You’ve heard the analogy of no buses for ages and then three come along in quick succession? But you are unlikely to have heard the one about four buses coming along and every one refusing access to a disabled man on a mobility scooter!!
Well it happened to a Multiple Sclerosis sufferer who has claimed he was forced to wait in freezing temperatures after being refused entry on a bus four times in one day.
Geoffrey Leberman, who needs to use a mobility scooter to get around after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis six years ago, said he was now losing his confidence to leave the house after encountering constant barriers in his efforts to be fully mobile. The 53-year-old said: “I really am losing my independence, my confidence to go out. The whole reason for getting a scooter in the first place is because I lost my driving licence so it’s very, very frustrating.”
The man from Finchley in North Londonl explained that he had made four complaints to Transport for London in the past six months, saying those with a disability got a “very rough ride” – with TfL now apologising and saying they had launched an urgent investigation. He said in one particularly bad instance on January 20, four bus drivers could not take him to where he needed to go – despite a recent court ruling that bus drivers must be more accommodating to wheelchair users.
Geoffrey Leberman elaborated: “There was a cold snap a couple weeks ago and it was very, very cold in London. I had to travel to north Finchley and I signalled to the driver – he signalled back then just closed the doors and drove off. The next bus came along and his ramp didn’t work, I couldn’t even get on.”
He said after waiting on the cold street for 40 minutes on the 20th January this year, he was finally allowed on a bus – but was again met with bus drivers refusing to allow him on the bus on his return trip. Instead, he said that two bus drivers flatly refused to let him on the 221 route bus, both saying they were not allowed to take mobility scooters, despite his Pride Colt Deluxe scooter fitting within the TfL guidelines for size. He said that he argued with one bus driver for several minutes but claimed that the bus driver told him that he could lose his job if he allowed him onto the bus.
Mr Leberman lamented that he could not afford constantly taking taxis, with the underground completely inaccessible to him. He continued: “The buses weren’t full, there wasn’t even a buggy in the space. I argued with one driver for 15 minutes, and some of the passengers even said that he couldn’t leave me. But he said that if he took a scooter, he would lose his job.”
Mr Leberman said he lived in accommodation with a number of other people with a disability who struggled to use public transport.
Transport for London’s Head of Bus Operations Tony Akers said: “I am sorry to hear of Mr Leberman’s experience. The Capital’s bus fleet is fully accessible and it doesn’t sound like our high standards were met in this case. We have asked the operator, Arriva, to urgently investigate.”
The story comes after Samantha Jones, who suffers from Cauda Equina syndrome, recently said that a similar thing happened to her in Warrington ( also reported on in an earlier blog article on this site )
Have you too had a similar experience? If so, please let us know the details in the Reply Box below.
A disabled woman has told of her humiliation after being refused access to a bus with her mobility scooter.
Samantha Jones, 25, claims she wasn’t allowed to board the bus with her scooter, but after arguing with the driver, her fiancé was allowed to drag it on after she had been transferred into a wheelchair.
Samantha from Warrington, who suffers from Cauda Equina syndrome and chronic pain, condemned the bus company, saying she had lost her dignity in the confrontation.
She explained: “I have just lost all my independence. I might have mobility issues but we should have the same rights as everyone else.”
Her problems came in the wake of a court case that ruled bus drivers must be more accommodating to wheelchair users.
Samantha explained she had injured her hand, meaning that she was unable to use her usual wheelchair and instead needed a mobility scooter.
She added: “If I didn’t have my wheelchair, there’s no chance that I would have been able to get home. To transfer (between chairs) with people watching me wasn’t great – my dignity had been lost. It caused pain as well.”
If you have experienced anything similar please leave your comments in the box below.
A disabled 89-year-old widow has been banned from attending a village luncheon club because apparently her mobility scooter presents a health and safety hazard.
Jean Sleath suffers from chronic arthritis and heart problems which means she needs a mobility scooter to lead an active life. She has attended a weekly luncheon club at the village hall in Heckington, near Sleaford, Lincs., for several months but recently she was told she can only attend the club in the village hall if she is either in a wheelchair or uses a walking frame or walking stick.
The village hall, run by a charitable trust, says Mrs Sleath’s scooter poses a health risk because it could block the exits in the event of a fire. Retired university lecturer Mrs Sleath said: “The luncheon club is very helpful and the only time I go out because it is just up the road and I know it will be warm inside the building. I used to be able to park my mobility scooter and walk into the building and someone would help me. Now I stay sat in the scooter as getting up and down is a problem for me. I have now been told that my scooter is not welcome because it could cause problems with evacuating the hall in the event of a fire by blocking the exit ramp.”
Jean continued: “This is difficult to understand as there are three or four exits from the hall, one of which leads to the ramp which is used by scooters and could not by any stretch of the imagination be used by pedestrians, especially semi-disabled ones and stick users who comprise most of the luncheon club. I attend the church in the village every Sunday and they have no problem with my scooter and they have fewer exits. I really don’t know why the village hall is any different. I feel like I am being discriminated against because of my mobility scooter.”
Village hall caretaker Stephen Linford, who deals with the granting of licences for fire and health and safety, defended the ban stating: “We do not allow scooters in the building because physically it is very difficult to get them in. It is very difficult for scooters to make the turn at the entrance. It is not a big village hall and from a fire risk point of view the escape door for the ramp is right opposite the kitchen, which is probably the main possibility of fire. A mobility scooter trying to turn could block the ramp and there were no other suitable exits for scooters as it is an old building.”
Golf buggies and fairground dodgems could be added to a long list that ncludes mobility scooters that will in future require motor insurance for the first time under European law.
A new EU directive may see full motor insurance become a necessity for all “vehicles”, including those only used on private land. The Department for Transport (DfT) have said they are legally obliged to consult on the changes while Britain remains in the EU and admitted the new rules could have “potentially costly consequences”.
Apparently the consultation will run until March and the new directive mat affect the statutory off-road notification (Sorn) scheme which permits uninsured cars to be kept on driveways. The government said that some vehicles that could be impacted by the judgement include, “electrically assisted pedal cycles, construction vehicles, agricultural vehicles, Segways, ride-on lawnmowers, motor sports vehicles, mobility scooters, golf buggies, motorised ride-on children’s toys, fairground rides (eg dodgems), forklift trucks, dumper trucks, engineering plant and quad bikes”.
In a consultation document the Department for Transport said it would have to abide by the rules until after Brexit. However, DfT sources have suggested a “sunset clause” will be drafted into the new rules so they can be abolished when the UK leaves the EU.
A document from the DfT said: “This would result in us broadening our definition of a motor vehicle and extending our insurance requirement beyond roads and other public places. This could mean users of motor vehicles would be required to have third-party insurance on private land.”
A DfT spokesman added: “Following a European Court of Justice judgment, we are consulting whether to extend motor insurance for private land and other vehicle types. We oppose any measures which impose an unreasonable burden on the public. We will use the consultation responses to get the best result for the country.”
Georgina, 94, and her ‘toyboy’ Ray, 86, married in front of their tearful family and friends after falling in love at a care home in Surrey. With tears in her eyes, Georgina exchanged wedding vows with her terminally-ill ‘toyboy’, Ray, promising to love him ’till death us do part’.
Later, the newlyweds joyfully rode down the church aisle on ‘Just Married’ mobility scooters, as their families cheered and applauded.
Aged 94 and 86, Georgina and Ray are among three elderly British couples featured in a new Channel 4 documentary, I Do at 92.
In emotional scenes, they are filmed marrying in front of their family and friends before returning to the home for their reception.
Georgina commented: “Being in love at 94 is just as exciting and just as tantalising and breathtaking. I can’t resist looking’ into his eyes.”
Ray has been diagnosed with terminal cancer a year earlier. He had been given just three months to live, but was defying expectations.
The pair quickly fell in love and within six months, Ray had proposed Georgina said ‘yes’ to her ‘toyboy’, believing ‘life is for living’.
After spending five weeks planning their wedding, the couple tied the knot in a moving ceremony, before riding down the aisle on mobility scooters.
They later enjoyed a reception at the care home, where fellow residents were offered a variety of soft foods, allowing for their dentures!!
A former British prisoner of war, who’s name is coincidentally “Victor”, who survived the historic Dresden bomb attack has recently talked about his “priceless” new found freedom after struggling with reduced mobility in recent years.
Former paratrooper and rifleman Victor Gregg , 97, from Swanmore in Hampshire, survived the horrific and controversial allied bomb attack on the historic German city of Dresden in 1945. Victor, then 26, was held prisoner by Germans after being sentenced to death for burning down the factory where he was working as punishment for trying to escape his POW camp. Whilst in captivity there, he was caught in the Dresden bomb attack.
Seventy years on, Victor and his wife Bett, 84, had begun struggling with their mobility, feeling trapped in their home town despite both using mobility scooters. Victor explained: “We cover miles each week on our mobility scooters but have been forced to stay local because lifting the heavy scooters into the car to travel further afield is impossible at our age. We love our days out but you can’t get far if you can’t get your scooters into the car. We’re both in good health and the last thing we wanted was to lose the freedom of choosing where we go and when we go.”
And then Victor and Bett saw an advert for Autochair – a hoist to lift wheelchairs into the back of cars. The company was created by disabled engineer David Walker who was paralysed in an accident in 1975. Frustrated by the lack of mobility products, David used his engineering expertise to design and build the hoist. Within months, he was inundated with requests for bespoke hoists and in 1983, David’s ideas were put into production and his specialist hoist company Autochair, was born.
Victor added: “After my experiences in life, freedom is everything and is not something I’m prepared to lose just because I’m in my 90s. It took me over 40 years to get over what I saw at Dresden and it still haunts me to this day. But I’ve made sure I’ve lived a full life ever since and I wasn’t going to let my reduced mobility stop me doing what I want.”
Victor is now an established author, whose eye-witness account of the brutal and controversial slaughter of German civilians is told through his book The Rifleman: A Front Line Life, with an e-book account of his experience in Dresden entitled Dresden, A Survivor’s Story.
After receiving huge acclaim, Victor went on to write Kings Cross Kid – a tale of childhood between the wars, and Soldier Spy: A Survivors Tale, which tells of Victor’s post-war life, involving M15, M16 and the KGB.
Victor’s latest book, Soldier Spy, is available through http://www.bloomsbury.com/author/victor-gregg/ with proceeds going to charities including Help the Heroes.
Two disabled women have described the horror of being “shaken around like a cocktail” and the daily dangers of trying to negotiate the streets of Truro on mobility scooters.
Hester Hitchen, who has been battling a long-term condition for the last decade, told Cornwall Live that she is so tired of the bumpy rides that she would like to see the cobbled streets of Truro “Tarmacked” over. She said some of the worst parts of the city are behind Truro Cathedral, New Bridge Street, Old Bridge Street and a section of Pydar Street – an area where some of her favourite shops are located.
Mrs Hitchen said the cobbled streets and the lack of drop curbs and uneven pavements make a trip into the city unpleasant. She said: “I really enjoy going into Truro and do it every day but it is uncomfortable. You are shaken around like a cocktail,” she said.
Barbara Barker described the daily grind of trying to travel along the narrow pavements from her home, describing one of the most difficult areas as from the HTP Building and past the West Briton offices. She said after finding her way through an “assortment of curves, cobbles and narrow pavements” she hits the worst point –outside the BBC Radio Cornwall offices.
The two women are supporting former Truro mayor and councillor Loic Rich who has started a petition calling on Cornwall Council’s Highways department to make improvements and repairs to the “walkways and thoroughfares” of the city. He said they want the council department to “help prevent injuries and enable reasonable equal access.”
Cllr Rich said: “I think some cost effective design changes, such as repointing some of the granite paving stones so they back to the level they were originally intended to be, dropping the kerbs to a reasonable level so people in wheel chairs can actually get to the pavement, and a few other improvements could make a big difference. We are all proud of the cobbles and the historic features of our city, but that doesn’t mean with some skillful engineering from the council we can make things better whilst preserving our heritage.”
Police in North Wales were clearly hallucinating when they issued pensioner James Roberts with a speeding ticket for doing 42mph in a 30mph zone!!
The speeding fine listed the mobility scooter’s details and registration correctly. There were, however, two major flaws:
1. That the vehicle has a top speed of just 8mph
2. The 74-year-old was at home ten miles away in Abergele recovering from triple heart surgery.
Unsurprisingly, mobility scooter driver James Roberts was someone irritated that the ticket was issued at all. He commented: “When I opened the letter, I thought it was a joke but I soon found out it wasn’t. I’ve barely been out of the house these last six weeks, never mind going to Trelawnyd at that time of night. My mobility scooter has a registration number but it doesn’t have number plates on it so I have no idea what’s happened here.”
The retired electrician bought the battery-operated mobility scooter a year ago when problems with his heart led to angina and left him struggling to walk.
There was a simple explanation in the end. GoSafe, the organisation which issues speeding tickets on behalf of North Wales Police, said the error was caused by an incorrect number being entered into the system. A GoSafe spokesman revealed: “As soon as the issue was brought to our attention it was immediately rectified. We have issued a written apology to the gentleman. We apologise for any distress caused.”
Shopmobility in Luton is appealing for donations to help support the service, following a £71,000 funding cut earlier in the year.Luton Shopmobility is participating in Localgiving’s ‘Grow Your Tenner’ campaign to raise funds to see resumption of the service on Saturdays.
Jayn Harris, manager of Shopmobility, explained: “We’re looking to raise £1,000 as a result of the campaign which will help us to expand the service. As a result of the cuts we’ve had to close on Saturdays, which is one of the busier days of the week and as a result we’ve left a lot of our service users upset.”
Shopmobility, based in The Mall in Luton, caters to the disabled and the elderly by providing mobility scooters to people shopping in the town centre. It took a hit earlier in the year when they lost a £71,000 grant from the London Luton Airport Limited (LLAL) community fund.
To help Luton Shopmobility benefit from match funding, please visit their Localgiving Page: www.localgiving.org/donation/
Have you had similar issues in your area? Tell us about it in the Reply Box below.
A thief rode into town in Barnsley on a mobility scooter and ramraided a mobility shop in the early hours and then rode off on one of the mobility scooters.
Instead of taking a new one the thief rode off on a second hand mobility scooter. Minutes later he was captured on CCTV as he came back for his own mobility scooter and drove off again. The crook smashed into the doors with his mobility scooter and was filmed as he selected another model and drove it out of the shop, leaving £5,000 worth of damage at the shop in Cheapside, Barnsley.
Wendy Smith, the chief executive of charity The Inclusion Zone which runs Barnsley Shop Mobility, explained:”He’s definitely an idiot in so many ways. We’ve got new scooters in our fleet and new scooters for sale but he took a really old one. We’re going to send off the video to You’ve been Framed because we think they will pay for it and we are faced with a bill.”
She continued: “He has a limp so at first we thought he was disabled but then he’s running back down to get his old scooter. There must have been someone else with him because you can’t ride two scooters.”
Despite being an old model replacing the mobility scooter will cost £1,600 and new shop doors will cost £3,000.
Wendy added: “You feel as if you’re being targeted although I hope that’s not the case. We are concerned they will keep coming back.”