Winter can feel like warfare, especially for those who use wheelchairs. Winter storm can quickly render a smooth and clear sidewalk completely inaccessible for people who need assistive mobility devices. Wheeling a chair through as few as four inches of snow escalates the amount of physical exertion required. Winter preparedness for wheelchair users are important.
Here are a few tips for running errands, even when winter weather compounds your mobility challenges:
Tell the business you’re coming and you use a wheelchair. If the snow isn’t cleared when you call, chances are that it will be by the time you arrive.
Use the Technology
If you are using public transportation, see if there’s a website or mobile app you can use to check conditions before you leave your residence.
Ask for Assistance
If the sidewalk or curb cut is impassable, you are within your rights to ask the nearest business or residential property owner to remove it. Many Ontario cities, including Toronto and London, have enacted by-laws which require property owners to clear their adjacent sidewalks of ice and snow.
In Toronto, for example, all property owners located in areas that do not receive sidewalk snow clearing service from the City must remove snow and ice from the sidewalks surrounding their property within 12 hours after any fall of snow, rain, or hail has ceased. Further, after the removal of ice and snow, the property owner must immediately, and as often as necessary, apply ashes, sand, salt or some other suitable material so as to completely cover the slippery surface.
Shop Online and Pick In-store
Some retailers allow shoppers to place orders and pay online, then pickup their order curbside.
Order online from Amazon, Wal-Mart and most other retailers and have the order delivered directly to your home in a couple of days. You don’t have to go out at all! While perishable groceries are only available this way in some major cities, this is an easy way to shop.
Winter preparedness for wheelchair users are important. Do you have any tips ? We’d love to hear yours, comment below!