Able bodied people walk on them easily. They only get bothered by a wall-mounted car or by the pavement being torn up. The sidewalk for people in wheelchairs though is a real obstacle course.
Getting on the footway in the city centres is easier because of the recessed design of the curbs but it’s much more difficult if there is a berm. The most problematic thing is probably the ascension and the descension of electric wheelchairs because they weigh 100kgs.
And we can’t get relief even if we’re on the pavement. We have to face multitude of barriers: the sidewalk being torn up, asphalt fragments, cobbles, stairs formed in steep streets, car exits, ruptured parts from the roots of trees, uncovered drains, protruding steps, outsourced advertising signs, old quarter’s narrow though ‘romantic’ lanes, cars parked on the footway, bus stop on the sidewalk.
So we are sometimes forced to go (slowly) on the roads willy-nilly with our electric mopeds taking in account the risk of accidents, keeping the traffic, the driver’s repatriation.
If it’s already like that what can we – people in wheelchairs do? We plan our routes early, we go on roads with little traffic, and we explore the unknown crossroads with the help of Google Map’s street view function.
Written by Zoltán Koppány