Posts Tagged ‘accessibility’

The iBex Saddlechariot: Wheelchair Access with a Pony!

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A Day out with Pony Access

We love  the idea of “Access all Areas” and are thrilled with this new idea for going off road.

There are a few products out there which really change the meaning of accessibility.  We have previously looked at the Mountain Trike and Wheelchair Skiing.  Here we’re looking at the fantastic work of Simon Mulholland, the developer of the iBex Saddlechariot and the Pony Access scheme, which provides, as his Twitter bio attests, ‘Access to ponies, Access with ponies. Disability, ability, who cares, ponies don’t.’

The iBex Saddlechariot is an innovative creation which allows wheelchair users to be pulled along safely by ponies, allowing them access to a wide range of sights and scenes which would previously have been impossible without significant help or at all for some types of wheelchair. The iBex Saddlechariot has been used to take people on trips all over the place, covering rocky terrain, beaches and water.

A Closer Look at the iBex Saddlechariot

A pony pulling a chariot adapted for a wheelchair

Cross Country with a Pony!

The iBex has been designed with safety as its main concern. It is a wheelchair enabled pony-drawn all-terrain vehicle which allows wheelchair users to access the countryside on any path they choose, in a similar way to how a rider of a quad bike could and even in some places where you can’t even reach with a squad.

The design seems so simple but once you look closer there are a range of features which show just how effective the iBex is. The most important is the instant release system which releases the pony and renders the iBex stationary, brakes applied, ensuring the complete safety of the user of the iBex. The instant release system is activated by the simple pull of a rope and it can even be operated remotely, ensuring that carers, guardians or pony handlers can activate the system is the user isn’t able to.

The best thing about the iBex is that is designed for use with wheelchairs. It hasn’t been modified or changed to accommodate wheelchair users, it was always designed with them in mind.

Any Wheelchair, Anywhere!

iBex on the Beach

iBex on the Beach

The iBex is designed to work with absolutely any wheelchair, with both manual chairs and power chairs easily accommodated. Modifications can be made for each chair and a quick look at all the different images that @ponyaccess shares will show you people of all shapes and sizes enjoying the iBex and having a fantastic time.

Much like the universal design of the product, where you can go is also (almost) limitless. Some terrain is obviously dangerous (deep mud, swampland) but beyond that you can enjoy almost anywhere from the comfort of the iBex. Sand, slopes and rocky terrain are no problem and it is possible to enjoy English Heritage sites which have been kept from people using wheelchairs for many years.

As this video shows, plenty of fun and plenty of environments can be enjoyed from the comfort of the iBex.

Pony Access is based in Exeter but they often take treks out to Sussex and Brecon, with other areas a definite possibility – you’d just need to have a chat with them! It’s great to find businesses and individuals who are passionate about inclusivity and accessibility, especially when their attempts to solve the issue are so fun.

#AccessDay Exmouth Beach wheelchair accessible. Over rocks, over shingle and soft sand. Real beach access for anyone. pic.twitter.com/MR4mtLSO4I


Get in contact with Simon at Pony Access, click here.

Blue Badge Sat Nav goes the extra mile!

Blue Badge Sat Nav goes the extra mile!

This has been a long time coming and I’m sure plenty of disabled people and their carers breathed a sigh of relief when Navevo launched the Blue Badge Sat Nav, specifically for drivers with disabilities and their support staff.

An image of a Blue Badge Sat Nav Follow Me on Pinterest

The Blue Badge Sat Nav has all the great features of a standard sat nav, which all drivers expect but goes the extra mile by providing additional accessibility  information that is helpful to those with disabilities. Our favourite features of the Blue Badge Sat Nav include:

-Navigation directly to blue badge parking bays – extremely helpful if you have difficulty finding a parking space or knowing where the specified disabled parking area is! Additional information such as how long you are able to park in certain areas is also provided which is extremely helpful!

-Local and relevant information – not only does this sat nav provide you with information about many points of interest around the country (over 60,000 different places) they’re also tailored to which are accessible and who they cater for.

-Locating accessible amenities – from shops to train stations to toilets, finding accessible amenities is a daily struggle for many but with this sat nav, you’re directed to places which advertise said accessibility so there is no need to spend hours looking.

Blue Badge Sat Nav Software

These are just a few of the fantastic features made available through the Blue Badge Sat Nav and they are all designed to make life that little bit easier and they really do. If you’re not in the market for a whole new sat nav system but would like a solution to adapt your existing sat nav to support your additional needs you can also consider the downloadable points of interest (POI) software for TomTom or Garmin. This software contains some of the best features of the sat nav system including information regarding accessible amenities and also the essential Blue Badge parking bays across the country. It’s at a very affordable price too.

A sat nav inside a trabasack wheelchair laptray bag. Follow Me on Pinterest

A new sat nav is a big investment and something you need to take great care of. Use your Trabasack as a sat nav bag to safely transport your Blue Badge Sat Nav to and from your home. Store it in the bag compartment of your trabasack and you’ll never need to worry about it being stolen. The advice is not to leave a sat nav on show in the car window, so take it with you when sight seeing and shopping for peace of mind.

We are very pleased that Trabasack is being sold as a travel accessory by those digital data wizards at the PIE Guide. If you are looking for a Blue Badge Holders Sat Nav update for TomTom is recommended by the trabasack team.

 

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.

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A boutique store stocking useful, clever and accessible products and gadgets for everyday use.