Electric wheelchairs can be fun

Carl Thompson
Summary 
Electric wheelchairs give me independence. But I also have fun with them. I give my friends a ride on the back of my wheelchair. I have another electric wheelchair. Sometimes my able-bodied friends use it. Together we have fun. Car drivers stop to let us pass. Or we receive free gifts. Some people can be rude to a person who uses a wheelchair. But my friends and I have a plan. When a person is rude, my friend stands up and gives them a handshake. The rude person is always surprised. Electric wheelchairs are expensive. So make sure you don't break them.
Posted by: 
Carl Thompson on 13/01/2012
A close up image of a joystick controller and buttons from an electric wheelchair
Electric wheelchair controller

I can go fast on my electric wheelchair.

Electric wheelchairs are extremely important mobility aids for those who need them. They can give people with physical disabilities their independence. I know that without my electric wheelchair I would be sedentary and very boring. Still, there are other uses for electric wheelchairs. And these uses are not related to mobility or rehabilitation. In fact, electric wheelchairs can make great toys. Especially so if you have a spare wheelchair.

Hitching a ride

All of my able-bodied friends inevitably become tired of walking long distances. As an electric wheelchair user, I sometimes become tired of needing to drive slowly to match their walking pace. What is the solution to this problem? I find giving my friends a lift on the back of my electric wheelchair is the best of both worlds. This way their feet do not get tired. And I become less impatient as we reach our destination quicker. Just a word of warning though. When you are giving someone a ride make sure you don't take corners too fast. You don't want to lose your load around a bend.

Having a spare

I have a spare electric wheelchair that I keep around the house. It is used as a backup if my primary electric wheelchair needs repairs. In reality though, my spare electric wheelchair gets much more use as a very expensive toy. My able-bodied friends love taking my electric wheelchair out for a spin. I always insist on giving them driving lessons first because we all know safety is important.

Positives and negatives

There are many positives when my friends drive my spare electric wheelchair. The extra speed certainly cuts down on travel time. It enables my friend and me to occasionally cut in queues. We often receive free gifts when in electric wheelchairs, especially at markets. We also find car drivers are extremely likely to give way when there are two wheelchairs waiting at a crossing. I guess there is nothing like a little bit of positive discrimination.

My friends often comment on the different way people treat them when they drive my spare electric wheelchair. They often say that they get talked down to by strangers in a patronising way. I see their experience as being a practical form of education. My friends do wonder how I put up with being treated that way by strangers. We have thought of a way to combat this patronising behaviour. We devised a plan where my friends immediately stand up out of my wheelchair and shake the patronising person's hand. It certainly gives them a surprise and hopefully teaches them a lesson.

An expensive toy

Mobility aids such as electric wheelchairs do not have to be boring. If you think outside the box and experiment they can sometimes make very fun toys. At the same time though, electric wheelchairs can cost upwards of $15,000. You really don't want to break them when they cost that much.

Readers comments (1)

Hi Carl,

I couldn't agree with you more. During my school days at Yooralla Carlton and Balwyn, many of my friends would have races in the school corridors in their electric wheelchairs. They also played wheelchair soccer and football with them.

On the down side, they would have their chairs confiscated or the brakes released by the teachers for mucking around. I personally felt that this was equivalent to chopping someone's legs off for misbehaving, and I was very opposed.

Overall, electric wheelchairs bring back some wonderful, mischievous times in my life, and I loved the freedom that they gave my friends with Muscular Dystrophy.

Assistive Aides, No Way, FREEDOM MACHINES ALL THE WAY. Keep on powering on Carl, in safety of course hehehe.

Comment on this article