Unlike Power Wheelchairs with their steering joystick control on the side armrest, the steering
control on a Mobility Scooter is located on a tiller. The tiller is the steering column
located at the front of the scooter that provides forward/reverse directions and speed controls.
The direction of the scooter is controlled by thumb paddles, finger controls or a switch.
There are several types of tillers:
Delta Tiller: A delta tiller has handles on each side that wrap around. This allows the
user to steer the scooter in a variety of hand and wrist positions, which provides
maximum comfort. Pride offers the Celebrity X 3-Wheel with this feature.
Fully Adjustable Tiller: A fully adjustable tiller allows positioning of tiller for
greatest comfort and makes mounting and dismounting less difficult. ActiveCare Medical offers The Prowler 3410 with this feature. This
tiller has 5 different adjustment angles for easy mount and dismount. You can see the
adjustment knob in the picture.
One-handed throttle control: A joy stick like mechanism which allows for one handed
control of the Mobility Scooter. The Pride Revo SC63 offers this feature.
Each type offers benefits to meet specific needs of the passenger. Considering the passengers
come in all weights and sizes, these options are helpful in determining the steering comfort level
desired in a mobility scooter.
Depending upon the type of scooter, there are advantages and disadvantages in regard to steering
- 3 Wheel Mobility Scooters are very maneuverable in small spaces – small turning radius.
- 4 Wheel Mobility Scooters are easier to steer on rough terrain due to its wide stance.
3 Wheel Mobility Scooters are more susceptible to getting caught in ruts in the roads
with their front tire.
- 4 Wheel Mobility Scooters require a wider turning radius.
Mobility Scooters have changed the face of transportation for the disabled community. Although
their power has offered ease of movement, freedom and independence, it has some limitations in
regard to steering. Most scooters require upright posture, shoulder and hand strength, and some
upper body mobility and strength. If any of these are an issue, it could affect the steering
function of the scooter.
In addition to these requirements, there are road conditions to consider. Some mobility scooters
have a low ground clearance which can make it difficult to navigate roads without proper curb cuts,
or small rooms indoors including grocery stores or clothing stores where items are often on display
in the isles. Accessories such as baskets or cup holders can also affect the maneuverability of the
Flexibility, weight, road conditions and accessories affect the steering feature of all mobility
When purchasing a Mobility Scooter, it is important to select a scooter that is equipped to
handle the specific needs of the user i.e. weight, size and flexibility. These factors will affect
the steering mechanism and could void the warranty. Rule of thumb – purchase a mobility scooter
that is rated for your weight or size.
Steering the mobility scooter takes a little practice. For those accustomed to a manual chair,
having POWER under their control can be a little scary at first, but practice makes perfect.