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Disability Bitch hates pedestrians

6th January 2010

• Disability Bitch is published every Thursday on bbc.co.uk/ouch
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Hello, readers! Welcome to 2010. Yes, I'm still a grumpy disabled Bitch. And before you ask, no, I didn't have a good break. Let's start as we mean to go on, shall we?
L plate
lately the news has been awash with discussion about mobility scooters. You know, those small, three or four wheeled electric vehicles that aren't milk floats, often seen trundling around pavements, usually driven by disabled people. Well, over Christmas it was revealed that a House of Commons committee is going to consider the possibility of introducing speed limits and compulsory training for all scooter users. Meanwhile, after a spate of accidents, Norfolk Police is offering driver training to novice scooter users.

Scooter users, you can put down your complaint forms and take a few deep breaths, because I don't hate you. I don't even hate the cheeky electric pavement people transporters themselves ... though I did try one for a while and didn't get on with it at all.

I think the notion of testing scooter drivers is probably a good one. After all, anyone should be able to manoeuvre themselves safely when they're out and about in a public place. So where does my wrath lie this week?
Legs of woman on a zebra crossing
Legs of destruction
... I HATE PEDESTRIANS! God, I really do.

Scooter users get a bad press. Yes, there are some rubbish drivers and yes, they should be reprimanded; I've had a couple of near misses with reckless scooterers myself and they weren't fun. But the thing is, as a wobbly walking stick user, I have near misses almost every time I step out into a public space. I'm here to tell you that these are very rarely due to the carelessness of other mobility aid users.

Mostly, readers, the cause of my bumps and bruises are fully able bipedal pedestrians. You know, the ones who hurry past you and jab you in the ribs with their elbows, who skittle by on escalators and stairs knocking you asunder, the ones who poke you in the face with their umbrellas, who jabber into their mobile phones and don't keep a watch out for any less stable bystanders. Heck, they made it illegal to use a mobile phone while driving recently, can't they also criminalise phone users for talking while they walk?

Here's my manifesto: Let's make sure all mobility scooter users know how to manoeuvre safely. But let's not restrict training to them. Let's make sure all pavement users are mindful of other people regardless of their level of mobility and introduce a pedestrian proficiency test, if you will.

We'll teach these normal non-vulnerable folk to look both ways when they enter and exit shops, to encourage them not to run and never to stop suddenly without checking behind them to see if there are any of us poor hapless disabled people who have a longer stopping distance than them.
Legs of many people walking
Test them into a black hole in space
Mine isn't even that radical an idea to put to the British government do already test some people for their level of mobility competence. We all know disabled people are called upon regularly to prove just how well they can or can't walk. We fill in a form and then an officially employed medical person turns up to prod us and disagree at every possible opportunity. It's known as 'applying for state disability benefits'.

Since the government agrees it's totally fine to put the 'andicapped through this procedure, I don't see how anyone could possibly object to equally stringent walking tests for everyone. It's for health and safety reasons, after all. And health and safety's where it's at. Oh and it'd annoy normals and the Daily Telegraph which is quite cool.

MillsWatch

OMG! I've barely slept since it was confirmed that Heather Mills will be skating in ITV reality show, Dancing on Ice. The show starts this Sunday, kids. Be sure to tune in.

If, like me, you can't wait, do watch this clip of Hev discussing all the injuries she's sustained and the way skating with a prosthetic limb
makes her bum stick out. If you're wondering why she signed up, it's because "[She's] got 6,000 amputees on [her] website who look to [her] for inspirational things to do". It's tough being a 24/7 disability inspiration, no wonder she had to go for this. Oh, and apparently she's also really pleased she can take her young daughter ice skating because "She's not going to have a disabled mum that can't do anything with her". I hate that kind too, I'm sure we all know where she's coming from (!) Deep breaths, now. Think of your blood pressure. There's weeks and weeks of this stuff to come. It's beautiful.

Facebook

I know where Heather's coming from. I've got nearly 1900 Facebook friends who look to me for inspiration. It's a big responsibility. Facebook friends, go forth to the kitchen and eat cake. If I can do it, you can too.

This week, we've mostly been chatting about the current Celebrity Big Brother line up. There's no one as flamboyantly disabled as last year's Verne Troyer, but Swedish DJ BassHunter does have Tourette's Syndrome, and classy actress Stephanie Beacham is partially deaf.

Apparently Heather refused to appear in the line up this year. Gone are the days when we thought only Channel 4 did disability, now ITV wears the crown! Who'd of thunk it?

Friend me on Facebook now. I mean where else will you get disability and ice but on the telly? Oh yeah, outside. Sorry.

Comments

    • 1. At 1:56pm on 07 Jan 2010, Blueunicorn1974 wrote:

      I don't think it's fair! Why should scooter users get all the blame. Pedestrians are just as much at fault. How many times have you heard "sorry didn't see you there!" What about people that push pushchairs and shopping trolleys that run into you.

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    • 2. At 5:35pm on 07 Jan 2010, TraumaDoll wrote:

      It's the people who wander straight across your path that get me, and the ones that just stop dead in front of you. It takes me a while to get up to speed, and once I have, stopping quickly isn't as easy as you'd think. I have more trouble on my feet than I do on the notoriously awkward roundabouts on my driving lessons.

      That said, I feel I should apologise to the wheelchair user who I accidentally got too close to a few weeks ago. When you went backwards, you didn't hit me, and I wouldn't have felt it if you had. If it was you in the small-town card shop last month, I'm sorry I blocked you in.

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    • 3. At 12:51pm on 08 Jan 2010, Mhadaidh wrote:

      perhaps when you hear 'sorry didn't see you there' the person saying it is VI
      I often don't see mobility scooters , but because my impairment is hidden , people blame me - I

      yes I may wander straight in front of you , but surely I have a right to use the pavement
      your scooters are difficult to negotiate

      I was hit by a mobility scooter and it hurt me , not the scooter driver
      they are heavy and hurt when they hit you

      what do want me to do , stay at home, and let you rule the road , I don't think so

      pavements are for pedestrians

      and as for 'getting up speed' please don't



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    • 4. At 2:56pm on 09 Jan 2010, bulekingfisher wrote:

      It is inconsidarate perdestrains EG walking 4/5 abreast on a narrow footpath/ forming a group/gagell of perdestrains/gesse to stop talking for 10/15 minutes + because you are in a wheelchair the staff at the care home will understand if your late for your curfew/ meeting with your social worker who has an elestacied shecdual I think not

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    • 5. At 3:28pm on 09 Jan 2010, TraumaDoll wrote:

      Having just read back my own earlier comment, I fear I've been slightly misleading - I don't use a scooter or anything similar, I walk; albeit with one or both of a set of elbow cruches. This is why it takes me a while to reach something approaching normal walking pace, and why it can be difficult for me to come to an abrupt halt. I also have a similar problem as the above posters with people stopping to chat and blocking the pavement - my sticks have a similar effect to that of a bodykit on a car. I'm wider than I ought to be, and can't pass by in a tiny gap.

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    • 6. At 9:16pm on 11 Jan 2010, Charlotte Meharry-King wrote:

      lol, Pedestrians can be a little off with vehicles on their nicely set aside walking areas. I had a man walk into the side of my chair once then shout at me for ramming into me. I had to point out that I was not a crab and my chair was not physically capable of driving sideways.

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    • 7. At 01:37am on 13 Jan 2010, david cordwell wrote:

      i agree pavements are for pedestrians - NOT for bicycles NOT for parked cars vans & lorries NOT for advertising boards of various sizes & shapes that block my access-but sadly the police allow all these illegal activities to occur in my area.

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    • 8. At 4:11pm on 15 Jan 2010, Steve Toone wrote:

      If I had a penny for every time I had to release the go stick on my power chair because some numpty AB decided to stop dead directly in front of me, I could increase every one InCap and DLA Christmas Bonus by 500%. It is so infuriatingly simple to look and manouver, most AB's are drivers they do this in the car, and yet I have to fork out £50 a year to cover myself incase I run one of the numpties over because they stopped suddenly!! I definitely hate Pedestrian's my wife is starting to hate them too as are my two young Son's. Gonna have to reign in the Pavement rage! LOL

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