[nfbwatlk] fw: Safe not sighted

Jedi loneblindjedi at samobile.net
Sat Mar 27 23:20:12 UTC 2010

I recommend that you have David Andrews forward this message throughout 
the lists. That way, you can get more responses from wheelchair users. 
As a thought, what about Maria Bradford? She uses a wheelchair sometimes.


Original message:
> Maureen Pranghofer uses a wheelchair and went thru BLIND Inc. She wrote a
> few Monitor articles; also, she had a story in the kernel book "Toothpaste
> and Railroad Tracks".

> Mike

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Joanne Laurent" <joanne at blindcoach.com>
> To: <nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org>
> Sent: Saturday, March 27, 2010 1:37 PM
> Subject: [nfbwatlk] fw: Safe not sighted

>> Below is a forwarded email I read on the O&M listserv seeking support for
>> blind wheelchair users in the UK:

>> Freedom is a fundamental human right but the UK government is threatening
>> to
>> take it away from blind wheelchair users. Help protect our right to
>> freedom.

>> The Department for Transport is consulting on proposed changes to the UK's
>> laws covering powered mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs. One of
>> the
>> proposals is to introduce a fitness to drive test including an eyesight
>> test. Imposing a vision requirement would have appalling consequences for
>> those of us who are blind and need to use a wheelchair; it would strip us
>> of
>> our right to freedom.

>> With appropriate use of long canes, guide dogs and/or electronic obstacle
>> detectors, blind people can and do safely use powered mobility vehicles.
>> The
>> assumption that good eyesight is necessary for the safe use of powered
>> scooters and wheelchairs is prejudice, discriminatory and utterly
>> unacceptable.

>> I am blind and use a powered wheelchair, a long cane and an electronic
>> obstacle detector. I am able to independently and safely get out and about
>> in my local area. Being able to get around my house, go for a potter
>> around
>> the village, pop to the mailbox or go to get a pint of milk from the
>> village
>> shop are things that matter hugely to me. If the use of powered
>> wheelchairs
>> were restricted to those with good eyesight, blind wheelchair users, such
>> as
>> myself, would be trapped in our homes and robbed of our right to freedom.
>> That simply cannot be allowed to happen.

>> Users of powered mobility vehicles need to drive safely; we do not need to
>> be sighted. That is the message we must get across to the Department of
>> Transport, the National Health Service, scooter and wheelchair suppliers,
>> the general public and the media. To do this, we need evidence and
>> personal
>> testimonies.

>> Wherever you live in the world, you can help. If you are a blind
>> wheelchair
>> user, or if you have worked with any blind wheelchair users, please share
>> your experiences. Why is it important that blind people can get around
>> independently? Do you believe that blind people can safely and
>> independently
>> use powered wheelchairs and scooters? If so, how? What are the techniques,
>> tools and skills that make this possible? How did you, or your students,
>> learn to use the powered wheelchair or scooter safely? Do you know of any
>> published research or practice reports that show that blind people can use
>> powered wheelchairs or scooters? The more evidence and testimony we can
>> gather from across the world, the better our chance of preventing the
>> Department for Transport from implementing this disgraceful plan.

>> If you are able to share your experiences, I would appreciate it if you
>> could also let me know whether you are happy for me to pass it on to other
>> blind wheelchair users in the UK, quote excerpts from it on the Safe Not
>> Sighted campaign blog (http://www.safenotsighted.wordpress.com) and/or
>> quote
>> excerpts from it in my response to the Department for Transport's
>> consultation. If you are happy for me to use your feedback in any of these
>> ways, please also let me know whether I may include your name or whether
>> you
>> would prefer your comments to be anonymous.

>> If you live in the UK, don't allow the Department of Transport to imprison
>> blind wheelchair users. Please respond to the consultation on proposed
>> changes to the laws governing powered mobility scooters and powered
>> wheelchairs (DFT 2010-10), by 28 May 2010, available online at
>> http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/open/2010-10/ and oppose the inclusion
>> of an eyesight test in the fitness to drive test. Tell them that we need
>> to
>> be safe not sighted.

>> Thank you in advance for your anticipated support of the freedom of blind
>> wheelchair users.

>> Sasha Ayres

>> Visit the Safe Not Sighted campaign blog at
>> http://www.safenotsighted.wordpress.com

>> Joanne Laurent
>> Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist
>> If you can't learn it, I'm not teaching it right!
>> <http://www.blindcoach.com/> www.blindcoach.com

>> Highest Expectations Travel and Adaptive Skills Instruction for the Blind
>> P.O. Box 586 Ariel, WA 98603
>> (360) 231-4597

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