Disability aids, equipment and technology
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Managing pavements in a powerchair

AquinasAquinas Member Posts: 22 Connected
I've just acquired my new Lith-Tech powerchair and took it out for the first time this morning on my own.   I knew the pavements were bad where I am but this was so scary.  The pavements are narrow with frequent obstacles like hedges,  dog mess, cars parked on pavement and  Virginmedia cable boxes. They slope down towards the oncoming traffic and are extremely bumpy and uneven.   And some of the slopes are very steep.  How on earth do folks manage with this?   I am feeling so daunted.  :(  

Replies

  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Aquinas, that does sound daunting! Have you ever used a powerchair before? I know they can take some getting used to.
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  • hdeakinhdeakin Member Posts: 123 Pioneering
    Hello, nice to meet you. It is tricky. It frustrates me when I come the end of a road and there is no dropped curb and I have to 're trace' my path back for ages to find the nearest one, in the mean time possibly endangering my life if it is a busy road.
    I am now in general confident, I have had my powerchair 10 years, I know it well and its capabilities. I think that you will in time become confident too. It is daunting though especially in the beginning with a new chair-I am not looking forward to that! I would advice going out on quieter and wider pavements if possible first. Some pavements are just too narrow or have a tree planted right in the middle. On steep cambers I find I have to compensate with the joystick significantly, however I think most newer powerchairs are fitted with something that means you don't/shouldn't have to compensate. Good luck 🍀 If I can help anymore please ask 😊
  • AquinasAquinas Member Posts: 22 Connected
    Thank you both!  This is my first powerchair and although I tried it out before I bought it,  other than a slope and a few pot holes there were no real challenges.  Sadly I don't have the option to experiment  on other pavements locally but had a suggestion that I get a wheelchair equipped taxi to take me to the indoor shopping centre. I can play around with the chair, even if half the shops in the centre are closed!    
  • hdeakinhdeakin Member Posts: 123 Pioneering
    Hi @Aquinas yes that sounds like a good idea. An indoor shopping centre has lots of space for you to play around. I hope once you get used to it, it will make a big difference to you. I know my powerchair has made a big difference to my life 😊
  • AquinasAquinas Member Posts: 22 Connected
    At the moment it seems that I've just swapped one set of problems (ie not being able to walk much) for another set but I'll overcome it somehow.   :-)    

  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    I imagine it can certainly get some getting used to! I've used the scooters that you get when you go shopping and I was so bad at it! You'll have to keep us updated. :)

    Thanks for your advice here @hdeakin
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  • exdvrexdvr Member Posts: 314 Pioneering
    Hi @Aquinas.....It takes a fair bit of practice on different terrains before you'll feel confident. Learn to look ahead to become aware of hazards, especially slopes, potholes and obstructions. Always look ahead for dropped kerbs or the lack of them.  Start slowly on smooth flat areas like shopping malls and gradually it'll become like second nature to you, but take care not to push yourself out of your comfort zone.  Be careful out there.

    Best wishes.

    DLTBGYD

  • emmarenshawemmarenshaw Member Posts: 712 Pioneering
    Hi @Aquarius welcome to the community. I’m a powerchair user myself, it definitely takes a lot of practice and getting used to. Space is definitely great. Grass, gentle paths shopping centres are all great practice. Please let us know how you’re getting on, and if you need anything at all please don’t hesitate to ask. We’ll all be happy to help.
  • wilkowilko Member Posts: 2,294 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello, as your confidence grows and you will get to know which paths and routes to go safely. As for poorly parked cars, delivery vans , work vans unkept hedges this all part of wheelchair users daily toil. Reference to hedges an email with photo to your local councillor should help things along for you. 
  • AquinasAquinas Member Posts: 22 Connected
    Thank you all for your warm welcome!  I thought I'd have another go yesterday but the pavement both left and right of me were blocked with dustbins and a parked van on the pavement.  I've already emailed the Leader of the Council some time ago and our local councillor who is also Mayor and had no response.  Thus I was totally marooned in my house, again.  And I thought that by purchasing a chair it would enhance my independence and give me some freedom.  I just want to go to the small shop round the corner, or post a letter.    :'( 
  • pollyanna1052pollyanna1052 Member Posts: 1,998 Disability Gamechanger
    A previous chair of mine had a kerb clmber..it was very useful. My current one doesn't and is a mid wheel drive. WS said with a painful back I am better NOT using a kerb climber.
  • AquinasAquinas Member Posts: 22 Connected
    Mine is meant to be ok for half-kerbs, but I haven't tried those yet!  Too scared...

  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    Really sorry it hasn't been the independence that you had hoped for. I hope you can find some accessible routes and have a chance to practice. 
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  • AquinasAquinas Member Posts: 22 Connected
    Thanks Chloe!  I complained to the council and had a reply from my councillor saying that the roads dept would be in touch with me. But other than that it's been a bit wet and windy and I don't fancy going out in this. 
  • JenCoJenCo Member Posts: 122 Pioneering
    Do you know your neighbours at all @Aquinas ?
    It's worth mentioning to them that things they take for granted like leaving bins out and bad parking gets in the way. I wish this sort of thing was common sense! I really do. Maybe they'd be better about it if you mentioned it (if you know them? Or even if not to be honest) I live on a nice road where neighbours will put bins back if they're in the way. I don't see many wheelchair users but we're near a school and library so we get a lot of buggies and walkers going by. I hope awareness gets better and you have good people around you. 
    As for bad parking, there's just no excuse! I have to admit I've named (well, snapped a pic) and shamed a few times on my local Facebook group :lol:


  • AquinasAquinas Member Posts: 22 Connected
    I only know the neighbours for about 2 houses up and 2 houses down.  It used to be a nice road but is not any more.   This is the South of England where hardly anyone talks to anyone else. ( I've lived in the North where people are generally friendlier and more caring).   This is a busy road with lots of traffic, (and speeding)  and I can see why people would want to park on the pavement!     But that doesn't mean I agree with it.   I think it would help if the bin men put the bins back on the properties where they came from instead of just dumping them.   Many residents work during the day so bins are out on the pavement all day until they return.  Another thing to discuss with council!         

  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    I don't blame you @Aquinas! The weather has been horrible recently! I hope it improves soon and you get the chance to go out. :)
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  • AquinasAquinas Member Posts: 22 Connected
  • JenCoJenCo Member Posts: 122 Pioneering
    2 houses up and 2 houses down is a great start. If nothing else they can help you keep an eye out and alert the council when they spot obstacles too. I grew up in Ireland so I find attitudes in the South East of England quite different too. People might not open up much but when you reach out they're generally pretty good :) I hope those neighbours you know are helpful. This is a whole new fantastic freedom you've got, you absolutely deserve to enjoy it to the full. I hope things get better soon 
  • AquinasAquinas Member Posts: 22 Connected
    The plan was to give me freedom by getting a power chair but it hasn't happened yet!  (my car is not suitable for a hoist unfortunately).  Most of these neighbours are out during the day  at work and I hardly see them - even my next door neighbours either side.   I have yet to see them to discuss these obstacles with them.  I am more likely to see them in the summer I think.  
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Aquinas, how are things going? :)
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  • AquinasAquinas Member Posts: 22 Connected
    Hi Chloe, thank  you for asking!  My councillor responded and said that I would hear from the council but I've heard nothing yet.  

    Two Neighbours chatted to but it's not their problem and they show little interest to the point of them telling me they don't want to get involved.  🤐Planning on getting a wheelchair taxi to neighbouring town where I have to visit dentist,. Town centre where I live is dead and not really worth visiting. 



  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Aquinas, I'm glad you heard back from your councillor.

    I'm sorry about your neighbours, the taxi sounds like a great idea though! You must let us know how you get on. :) 
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  • AquinasAquinas Member Posts: 22 Connected
    Cost me £25 for a five-mile return journey to the next town where my dentist is!  That's certainly unsustainable.  :(  But I did get to go in their small indoor shopping centre with my chair and have a whizz round.   What I've noticed that people have too often got their heads down looking at their mobile phones to notice me, and it's not so easy to veer round them.  Some looking positively aggressive, as if it's my fault!   I haven't heard a thing from the council, unfortunately. 
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Aquinas, just wanted to check in to see how things were going. :)
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  • AquinasAquinas Member Posts: 22 Connected
    hi Chloe_Scope, Thank you so much for asking.   How are you?  Well there's been no response from the council. However the weather has been diabolical, hasn't it?  That means that I can't/won't go out anyway. I did have a whole day stuck in my chair when I was taken to hospital for an appointment and left there until late evening due to a transport mess up.  >:)  My chair is not designed to be sat in all day!  
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    I'm good thanks @Aquinas. Sorry to hear the transport messed up! I hope it didn't leave you in too much pain.
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  • AquinasAquinas Member Posts: 22 Connected
    Unfortunately it caused a  lot of pain 🥴😖
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    I'm sorry to hear that @Aquinas, I hope you are able to rest and recover.
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