boot, removing the need for hoists or other elaborate devices. The adjustable seat height means it’s suitable for all ages, and the heavy-duty models can carry up to 163kg.

So what of the future? With the world becoming more accessible and technology more sophisticated, is there still a place for the simple mobility scooter?

“New concepts are always coming out. Some work, some don’t. With the hype around electric cars and battery technology, we expect there’ll be flow-on benefits to scooters. The basic formula of the scooter with state-of-the-art technology on top,” Peter says. 

Scooters Australia is the national importer for the Luggie brand. Visit their website or call 1300 622 633 for more information.

This feature first appeared in Travel Without Limits. You can subscribe to the magazine here.

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