Winter Wheelchair Safety
The holidays may be over, but winter weather is still here, and will be for a few more months. Love it or hate it though, snow means something different when discussing winter safety and those that use a power wheelchair or other mobility equipment to get around town.
It can be very problematic for someone in a wheelchair to travel in the winter months. There is a higher risk of getting stuck in the snow, or worse, falling and getting hurt. Think of it this way: you’d be upset if the streets in your city weren’t clear of snow for you to travel safely on, right? The same idea applies to sidewalks and people who use wheelchairs.
There is one simple thing you can do to help with winter wheelchair safety: be sure that sidewalks on your block and place of business are clear of snow and ice. It sounds like an easy request, but as the winter wears on, and shoveling gets old, pathways tend to get a bit narrower. Be sure to not only keep sidewalks clear, but wide enough for someone using a wheelchair to pass.
Even more neglected are curb cutouts. Curb cutouts are where the sidewalk grades down to meet the adjoining street. They are typically located at the end of street blocks and in parking areas where there is a curb. Curb cutouts make getting around more accessible for those using wheelchairs and other mobility equipment. When a cutout or parking lot isn’t clear, people using a wheelchair are literally stuck, and are left with limited options, like traveling in the street, which is a safety risk.