Reading about accessibility travel in the San Juan Islands was encouraging [“Discovering the San Juan Islands,” June 2014]. Having traveled there before my injury, I kayaked to Sucia Island from Orcas Island where we camped. The peaceful serenity of mountainous islands meeting the waters of the Pacific Northwest made for a great experience. Watching fish swim below us after dark through motion-activated bio-luminescent algae, being followed by seals, and seeing the whales, topped it off.
Locals on Orcas Island were some of the friendliest, open-armed, and eclectic group of villagers I’ve met. I would suggest bringing a car to Orcas, as the main attractions are a few miles from the ferry landing and getting a view from the top of Mt. Moran is a must. However, it would be fun to bike and ferry tour around the islands, as the traffic is extremely low in most places and the scenery and wildlife are great.
Thanks for Taxi Victory
Thank you for your important information about the change in accessible taxi policy [“Big Wheelchair Accessible Taxi Win in NYC,” May News, newmobility.com]. I am a paraplegic physician who visits New York City. Accessible taxi availability, as you know, is dismal. Getting one to go anywhere takes many calls and a long time, and once at the destination, it takes a great deal of time and effort to find another one to return me to my hotel. United Spinal Association deserves our gratitude for rectifying what was the epitome of “ADA,” which in this case meant “Adverse Disability Access.” For the last several trips to NYC, I essentially gave up and took a taxi from the airport to a hotel in mid-Manhattan, where I stayed for the entire visit. All of my contacts and family came to the hotel to see me, and at the end of my trip, I took another taxi back to the airport. I hired these taxis for the two airport trips before I left home, again because of the very uncertain and difficult problem of finding an accessible taxi in New York City.
Malin Dollinger, M.D.
Rancho Palos Verdes, California
Label Your Equipment
While speaking to a large group of people with disabilities at a Gulf Coast meeting for emergency preparedness, I asked the 40 or so in wheelchairs to raise their hands if their chair had an identifying name and contact label. One hand besides mine went up. Rescuers will take a person first, often leaving equipment behind, but they may rescue the equipment later, and, if it is labeled, they can reunite you with your chair, walker, oxygen compressor or any other equipment. Label it this minute before the water rises around your house!
It’s great that users can wheel into the car and drive, but do you have to go alone? I don’t feel safe alone [“Accessible Electric Cars: Soon?” June 2014]. Short distances are OK — to meet someone at a location, but I want to drive and take someone with me, and where do I put all the grocery bags? Where do I put my stuff? Where am I going in this vehicle?
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Note: The following are more comments from www.newmobility.com, via Facebook postings, that address NM’s June story, “Accessible Electric Cars: Soon?”
From a Manufacturer
Although this article might lead a reader to think otherwise, Chairiot Mobility has, in fact, delivered a production-configuration solo to a dealer who is showing it off and getting very positive reactions. That same dealer will have vehicles for sale in five to six weeks [from June 1]. See here: goo.gl/rXEVSU
Response From Reader
I like the vehicle. The price is a bit steep, such as is everything for those of us who are disabled. We have problems finding work and it seems you would find products for us on a fixed income!
We Are Trying
You make a fair point, Barb. Our first goal was to radically reduce the cost of vehicular mobility, and we think a price of $18,995 is a big improvement over a $60,000 van conversion. All dealers selling the Chairiot will offer financing, and we are exploring leasing options. Some dealers may even do rentals. Ultimately, we cannot make it free, but we do think Chairiot will considerably expand the number of wheelchair users who can afford a comfortable and secure form of personal transportation.
We apologize to Mike Ervin and his readers for inadvertently omitting his column in our June issue. The column, “Bedpans and Beyond,” is online at here.