Crumbling Sidewalks Spell Trouble For Mobility Device Users
Across the country, crumbling sidewalks are relegating wheelchair users to the streets and that means trouble, advocates say.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, sidewalks must be accessible to people with disabilities. But years of disrepair and allocation of federal road funds to highways rather than pedestrian passageways mean sidewalks in many cities are practically impassable to people who rely on wheelchairs and other mobility devices.
That means increasing numbers of people with disabilities are competing with cars in the streets, creating a dangerous situation. And several cities’ sidewalks are the subject of lawsuits as a result. Now, the Justice Department is actively working through their Project Civic Access to bring settlements between cities and residents with disabilities.
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In the meantime, many cities are enhancing their laws to protect people with disabilities on sidewalks and in the roadways. Jackson, Miss. lawmakers recently required that all wheelchairs have reflectors or a blinking light when used in a roadway and in Columbia, Mo. it’s now a misdemeanor to harass a pedestrian using a mobility device, reports USA Today. To read more click here.