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Scooter for Life by PriestmanGoode
PriestmanGoode, the leading London design studio, has designed the Scooter for Life, a brand of products to accompany you through your life and change as your mobility requirements evolve.
The Scooter for Life is a special commission for the New Old exhibition at the Design Museum in London, which opens on 12 January. Presented in the exhibition is a prototype designed for older demographics, which aims to provide users with more independence through greater mobility. The exhibition explores the potential for design to enhance the experience of our later lives. As our population ages rapidly, the exhibition looks at how design can help people lead fuller, healthier and more rewarding lives in an ageing society.
Paul Priestman, designer and Chairman of PriestmanGoode explains “When we were approached to contribute a mobility solution for the New Old, we immediately agreed that we wanted to design an object that wasn’t just about giving older people more mobility, but to encourage them to stay physically active for longer.
We started looking at micro scooters, which are ubiquitous in so many family lives today. Every day, I see children going to school on scooters, and parents riding them home. Looking out from the windows of our office in Central London, we see more and more young professionals using them to commute. But at some stage, people stop using them. This may be because of stigma, safety concerns or simply the fact that older generations have not had scooters before, which creates a barrier to late adoption.”
As part of the development process, PriestmanGoode held a number of research sessions internally and with a user group. In one of these sessions, whilst exploring the various options older people currently have to get around, one user looked at a traditional motorised mobility scooter and exclaimed ‘you can smell the stench of decay on that’.
Paul continues: “There is undoubtedly a stigma associated with mobility aids, and we were determined that our solution would address this. Many of the users we spoke to thought that current solutions felt like having ‘one foot in the grave’. So we wanted to design something that was both beautiful as well as highly practical. We discussed what requirements people had for a mobility aid and came up with a list of boxes that our solution would need to tick: you had to be able to take it on public transport, to take it into a shop, it needed to be able to fold down, there needed to be space to store groceries, and it had to be able to be taken into a flat or a house.
The latter is particularly important from a safety point of view. At present, mobility scooters generally need to be parked outside the home, as they may be too bulky, or stairs prevent them from being taken indoors. This can introduce an unexpected safety issue. Parked in front of someone’s home, the mobility scooter can highlight the fact that an elderly, seemingly less mobile person lives on the premises, thereby potentially increasing the risk of crime.
The Scooter for Life is designed to offer a reliable product and brand that can accompany you throughout your life, as your mobility requirements evolve. Benefits for older generations in particular include: A three-wheel arrangement (two larger in front, one smaller at back) provides stability. The scooter only moves when you release the brakes, making it safer and more stable. A large front basket functions as a shopping trolley, allowing users to take their scooter into shops and providing a place to carry groceries while leaving their hands free. Optional seat and electric power would allow users to switch to electronic mode if powering by foot becomes too strenuous
Additional features would help increase safety and usability eg. Registering regular routes where the scooter could map the road and learn where there are any unsteady sections of pavement or a ‘take me home’ function, helping users with mild forms of dementia to get home safely
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