Tempe company’s all-terrain scooter expands mobility for disabled people
PHOENIX — At first, it looks like a fancy ATV on four wheels, the kind people might scoot through the desert on during the weekends.
Then you notice the fat tires. The hand controls. The sturdy rollbars …
It’s a TerrainHopper, a vehicle that accommodates the disabled on any ground.
Incline? No problem — it will handle a 35-degree slope. Gravel? River rock? Hiking on uneven ground? No problem.
It’s even environmentally conscious, powered by battery.
Todd Lemay heads the Tempe company that makes the all-terrain scooters.
Wheelchair-bound his entire life (he has brittle-bone disease), he said his wheelchair has kept him from certain events in life.
He first tried a TerrainHopper in the United Kingdom a few years ago and was so impressed, he said, he decided to license the design and start making them in the U.S.
The fabrication and assembly are handled in Phoenix and Tempe.
Lemay said a distant memory keeps him going: An old girlfriend wanted to go walking with him on a San Diego beach, but he could not because of his wheelchair.
“I missed that opportunity, to go walk on the beach with her and hold her hand,” he said. “I never forgot that.”
And, in times past, if friends went hiking or walking, “They’re not going to call me because, historically, I couldn’t in my chair. Well, now I’m getting those phone calls.”
The hand-controlled vehicles — no foot pedals — can accommodate children and adults, and they come in a variety of colors.
Being mobile in all possible situations, Lemay said, is something every disabled person wants — whether they’re in a wheelchair or walk with a cane. That, he said, is what TerrainHopper can do.
“Get people out on the beach who’ve never been on the beach before,” he said. “Get people to do the things that they — maybe — used to be able to do, but they can’t do anymore.”
For more details about TerrainHopper, visit the company’s website.