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Mobility scooters more popular than wheelchairs

Vendors say more people are buying mobility aids such as mobility scooters and motorised wheelchairs.

A quick online search turned up five shops selling mobility aids.

Mr Warren Chew, managing director of Falcon Mobility, says his business has been growing since its inception in 2008. He used to sell one to three mobility scooters a month, but now easily sells 50 units a month.

"In one week, the number of units sold can be in the double digits," says Mr Chew, adding that while fewer motorised wheelchairs are sold, the figure is holding steady.

Two companies The New Paper on Sunday spoke to estimate that there are between 3,000 and 5,000 mobility scooters and motorised wheelchairs being used here.

Mr K. N. Lee, 60, who runs Delcon Technology, says sales has increased by 3 to 5 per cent every year.

He says: "Awareness is increasing and the facilities are becoming more accessible. With government funding, more of the elderly are able to use these mobility scooters."

The companies say the bulk of their users are the elderly and those with physical disabilities.

Mr Chew says: "There is the misconception that mobility scooters are not wheelchairs because they can also be used by the healthy.

"But out of a 100 mobility scooter users, 99 per cent have a partial or complete walking disability."

FASTER

He adds that electric scooters go much faster for the same price.

At Falcon Mobility, mobility scooters range from $1,450 to $2,800. Motorised wheelchairs cost between $2,300 and $3,800.

Mr Chew says 80 per cent of his customers are children or relatives buying the scooters or chairs for their parents.

He adds: "Some prefer to pay a bit more for their parents.

"Children are more willing to buy extended warranties to have peace of mind for their parents."