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Welcome to UK Wheelchairs - the home of value and quality

Monthly Archives: November 2016

  • A wheelchair accessible vehicle worth noting

    At Naidex 2016 we caught sight of a fantastic wheelchair accessible vehicle which has rear-entry wheelchair accessibility  and is favourably priced at under £15000.

    Made by KIA, the Soul is a wheelchair accessible car that seems to offer a great deal while retaining an affordable price tag. Kia have won am improved reputation over the past few years and overcome any reputations that they may have had for poor reliability and bad build quality. Now, the Kia Soul really is the ideal car to have undergone a subtle conversion process to make to wheelchair friendly.

    Described as a sleek and compact car, it manages to house 3 people including the wheelchair user and provides simple rear access via a very long and very wide wheelchair access ramp.

    The company involved in the conversion process have perfected their processes and acted swiftly on the feedback from wheelchair users and now produce the perfect solution. The built in wheelchair ramp is a whopping 32" wide, making it big enough to take even the widest of bariatric wheelchairs with ease. The ramp is also spring assisted making it easier to deploy and retract via the rear door. The wheelchair ramp has also been improved by applying a new coating that both prolongs its working life but also provides additional grip.

    The perfect car for your wheelchair

    When it comes to docking the wheelchair, there is a choice of 3 methods including the Standard 4-Point Q’Straint Wheelchair Securement System or Q’Straint Retractable Straps or Premium EZ Lock Docking System.

    Providing rear access to the vehicle means there are more options for parking as extra side room is no longer needed for ramp deployment. The clever flat floor design and minimal ramp angle make for an effortless entry and exit. The door opening height is a massive 55" meaning that even the tallest of wheelchair users should have plenty of room. If not, then the makers will offer a headliner conversion which will provide some extra head height.

    From a safety point of view, the wheelchair user has almost as much protection as an F1 driver thanks to the reverse roll cage steel design and a continuous weld technique, which adds an additional layer of safety in the event of crash.

    Whether you are a carer, part of a small family or live alone the Kia Soul Wheelchair adapted vehicle really is worth considering. It has excellent economy and delivers brilliant fuel consumption, giving it the best MPG accessible vehicle conversion on the UK market.

    All in all this is a fantastic vehicle and represents great value. So if you are looking for a very wheelchair friendly vehicle don’t miss this one ! For more wheelchair friendly car information please see here.

  • Only one wheelchair per bus

    There is lots in the press about the two wheelchair users who were denied bus access on the same bus. The two boys were out on a trip with their respective carers and had made a trip together on the same bus from  Gosport to do some shopping in Portsmouth.

    The two brothers Travis and Braydon McDowell live with epilepsy and cerebral palsy and are used to spending time together including travelling together but were advised by as many as 7 bus drivers that for reasons of health and safety they were not permitted to travel on the same bus at the same time. Father, Robert McDowell, says his sons have used First bus services near their home in Gosport frequently and could not understand why the policy seemed to be different across the water. Mr Mcdowel also added that sons need to have two carers present when they go out in order to meet their complex needs, so it wasn't suitable for them to split up.

    It transpires that the first outward journey should not have been allowed as it is a matter of the law to guard safety of the wheelchair users that advises only one wheelchair per vehicle at any one point in time and that this is due to the fact the bus can only safely accommodate one wheelchair, as quoted by DERVLA MCKAY, FIRST GENERAL MANAGER:

    "So the reason there is one space is because there is a backrest. That backrest actually prevents the user from having any spinal injuries, any whiplash or indeed the chair tipping over in the event of an emergency incident happening on the vehicle".

    The bus company have also issued a new brief to its drivers to advise them on how best to deal with situations like this so that any disruption to wheelchair users and the other bus users is minimised and all is understood. They also spoke with the McDowell family to explain the initial confusion and the reasoning behind the wheelchair ruling.

    Scope the disability charity have said that bus companies ought to make efforts to communicate better with disabled users including wheelchair users and stated that there was some inconsistency in how things were dealt with. Scope campaign manager Rosemary Frazer says:

    "I think we need to have larger spaces available on buses that can accommodate two wheelchairs, or a wheelchair and a buggy. We really need to look into the design of future buses and think about how we can do it better."

    Having looked in to this a bit closer we have found that the bus companies are permitted to make changes so that they can safely transport more than one wheelchair simultaneously if they so wish and can choose to provide further space for additional wheelchairs.

    In a statement the Department for Transport said it is vital that all people have access to all public transport.

    Single-decker buses must have at least one wheelchair space on board, and proper boarding facilities. Operators may choose to provide further space for additional wheelchairs.

    For many disabled people, positive engagement with bus drivers can be as important as the physical accessibility. Bus operators should equip their staff to provide a consistent and accessible service to disabled passengers, including ensuring that facilities for passengers in wheelchairs are used safely.

    We are currently looking at measures to ensure bus drivers know what their obligations are with our Accessibility Action Plan. It which will identify steps to make transport work for everyone.



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