Thursday, January 12, 2006

Segways ARE Good for the Disabled!

Last April, I wrote, "Some judgemental dweeb wrote in the letters page of The Toronto Star today that only the lazy use Segways because the physically disabled would use scooters or wheelchairs." In October, I objected to The Saturday Star's narrow-minded editorial that opined that in "view of...their role in discouraging walking, there is no need to test drive Segways in Toronto."

Well, today a 14-year-old girl from London put the lie to these elitist, inherently judgemental views. Megan Stuckey petitioned Toronto's Works Committee to allow Segways on public property for disabled users as London, Ontario has done (Alicia Kay-Markson on CTV News covered the story). She is a bilateral amputee and her prosthetic legs allow her to walk, just not quickly nor far; they don't let her bike or run either. Her family petitioned London when they discovered that the Segway allowed her to join them on bike rides, instead of staying home alone, and to go "jogging" with her Dad. The Segway allows her to be as mobile as those who can walk normally and to go everywhere just like they can. Her father asserts that prohibiting the Segway contravenes the Ontario Disabilities Act.

I wish her luck as the Works Committee have already proved themselves to be timid on this issue and disallowed a one-year trial for Segways. On the other hand, a child, and a disabled one at that, might be politically correct enough to overcome their fears. But whatever happens, she intends to continue her fight at Queen's Park. Good for her!

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