In response to this need, The Zomet Institute has developed a complex halachic-technical solution that enables People with restricted mobility to move around on Shabbat without becoming a burden on others. The Shabbat system has been approved and is recommended for use by prominent rabbis, even for rides that do not involve a mortal threat. For more than ten years, adult men and women have moved around on Shabbat in strict accordance with the halacha, taking advantage of this innovative technology.
The halachic principles involved are gramma (indirect operation) and “continuous change of current.” These principles have been implemented in different ways in hundreds of subject areas and on thousands of individual devices. Similarly to an electric wheelchair, the main switch of the scooter is turned on using the principle of gramma. This is also used to change direction from forwards to reverse. Once the motor has been turned on, it remains in a state of a continuous “crawl.” All the rider does is change the level of the current, an action which is permitted on Shabbat under these circumstances.
It is recommended that anybody who needs a Shabbat system should consult with a rabbi who knows him personally before installing it.
One point that is often raised is the question of the appearance of sin. But this concept is relative and changes as public awareness increases. Publicizing halachic solutions (such as on this website) and putting a prominent sign on the equipment is the proper response to this dilemma. We take this opportunity to turn to the sextons of the synagogues, in the name of the organization “Maagalei Tzedek,” to take care of the needs of the handicapped by providing easy access, proper rest rooms, etc.
Can the Shabbat scooter be used outside of an eruv?
This is indeed a problem.
There are rabbis that permitted this and the main reason given is that the scooter for the disabled can be considered like a garment, shoe or accessory belonging to a person’s body.
For more details you can read the letter correspondence (Hebrew) between several rabbis on this issue.
It’s advised to consult with the local rabbi about this issue.