Lucky me, with light injuries after falling while riding a scooter

Take care when choosing a MS mobility device; they're not all made the same

Ed Tobias avatar

by Ed Tobias |

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Oops!

I took a turn too fast in the parking lot of my condo the other morning and tipped to the left. And with that, my mobility scooter and I headed for a fall.

Do you know the feeling when something bad is about to happen and there’s nothing you can do to stop it? I had that feeling. Five seconds seemed like 50 as the 325-pound scooter began to tilt and I knew there was not a thing I could do to keep it from falling on top of me.

I’m not a stranger to scooter riding

I should’ve known better. Because of my multiple sclerosis (MS), I’ve owned a scooter for years, and I’ve had this happen before. Both times I went down to the left, and both times I was able to slowly pick myself up, dust myself off, and ride all over again.

But this time, during those five seconds, I really thought I was going to be hurt.

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It turns out the scooter and I are both pretty tough. Though I was momentarily trapped — my left foot was stuck under the scooter, and my left leg has trouble bending due to my MS spasticity — I was able to extricate myself, push and pull myself off the ground, and upright the scooter (which was made a little easier because its 30-pound battery pack came dislodged during the fall).

A quick check found no harm to the scooter or me except for a scraped left elbow (easily handled with a dab of Neosporin) and my bruised pride. My new scooter, purchased only about a month ago to replace an older one, wasn’t even scratched.

Choose the best scooter for you

I’ve always recommended that people with MS get an electric scooter when they get to the point that it’s difficult to comfortably walk more than a short distance. Having one has helped my wife and I travel all over the world and visit some wonderful places. Closer to home, it helps with shopping and lets me share in walking our dog.

But when I’ve made those recommendations, I’ve never cautioned that a scooter should be ridden with respect and that some are more stable than others. Some are better at handling inclines, some are tough to use on grass, and most don’t do well on gravel. It’s information someone needs to consider when choosing a scooter, and there are a lot of sizes, shapes, and weights to choose from, as well.

My scooters have always been the three-wheel style, like a tricycle. The one I travel with is very light, but also very unstable. My neighborhood ride is heavier, wider, and more stable — but that’s the one that toppled the other day.

There are also some scooters with four wheels, two in the front. Naturally, they’re more stable than what I’ve been riding. Maybe a four-wheeler is the safer way for me to go. Or maybe I should just stop speeding.

You’re invited to visit my personal blog at www.themswire.com.


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Comments

Kathy Allen avatar

Kathy Allen

I've used a scooter for at least 15 years & have travelled to many countries. I've had 2 scooters, always 4 wheels. I tried a three wheel & it rolled over on top of me & I said never!!! When it rolled over top of me, people came running from all over to help so I didn't have to right it myself. Amazed that you continued with 3 wheels. At this point, I am making plans to travel in the UK & hope to be able to hire scooters called Trampers that will handle rougher terrain. In my exploring, I found other areas that actually do guided 'walks' that look phenomenal. Good luck to you, appreciate your colum!

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KATHY BALL avatar

KATHY BALL

So glad you are okay, Ed! I have a 4 wheeled scooter had have wondered if it could tip.
Thanks for your insight,

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Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Hi Kathy-

Thanks for your note. The headline (written by someone else) made it sound more serious than it was. As I wrote, it was just a scraped elbow - I don't really consider that "injuries" - more scary than injurious. Anything can tip, but I think your 4-wheeler is less likely to do that than my tricycle.

Ride carefully,

Ed

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Glenda avatar

Glenda

I choose an electric chair over a scooter because it weighs about 50 pounds so it’s more portable than I am. I needed a source with brands, prices, and pro & cons. I ended up ordering from Amazon after lengthy reading and comparing, but I was still taking a huge chance. I’d love to see a published article with all issues discussed.

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Kim Robertson avatar

Kim Robertson

I use 4 wheel walker & the brakes won’t hold if sitting down on it @ times causing me to slip off & really landing hard. I’ve injured self so many times, one time I fell back & broke rat wrist both bones & rt ankle both sides. My rt ankle was jiggling all over but wasn’t in much pain Had to have 2 titanium plates put in on both side & 12 weeks of PT in home,
What do u think about the upright 4 wheel walkers? I heard they can tip over easy, I thought it help with back pain ? Not hunched over like other.
RRMS. since 18yo started with lt armpit numbness noticed while shaving! Of course Dr didn’t know or did any testing. Then early 20’s I noticed when I bent my head downward felt like electricity running down. 28yo got Bell’s Palsy shortly after getting flu shot, thought I had stroke, couldn’t spit when brushed teeth numb on right side of face, eyelid wouldn’t close all the way, couldn’t raise eyebrow, crooked smile. I got ready & went to nursing home for LPN school in NEUROLOGY & teacher made me go to ER, That’s where I really got tested 2 lumbar punctures MRIs every yr for more lesion detection. I went to RN school, worked til 5 to 6 yrs. Drs couldn’t believe I was not any worse with symptoms, 42 I started getting numb feet only on bottoms, numb fingertips, back pain, more & more numbness as time went by(tried about 4 dif meds had to quit because made it worse) 61 now muscles in thighs. & hips ,low back keep contracting & make me bend at waist Can only walk few feet before I have to sit & pain makes me want scream loudly but I can still Drive it’s getting out & walking hurts Have to have my 4 wheeler if my mom or dad take me anywhere. One for home & 1 @ parents for car or visiting relatives @ their house! You gotta do what you gotta do to carry on! 🥹🤣😤 The thing I hate the most is pain in legs don’t allow me to do simple things for any length of time Dishes sweeping bathing(sitting on shower chair) typical chores & the fact that my sweet parents have to help in their 80’s when they have a lot going on with themselves too! I’m supposed to be taking care of them! Not being able to go places with them I HATE THAT but am so grateful for both My independence is slowly leaving me! I did take of both of their moms when they needed caretakers!
Thx 4 letting me vent!! Boy I needed that!,,, I needed opinion on upright walker with seat!

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Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Hi Kim,

Thanks for taking the time to write and there's nothing wrong with venting. I don't use a walker, I use two canes, but my wife - who has her own issues - uses a four wheel walker. It's very steady and she's never had a problem with the brakes. She sits on it all the time without a problem. It's a Nitro Rollator and she loves it. As for your leg pains...have you ever talked with your neurologist about Gabapentin? I use it for my sciatic nerve pain in my left leg and it helps.

Good luck,

Ed

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brenda scharping avatar

brenda scharping

I'm wondering how you travel with a scooter on a plane. has it ever been damaged?
what do airlines require you to do to check it?

thanks

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Lisa Cunningham avatar

Lisa Cunningham

I have traveled extensively (2-3 times a year) on a plane in the past 5 years with an EZ Lite power chair that weighs about 60 pounds. Prior to that I used a 3-wheeled scooter. There was never any damage to the scooter.

I have flown Delta and Southwest with the small chair. The airlines check the power chair for pre-existing damage and then tag it. TSA will check it at the security line. I gate check the chair so that I can use it at the terminal. I always remove the joystick from the power chair before checking it at the gate as it could easily be broken while being loaded into the cargo hold of the plane. And also take the chair our of gear so that it can be pushed. The chair has never been damaged.

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Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Hi Brenda,

When I travel on a plane I travel with my lightweight scooter. It's a TravelScoot, it weighs only 35lbs, and it folks up like a baby stroller. I get it tagged at the ticket counter as a "gate check" item and then I ride it to the aircraft door. There, I remove the battery, which I put in the overhead, and the scooter either is put, as is, into the cargo bin or sometimes the flight attendants will remove the seat, fold the scooter, and put it in the First Class coat closet. On one trip, when it was in the cargo hold, the seat rest was broken off.

Before I got the TravelScoot, and I traveled with my larger Pride Go-Go, I always worried about it. It once failed to arrive with me when I arrived in Venice for a cruise. Fortunately, it was found and delivered to the ship before departure. Returning from another overseas trip I had to wait in the baggage area at Dulles for an hour after all of the bags on the carousel had been claimed while they tried to locate the scooter. Those problems I no longer have with the TravelScoot.

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