Powerchair Pavement Problems

New video Pavement Problems

 

Activist blogger LatentExistence (Steven Sumpter) has made an excellent new film about the problems of travelling in his powerchair. Showing the dangers and difficulties of bad pavements and other road hazards especially on rural routes. The lack of alternatives and accessible transport available.

This page continues from a previous blog post about pavement problems and finding suitable powerchairs.

LatentExistence in a powerchair Follow Me on Pinterest

Badsey to Eversham Follow Me on Pinterest

His journey is from Badsey to Evesham, in rural Worcestershire. As he explains using clever titling in the video, although there are some shops and a post office in the village of Badsey, to access bigger shops, banks, GPs and train services, he needs to travel to Evesham. The bus service is unreliable and not wheelchair accessible. It is not considered a ‘priority route’ by the bus company, First Group.

The journey is about one hour for someone to walk. The other alternative is to use a wheelchair accessible taxi.

The cost for a round trip would be £17! However there is only one in the area and it is difficult to book at convenient times because of school runs. This is a common problem for wheelchair users, certainly it is also the case in our area that all suitable vehicles are blocked booked by Local Authorities using them for pupils travelling to special schools.

Steven uses a powerchair as he has ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis ) also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which among other things causes pain and exhaustion and means that he cannot stay on his feet for long periods.

Problems encountered:

1. The first obstacle is the lack of dropped kerbs on the street where he lives. This means that he has to cross at two driveways where the kerb has been lowered for cars. Here the pavement is broken and although there is some tarmac used to change the level, it is still a high kerb. The video clearly shows how bumpy it is for Steven to get up the kerb even with the special front wheel adaption on his powerchair called ‘Curb Skipper Wheels’.

Trabasack on a powerchair Follow Me on Pinterest

2. The next problem is a long detour because of a lack of dropped kerbs.  Adding to what is already a long journey.

3. A further lack of a ramp or sloped curve a cross a busy junction causes another detour. One of these detours can be seen on the map below.

4. Narrow paths with adverse cambers.

5. Uneven and broken pavement with cars passing very closely past at 60pmh.

6. Sloped that are suddenly steep, leading to tipping back problems.

7. Narrow paths with overgrowing vegetation.

8. Lack of paths with potential for slipping or being trapped in the mud.

9. Crossing the extremely busy and fast moving Eversham bypass.

 

 

The full video can be seen below.

Trabasack as a mounting aid.

Thorough out the film he uses his original Trabasack Curve to hold the camera. The Curve comes with two sets of straps. One pair is shorter ‘side straps’ that can be used to attach the trabasack and hold it on the lap at the armrests of a wheelchair or powerchair. Another way is to use one of the longer straps supplied to attach it around the waist and hold it in position almost like you would wear a bumbag (called a fannypack, belt pack or belt pack in US!). This ensures that it will not fall off your lap over rough terrain.

The beanbag cushioning in the trabasack gives some softening of the bumps and jolts of the journey but you can see from the film how jarring taking this journey would be. I am sure that it leads to aches and pain in the joints and muscles for powerchair users.

Awareness of pavement problems

This video is an important aid to raising awareness for the problems faced by powerchair users caused by lack of suitable pavenment adaptions and poor road surfacing. It also shows how difficult it is for people using wheelchairs who find themselves cut off by poor road and transport links.

Well done to Steven Sumpter for making the time and effort to get this difficult video made. I hope it opens people’s eyes to some of the realities of using a powerchair, wheelchair or scooter.

3 Responses to “Powerchair Pavement Problems”

  • […] you watched my film “A short film about pavements” then you will have seen the tray that was on my lap during filming. That tray is called a […]

  • Dan Cavanagh:

    I have two Trabasacks. As a keen photographer, I also use one on my lap for supporting my camera on a beanbag or small tripod. My camera has a rotating viewfinder so I can simply look down into it, rather like we did with the old Kodak box cameras. My second Trabasack is mounted on the wheelchair just behind my legs, where I can safely store various lenses and other photo accessories within easy reach.
    I have only one complaint. The surface of the Trabasack ‘Curve’ has a velcro compatible covering which is great for securing small items, but … it is very difficult to keep clean. Everything seems to stick to it and despite using vacuum cleaner, sticky tape etc, it is very difficult to keep it looking good.
    Over-all though they have been incredibly useful.

    • admin:

      Hi Dan,

      Thanks for your comments. Glad you find them helpful. I was speaking to another photographer yesterday. It’s definitely another area where we should try to get trabasacks well known.

      The Connect surface does have that problem. Have you tried a lint roller. They are quick and easy to use, it is like a very sticky tape on a roller. The other alternative is to machine wash it. Put it in a wash bag on at 30C and a low spin. This does wear them out more quickly though, so try to do it only once a week.

      Thankyou very much for you kind and helpful words, if you would like to send us a photo of you using your trabasack, I will send a you a T-shirt :-)

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