Wheel Chair Safety Program Launched - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

05/14/07 - Nacogdoches

Wheel Chair Safety Program Launched

by Donna McCollum

A motorist is driving down a busy street and they almost hit a person in a wheel chair. Police hear about it frequently. Sgt Greg Sowell said,  " The majority of these people who call in are not mad. They're scared because they almost had a tragic accident."

People in wheel chairs often use public roadways, yet many of them are confused about what side of the road to use.  David Anderson said he travels "with the traffic". He didn't know that was wrong and says he was even told conflicting directives by police officers.

A Wheel Chair Safety Program is setting things straight. Those in wheelchairs follow pedestrian laws. Face the traffic. Sowell wants motorists to know, " These people are going to be coming toward you. That is the law and that they're governed the same as pedestrians."

Wheel chair occupants are also supposed to use available sidewalks and crosswalks. David Muckleroy admits he travels a short distance down the center turn lane. When asked  why don't you use the crosswalk?, he answered,  "That's a block away."

Mike Ritter, a member of the Mayor's Committee on Persons with Disabilities said, " I look at someone, just like I would a jaywalker or anyone else who is braking the law. It's either they're ignorant or they don't care." The committee is totally behind the program. Ritter is gladly putting reflective tape on his wheelchair and wearing a reflective wristband. Both are complimentary safety tools from the Nacogdoches Police Department.  

The Wheel Chair Safety Program will include posters and educational material. People can gather the handouts and free safety supplies at the Nacogdoches Police Department.

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