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Man’s Wheelchair “Tank” Banned From Street in Britain

Man’s Wheelchair “Tank” Banned From Street in Britain

It’s a huge blow for a disabled man in Britain, who was hoping to enjoy the outdoors the way he used to — his specialty wheelchair has been banned from public roads and sidewalks.

Apparently, it’s technically a tank.

Via The Mercury:

“It is ridiculous that I should have found a chair that could help me do all that, then told I could use it, only for the authorities to turn around and say that if I used it on the roads I would be doing something illegal,” he said.

Jim has used a wheelchair since 1999 due to chronic back and joint conditions, neurological problems and arthritis which leave him in constant pain.

He was given the chair for Christmas by a friend who had it made by US firm TC Mobility, for £15,000 ($24,000) after Jim found he was limited by his basic wheelchair.

“NHS wheelchairs are fine but when they get to anything other than a flat, even surface they are useless,” he said.

“I used to be someone who was very into outdoor pursuits before I had to use a wheelchair and I had hoped the tracks would mean I could get back out and do the kinds of think I used to love doing.”

Jim’s new wheelchair, which weighs nearly twice as much as the standard approved chairs and scooters, and which comes with heavy threads rather than wheels, cannot be used on public streets and sidewalks due to possible damage to their surfaces, the vehicular department announced.  He is welcome to use it on private land, he’s told, but “I have to cross roads and pavements to get to the areas where I can use it,” Jim points out, leaving him basically trapped.

As Gizmodo puts it: “At a cost of $24,000, that’s one helluva pricey toy to hoon around on in his backyard.”

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Photo credit: wikimedia commons

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139 comments

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7:37AM PDT on Apr 6, 2011

Hey Robin! Why didn't you post a photo of the real chair this man wants to use around town?! There is no use for this type of chair.. other than mountain climbing!!! Around town... no frekin way!!! If this wack job tried to enter my store with that thing, I would have him arrested!!! And don't think I don't feel for the guy! I am disabled myself!! But I'm not a idiot eigther!!!!

6:00AM PDT on Mar 19, 2011

Diane, it's taboo to question the rights of disabled people over the rights of able bodied people but somebody has to. For too long there are disabled people who think the world owes them a living and what they demand has no limits. They do not see that able bodied people have needs, problems and feelings of their own while they ride roughshod over them. I have been bullied for years by disabled people and suffered from migraines because of it. Only when I was able to make a connection between these two I decided not to have much to do with them. My migraines lessened and became less painful and frequent.

4:05PM PST on Feb 24, 2011

The complaint seems to be that the asphalt roads would be damaged -- it's a shame, because he needs the extra mobility, but I understand why the authorities said, "no."

8:32PM PST on Feb 21, 2011

Frank S., it's not "just" a wheelchair......click on the link! It's not what is pictured in the article........it's a TANK and YIKES! If he wants to use this in the mountains, or whatever, fine. It looks dangerous and no reason to allow such a contraption on public streets or anywhere that vehicles or people would be "exposed".

8:24PM PST on Feb 21, 2011

I'm all for "enabling" the disabled, but when it comes to affecting and ENDANGERING others, why do their needs take pecedence over others rights and needs? Isn't democracy supposed to be about the welfare and wishes of the majority?

Re. his paying taxes, I doubt he's paying the taxes that go to maintaining public streets and sidewalks with having a wheelchair. If this contraption is damaging the surface of said streets, it isn't HIM who will be paying to repair them.

10:41PM PST on Jan 26, 2011

There the safety factor considerartion towards others too, you know!!

10:10AM PST on Jan 26, 2011

Whats the big deal ...its a wheel chair

4:07AM PST on Jan 26, 2011

No comment! Too much pain !

8:09AM PST on Jan 25, 2011

Holy cow! Just clicked and viewed the Mercury link and the picture is scary. I am all for people's right but this is a going a bit overboard. This thing is deadly.......!!

6:39AM PST on Jan 25, 2011

Jeez! Click on the' Mercury' link and see the actual photo. That contraption looks like something out of The Terminator! Imagine that running amok in your local mall and leaving big black scuff marks from those wide tracks!

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