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Thread: A question for wheeled mobility aid users

  1. #1
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    A question for wheeled mobility aid users

    Hi all, I hope I can pick your brains about something.

    I resently had a scary and unpleasant experience crossing the road on my mobility scooter, the road crossing has a dropped kerb but is on a hill so is a very serous risk of tipping. I'm asking this question to users of wheeled mobility aid users.

    Can the council put dropped kerbs where they could cause injury to the disabled user?

    I'm grateful for the dropped kerbs we've got locally but I can't understand why one was placed where turning onto or off it could be dangerous, the crossing serves a local 'old peoples home' and a local football stadium, so its in continuous use. My scooter instructions say I must not try to turn when going up or down on a hill as this could cause the scooter to tip, this must I would think also be the case for wheelchairs. Surely there would have been a risk assessment before the crossing was installed?

    Ive only quite resently become more disabled and I'm learning as I go along, I thought someone here might know about this stuff either from life experience or from research into the subject.

  2. #2
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    Councils do risk assessments before putting in dropped kerbs, well our council does anyway. Dropped kerbs have to be in a position where the user can see all ways.
    Some are in places where it is difficult to get onto the pavement and turn at the same time. In that situation do as I do and go very slowly to eliminate the risk of tipping.
    As you gain more confidence on the scooter you will become accustomed to the best way to tackle challenging areas.
    If you are so concerned about safety why don't you contact the person for authorising dropped kerbs at your local council and have a chat to them. I have found this to be very useful in the past for me.

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    I'm afraid all dropped kerbs are not quite dropped enough! I'm talking of powered wheelchair here. Scooter has wider wheels and can sometimes "bounce" what a wheelchair cannot. Some dropped kerbs may have a "lip" of an inch and that means i have to turn backwards and reverse up (this IN the road and while traffics waiting). Some have a very steep exit meaning you practically dall backwards. Some are cracked due to cars parking on them.
    Scooter have a larger turning circle than wheelchairs. And then theres ppl who resolutely walk towards you while you are bombing across to avoid traffic!
    Google streetview is invaluable to search a route BEFORE you travel and see the pavements. Some times you have to go a longer way round because it is the more "wheelie friend;y"

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    I think you answer your own question:
    ALL mobility scooter instruction manuals and user guides warn of the potential danger of attempting any incline at an angle, so if you choose to do so it is at your own risk and you cannot blame the highways engineers, council or anyone else if you choose to undertake such an action. The world is not perfect and we have to use our own judgement to make the best of any situation but with that comes self responsibility.
    From the sound of it the crossing is predominantly a pedestrian one, with limited or no functionality for wheeled users.
    I think the best you can hope for is a nanny council/highways dept erecting a sign saying that the crossing is unsuitable for wheeled users due to the incline and angle, but then again you should be capable of making that assessment anyway.
    I regularly descend and ascend inclines at angles, not just roads, but grass banks and mud tracks etc, done with care and attention it is surprising how capable the scooters are, but anything done without due thought can be dangerous.
    You do not state whether your scooter is 3 or 4 wheeled, the 4 wheeled are considered more stable but I drive both and the difference is often minimal.

  5. #5
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    I use a mobility scooter, i think drop kerbs have all been done with the idea in mind more for people with prams than the disabled, that's just my opinion, i try to avoid drops that are on an incline but sometimes it's the only one available to get from point a to b so what i do is turn it up and do it fast i tried slow once and i nearly went over.

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    Quote Originally Posted by freedomeagle View Post
    I use a mobility scooter, i think drop kerbs have all been done with the idea in mind more for people with prams than the disabled, that's just my opinion, i try to avoid drops that are on an incline but sometimes it's the only one available to get from point a to b so what i do is turn it up and do it fast i tried slow once and i nearly went over.
    I don't think dropped kerbs are designed for people with prams as they wouldn't need "blisters" in fact baby might find them rather unpleasant. I understand that using blisters or other textures are to help the visually impaired.

    I need to "return to the scene of the crime" and really examine both sides of the road and the camber in the road, I think I'll probably just end up not using this particular crossing ultimately but I need to get a second look from a scooter users perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reddivine View Post
    I'm afraid all dropped kerbs are not quite dropped enough! I'm talking of powered wheelchair here. Scooter has wider wheels and can sometimes "bounce" what a wheelchair cannot. Some dropped kerbs may have a "lip" of an inch and that means i have to turn backwards and reverse up (this IN the road and while traffics waiting). Some have a very steep exit meaning you practically dall backwards. Some are cracked due to cars parking on them.
    Scooter have a larger turning circle than wheelchairs. And then theres ppl who resolutely walk towards you while you are bombing across to avoid traffic!
    Google streetview is invaluable to search a route BEFORE you travel and see the pavements. Some times you have to go a longer way round because it is the more "wheelie friend;y"
    Street view when it works is a great tool, and yes You're right about the wheels judging by those I've seen. You're also right above folk driving on kerbs almost all of the street where I live has busted up kerbs!

    I didn't realise that scooters have a bigger turning circle than power chairs! If have thought they'd be better!

    And of course it's so much easier for a pedestrian to step aside but they don't always look where there going so I'm not surprised that they "aim" at oncoming wheelchairs.

    I think I need to take things even slower than I thought!

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    Quote Originally Posted by stree View Post
    I think you answer your own question:
    ALL mobility scooter instruction manuals and user guides warn of the potential danger of attempting any incline at an angle, so if you choose to do so it is at your own risk and you cannot blame the highways engineers, council or anyone else if you choose to undertake such an action. The world is not perfect and we have to use our own judgement to make the best of any situation but with that comes self responsibility.
    From the sound of it the crossing is predominantly a pedestrian one, with limited or no functionality for wheeled users.
    I think the best you can hope for is a nanny council/highways dept erecting a sign saying that the crossing is unsuitable for wheeled users due to the incline and angle, but then again you should be capable of making that assessment anyway.
    I regularly descend and ascend inclines at angles, not just roads, but grass banks and mud tracks etc, done with care and attention it is surprising how capable the scooters are, but anything done without due thought can be dangerous.
    You do not state whether your scooter is 3 or 4 wheeled, the 4 wheeled are considered more stable but I drive both and the difference is often minimal.
    I have a 4 wheeled scooter but its not the 'off road' type

    In terms of blaming someone I would've thought that accessible road crossings would have to be "fit for purpose" the crossing itself has blisters for visually impaired people, along with dropped kerbs both sides, so is supposedly suitable for all. But in my judgement it's potentially unsafe for wheeled aid users so is therefore "not fit for purpose"

    Sadly I don't live in a flat county as most people don't (although I'd love too)

  9. #9
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    You've not noticed the turning circle?? You have obviously not been shopping lately! for a start scooters are longer and heavier and 4 wheels placed further apart. Try doing a 3 point turn in M&S and you will see what I mean!

  10. #10
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    Archersmate,
    I will stay with what I said, it is up to the user-driver to make the decision based on information available and assumptions made...Does it say "yes, any scooter or wheelchair is fine to use this crossing"? or say nothing and it is just a crossing for pedestrians with possibilities of wheeled vehicle use? Not hard to decide if you feel comfortable with using it or not, you are the best judge of that.
    After reading this the first time I took my scooter round the village and went for the most awkward crossings and inclines I could find............Half dropped kerbs, dropped crossings on inclines, steep grass banks off the tarmac, on and off, at right angles and shallow angles...........Not a problem. Mine is a basic scooter, no suspension, rearwheel drive, 10 inch wheels, air filled tires.
    One thing did occur to me though..............................Centre of gravity...........My scooter kerb weight is 82 kilo, my own weight is only about 45 kilo, which means the weight is firmly centred around mid to low height of the scooter, so stability will be very good.
    However, my scooter is rated for users up to 22 stones which is 140 kilos and in that case the centre of gravity will be much higher and the stability will I think be drastically reduced..........
    So even more variables into the equation.

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