Monday, October 3, 2016

Abused by, Struck by and Hurt by Old People in Electric Wheelchairs

One of the things that annoys me the most when using public transport is the wheel chair or scooter user who insists they can race onto the bus at high speed and drive all over my guide dogs paws.
A man wearing a t shirt with yellow writing sits in his electric scooter on a bus.
The  Man in the Scooter on the Bus

It hurts my dog. I know it does, I hear the squeeky intake of breath he makes.

This morning I had to go downtown to take my latest edition of 'Blindside Fresno' into the CMAC office. A lovely morning, some would say chilly. There was a hazy sun, the temperatures were in the mid fifties and Leif, my black lab guide dog was working hard at being a good guide. Such mornings are great. I love them. It could almost be called a pleasure to be blind and living in the Central Valley of California.

I got on the bus and until we reached the end of the line we sat on the seats at the front that are removable for  wheelchairs. Then because it is a decent length of a break at the end of the line, Leif and I moved to the front seats behind the panel which seperates the wheelchair area from the rest of the bus.

This is normal for me to do. Usually one or two wheelchair users get onto the bus heading downtown and as Leif and I can move why shouldn't we sit in an ordinary seat. I sometimes feel a little sick if I travel too far sideways too.

The buses don't always have a lot of space for a guide dog between the seat and the safety panel though, that was the case today. In fact  there was not enough room  for me to sit facing to the front I had to sit a little side saddle because my knees were pressed hard into the panel.

About half way downtown, I heard the bleeps of the wheelchair ramps go down and a whizz of an electric motor. A scooter type wheelchair raced onto the bus. He couldn't steer into the space left after the driver lifted the seats because the man in the scooter insisted in doing everything in the highest speed setting. Back and forth he went. on about the fourth forward I heard a squeel and felt Leif rise under my seat. A woman shouted, "Hey! You just drove over that dogs paws!"

The man an old man, just said, "F%#@ OFF!" Eventually getting into the space and being strapped in by the driver.

Leif is a good dog. I feel hurt when someone hurts him. But this man's attitude stunk. To behave in such a manner is however such a daily occurance these days. I feel like it is one section of the wheelchair crowd, older less secure people who feel somehow that their being wheelchair users is some excuse for bad behaviour. It doesn't.

We all have bad days. But don't take your bad day out on my guide dog. He did nothing to cause your problem and he saves me from problems that you'll never know.

Why is it these people, get to go out, in a heavy, physically dangerous vehicle. Drive along sidewalks at high speed, get on public transport erunning over peoples feet and failing to use reasonable control with no training? I had to go to school for two weeks to learn to work with my guide dog. I had to pass a test to use my guide dog.  I cannot be reckless with my guide dog, maybe we should look on these motor scooters like a real motor vehicle and make their users responsible for injuries and pain that they cause.

Maybe they should take a look at Driving Tips For Electric Wheelchair Users

Cicero, the Roman orator once lamented O! Tempora. O! Mores. when fellow citizens berated the youth of Rome for their lack of manners and poor attitudes. Cicero's statement was said in a manner to suggest the differing values of the old and young. Now I consider myself as older, I look at the manners of the old and lament the poor values they show.  Young people on the other hand are much less dismissive. One young man last week even just seconds after nearly hiiting me on a sidewalk, called me "Sir." and couldn't apologize enough for not looking where he was going.

O! Tempora. O! Mores.

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