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Some of the typical issues that wheelchair users have include small corridors in older buildings, parking lots that are challenging to get around, even just shopping or going to visit loved ones. Don’t forget uneven surfaces or steep slopes that are impossible to self-propel a manual wheelchair. And then there is public transit.
Traveling on public transit can be very challenging and time-consuming in the best of circumstances. It would be impossible otherwise. How to do you get to the different levels if the elevators are out? Even though the gap between the train and the platform is easy to step over, it can be very tricky to cross in a wheelchair and there is always the possibility of the wheels getting stuck.
Then there are the problems of pressure sores or muscle cramps developing because of long periods of sitting. Wheelchairs are below the expected or normal sight lines of pedestrians, motorists and other road users and accidents can result if the wheelchair user or those around don’t react quickly enough. If all of those challenges weren’t tough enough, wheelchair users have to deal with the attitude of the society towards them.
Able bodied people find it difficult seeing line through the wheelchair user. Wheelchair users often feel talked down to or even ignored. Some able bodied people wrongfully think that the wheelchair user should be more independent.
Some daily problems that wheelchair users encounter include:
- Dirty hands as a result of pushing themselves in a manual wheelchair.
- Mirrors are not usually at their height.
- Public transits aren’t usually set up for disabled people.
- Buses can be especially challenging when they have to wait to see if the wheelchair ramp really works.
- Should they give up space on the bus for a stroller?
- Dealing with people who abuse WHEELCHAIR parking spaces.
- The dirty looks you get when you drive into a handicap parking spot.
- The look people give you for doing the most mundane things like getting gas.
- Having to let other people know you are OK constantly!
- Answering ridiculous questions like “Do you have a job?”