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Wheelchairs in the Snow

We just had our biggest snow of the year. It was incredibly beautiful and great for sledding. Our road was plowed in a timely manner and our sidewalks shoveled. I'm so thankful for the people who clear away snow. But here the thing:

Snow is hardly ever removed with someone other than a 'typical' adult in mind.

Which means it's not great for my elderly neighbors. Or the man in my neighborhood who uses forearm braces. And certainly not for Collin.

One time I brought to staff attention that the sidewalks in front of the handicapped parking spots were neither shoveled nor salted. This was at Collin's physical therapy. Which is at a hospital. And they responded by asking, "Can't they just walk through the parking lot?"

It's common for paths to be shoveled to the curb right NEXT to a ramp, or to the steps INSTEAD OF the ramp, leaving the ramp covered with snow.

And of course there are the numerous times that the path that is shoveled just about the right width for one person to walk with one foot in front of the other. So, if you require any kind of mobility device, or even if you're just unsteady on your feet, there is often either no safe way or no way at all to get where you need to go.

So, I have designed a simple test to determine whether a path has been adequately cleared. Simply use anything that rolls and is roughly the width of a wheelchair: office chair, rolling cart, stroller. Next, collect a few valuable possessions: a sweet TV, a new laptop, some collectors items,  a smart phone. These can belong either to the person actually clearing the path or the person who is responsible for that path. Now, push the chair-bearing-important-things down the cleared path. If all of the precious cargo makes it from point A to B without getting chucked in the snow, then the job was sufficiently done.

Problem solved.

I'm not just talking about wheelchair accessibility here. That's a whole separate post (hint: putting a picture of a wheelchair outside a bathroom doesn't magically make it accessible). And, as I said, I'm VERY thankful that there are hardworking people who make public places safer after a snow. All I'm suggesting is that, with a few small adjustments, it can be done in a way that is safer and more useful to everyone.