Parking on pavements

As a wheelchair user I am sometimes unable to proceed along the pavement because a driver has parked his vehicle wholly or partly on the pavement.  This is not only a nuisance, but also can force me in to the roadway with all the dangers that creates.  It is also a major problem for other mobility impaired people, visually impaired people, parents with buggies and young children on scooters and cycles.
 
While it is easy to issue penalty notices for this in London it is not so over the rest of England.  A petition to HM Government to get proper legislation has been started – see below – I urge you to support this.

Outlaw Parking on Pavements – For the petition go to http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/58617 

Responsible department: Department for Transport

 

In addition to being a socially inconsiderate and unacceptable nuisance, the parking of motor vehicles on pavements presents a hazard and inconvenience to pedestrians and other legitimate users, especially those who are disabled or may require unhindered access, such as emergency services.

Currently it seems that parking on pavements is not prohibited on a national basis and it is therefore impossible to prevent people from doing so.

It is the aim of this petition to outlaw the parking of motor vehicles on pavements on a national basis such that enforcement may be carried out against those who park on pavements, thereby allowing the intended users of pavements to enjoy their unhindered usage.

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London Buses

As a wheelchair user I had avoided buses as being too awkward and the ramps being too unreliable and the wheelchair spaces always unavailable.  That was based on what many people had told me. On three recent trips to London I have used buses to get me between Euston Station and my destination.  All went very smoothly.  The drivers were fully co-operative, the ramps all worked and the spaces were always available.  Some journeys were on the New Routemasters where the conductor supervised the ramps and ensured we were OK. On a total of seven single journeys there has been just one actual problem.  Near Waterloo Station the driver had to reposition the bus as the ramp would not extend due to a problem with the kerb or the paving.  Outside the Home Office in Horseferry Road thoughtless planning with security bollards on the pavement meant there was only just room to access the ramp without repositioning the bus. I had a PA (‘support worker’ to those who do not understand our lingo) each time and she did assist me up and down the ramps.  I use a semi-motorised wheelchair and do not think I would have the strength to manage the ramps as some are fairly steep. Compared with taxis there was a massive cost saving although we did gt a bit colder and wetter at times.  I don’t think it was much slower either, especially as you can wait a while for a taxi sometimes.  Wheelchair users apparently travel free on London buses although I do also have a national bus pass from Milton Keynes Council.  Using a  pre-paid Oyster card it only cost £1.45 per journey for my PA (you pay a second time if you change buses, but the daily maximum for bus fares on Oyster is only £4.40).  We even travelled at 5.30pm one weekday and although busy it was not a problem. Planning which bus to catch and where from can be a pain, but there is lots of information here on the Internet.  I use http://journeyplanner.tfl.gov.uk.  Careful choice of buses can make life easier – for example where several routes cover the same journey choosing the one that stops inside Euston Station bus station rather than the other side of Euston Road can be a clever move in bad weather. If you have not tried using the bus I urge you to give it a go.

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£98 per hour – Ouch!

Had my wheelchair overhauled yesterday.  It is a not very common power assisted manual wheelchair using a drive system made by Yamaha and sold by Steering Developments at Hemel Hempstead.  Had to look more than once when I found I had been charge £98 per hour for the 2.5 hours they were working on it.   Be interested to know what others think of this rate.  I know it has to cover much more than just wages, but that seems a a lot to cover overheads, consumables and profits.

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That sinking feeling

As wheelchair users my wife and I depend on our through floor lift to get to our bedroom and our studies.  The lift is now over 10 years old and recently we had to change our maintenance company.  The original supplier provided really poor service and eventually sold their customers to another company.  I found a local company that was happy to take on our contract and, unlike the previous lot, was prepared to come out at any time of day or night if the lift failed.  Unfortunately that company has now been hit with the effects of the recession and no longer has staff that can reliably turn out 24 hours a day.

After some research I obtained a quote from Stannah and a new contract started a few weeks ago.  Yesterday evening their promise that “Our 24/7 emergency breakdown service is available to all our customers, 365 days a year” was put to the test.  I called them shortly after 8.00pm and a pleasant lady took the details, found us on their system and promised an engineer would call us when he was on his way.  It was not long before the engineer called to say he would arrive in about 40 minutes.  Once arrived he got on with the job and completed the replacement of the failed spring (we keep a supply as they are the main cause of breakdowns) in about 75 minutes.  All together we were out of action for just 2 hours and 15 minutes.  Well done Stannah.  You will find them at –

http://goo.gl/BZfiDd

Because we own our house the cost of that call out at £190 has to be paid by us.  Presumably the powers that be consider we should pay such things out of our DLA!

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Has anyone given any thought to disabled people with this plan?

http://goo.gl/BafYxq

The MailOnline reports on a trial planned in Milton Keynes (my home town) of driverless pods but makes no mention of disabled people.  Imagine a city centre where you can only enter if you can squeeze in to a bubble car!

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Scam or opportunity

I am always very sceptical about make money from home schemes and I put the one below in the very doubtful category.  What do you reckon?  Is it a scam or an opportunity?

http://goo.gl/ZwLusC

 

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A widower from Cheshire has been ordered to pay £3,500 compensation to a carer who had her hours cut when his wife died.

The BBC News website reported on 25 October that “A widower from Cheshire has been ordered to pay £3,500 compensation to a carer who had her hours cut when his wife died” – see http://goo.gl/iNqXhA

This really does show how important good quality advice and the right insurance is when employing carers.

I wonder also if he operated PAYE or just paid cash in hand. Regrettably if the latter he will probably be hearing from HMRC very soon.

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