This post comes to you from a place, not of anger, but of resigned frustration. It comes to you in three parts. As some of you know, late last year i acquired a mobility scooter, finally. Here are my frustrations at being out and about on a mobility scooter.
Part One - People.
- Pedestrians: if i am behind you on my scooter, i will say "excuse me" and pass you. This is not impatience. This is for your safety, i simply do not want to accidentally run into the back of you or run over your child/dog because you've stopped suddenly. You will recieve a thank you most of the time, especially if you've noticed of your own accord and moved out of my way without me having to ask.
- Drivers: While i understand that you're trying to be helpful letting me cross even though you have right of way, it's not always safe and sometimes, i'm not actually going the direction you think i am. Please do not develop an attitude when i shake my head or wave you through.
- Owners of parked vehicles: Please, please PLEASE stop parking across the footpath! Users of mobility scooters and wheelchairs need more space than someone on foot and we can't always safely (or at all) go out onto the road!
- Good Samaritans: Don't tell me i'm being rude if i tell you i do not need help! Especially if i've had to say it twice. Yes, you're trying to be nice, but this scooter is my independance, and if i can do something (this includes opening and getting through a door on the scooter) by myself, i want to do it! This independence is kind of hard won and i'm going to use it!
- Home owners: Please try to keep bushes low either side of your driveway. Personally i lose nearly 18 inches in height when i am seated in my scooter. Bushes can prevent us seeing each other when you are coming out of your driveway, and PLEASE make sure you shrubs and trees are not hanging over onto the footpath. This can damage my equipment or even smack me in this face (ouch!)
Part Two - Business Owners.
- Make sure your shop is accessible. Yes, i understand that sometimes the building is too small, and i appreciate in those cases when staff come to the door to assist me. But big box stores? You have no excuse! Loose boxes/trolleys/ect in aisles or jutting out from the aisle caps are not only unsafe, but they make the store extremely difficult to navigate! This is NOT okay!
- Make sure your outdoor signage is not obstructing the footpath! This has happened to me more than once. In one location there were three different signs that completely blocked the entire footpath area. This area is not for your advertising!
- When you are aware that your customers have parked obscuring the footpath, please tell them to move! This is not space for them to park!
- Bonus: Shopping centre management, please have a safe place where mobility scooter and wheelchair users who might be able to walk short distances can lock their device if they are going to be in a store that they can't take the scooter for an extended period. and don't try to tell us to park it outside! This is a several thousand dollar device and its theft can be life ruining!
Part Three - Councils.
- Footpaths need to be even, smooth and not absent for several blocks! Mobility scooter and wheelchair users are required to use the footpath where available and when it is uneven/broken it can be painful for us to ride over or even damage our equipment and when it's absent, you're forcing us onto the road which is unsafe.
- Please make sure that construction sites are not damaging/obscuring the footpath or covering it with gravel and when they build driveways, make sure that they do not have a sharp drop on either side! These issues can both damage our equipment and hurt us.
- Slopes down from the footpath (see picture) to cross the road need to be even, smooth and present. Once again, when they are not they can also cause us pain or damage our equipment.
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