We’re calling for all Lower Hutt residents to do their bit towards keeping our city accessible for everyone. We have a large percentage of elderly residents and those pushing prams in our community, and it’s important that they’re able to get around.
Many people in our community with physical challenges are using walkers and motorised scooters to help them get around the city – something that’s really important for them to do in order to socialise, exercise and get fresh air. Simply walking to the shops is something that many of us take for granted, but for wheelchair and pram users it can be a challenge that can make them question if it’s worth the hassle.
To ensure that these residents can feel safe and independent in our city, we should be mindful of the following:
Where we put our bins for collection is really important for how wheelchair and pram users navigate the street – when they’re left in the middle of the footpath it can become really difficult to get past. It’s not as easy as just going onto the road either. In most cases this isn’t safe and wheelchairs also run the risk of tipping over if they drop down the side of a kerb. It’s best to place our bins on the berm or right at the edge of the kerbside.
Like bin placement, be mindful of where you leave bags of clothing for collection – ask yourself if a motorised scooter or a pram could get past.
Cars parked on the pavement
Be mindful when parking around the city. If your car is on a pavement in any way, it means a wheelchair or pram will struggle to get past.
Reversing out of driveways
Be extra vigilant when reversing your car out of a driveway and ensure there are no pedestrians behind you. There have been times when cars backing out have actually hit a wheelchair user in our community.
If you run a business in the city with outdoor seating, consider how much of the pavement it’s taking up. Is there still room for a wheelchair or pram to get through without trouble?
Harry Gatherer from the Wainuiomata Scooteroos says:
Having recently driven a mobility scooter for the first time, I realise how difficult and scary it can be to manoeuvre a scooter around the district. I would like to ask people, what is your Plan B? If something suddenly changes your life and these issues affect you, what will you do? My disability today could be your disability tomorrow.”
We want our city to be an accessible place for all our residents to enjoy and feel safe in. Let’s move towards that by all doing our bit.