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Guardian (UK): Why is the law stopping young people using advanced wheelchairs?

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friendly_iconoclast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 05:57 PM
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Guardian (UK): Why is the law stopping young people using advanced wheelchairs?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/apr/26/law-stopp...


Why is the law stopping young people using advanced wheelchairs?

A legal anomaly means charities are being forced to refuse applications from young people for grants for technologically advanced wheelchairs


Like most 13-year-olds, Jenny Wilson likes to go shopping with friends. Her athetoid cerebral palsy means that she has used a wheelchair for almost a decade, but she is capable of negotiating busy high streets. Yet Jenny's independence is under threat not from her disability per se, but by a legal anomaly that means she breaks the law if she uses the wheelchair that best meets her needs.

The teenager from Chester, in Cheshire, has outgrown the electric wheelchair she got two years ago. The model she needs, which includes better steering and a motorised seat enabling the user to stand, weighs around 175kg. The 1988 Road Traffic Act not only bans children under 14 from using very technologically advanced wheelchairs a "class three vehicle" weighing up to 150kg but it classes wheelchairs heavier than 150kg as cars, which can only be driven legally by over 17s who hold a driving licence.

So Jenny can either change to what would be an inadequate wheelchair on her 14th birthday next month, or wait until she is 17 for the most appropriate one.....

......Newlife voiced its concern about the anomaly last year in a government consultation on mobility equipment. The local transport minister, Norman Baker, says the government will respond "in due course". He adds: "Powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters are important lifelines which provide independence to people with mobility issues in their day-to-day lives. However, it is important we balance the safety of pedestrians and other road users with the mobility needs of users."....
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Drale Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 06:02 PM
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1. They are afraid of any technology that can't be used to
further their evil ways.
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jul61252 Donating Member (50 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-02-11 09:16 PM
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6. +1
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Tesha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 06:08 PM
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2. Here's the state of the art...
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friendly_iconoclast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 10:20 PM
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3. IBOT went under a couple of years ago.
Also, they were only operable by people with good upper body strength. The girl in the article would not have been able to use one.
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Tesha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-27-11 03:23 PM
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4. I'm aware they weren't financially viable, but they're still the state of the art.
And in what way do they require upper body strength?

Tesha
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RosesAreRed Donating Member (25 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-18-11 01:19 PM
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5. For the stair climbing capability
They wouldn't automatically climb up stairs, the user would need to 'push' it up. The iBot would advance forward and would hold a position, but as the user, you'd need to be holding the bannister and guide the chair up the stairs in question... I remember this from a documentary years ago that featured the iBot and capabilities. It would be a poor chair choice unless more of its functions could be automated - which no doubt, could happen today, if the company were still in business.
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