Police issue revised wheelchair rules

The Dunkirk Police Department has issued a revised edition of recommendations for the safe operation of Electrically Driven Mobility Assistance Devices.

According to Chief David Ortolano, the changes came about after a meeting with an advocate of the Americans with Disabilities Act where guidelines for safe operation of the powered three-wheeled chairs were discussed.

“In our continuing effort to provide awareness of public safety issues the Dunkirk Police Department met with Sadie Jay Edwards of Directions in Independent Living, who is also an advocate for the Americans with Disabilities Act,” Ortolano explained. “The following is a revised recommendation for operation of Electrically Driven Mobility Assistance Devices. For the safety of operators of these devices please review these recommendations.”

The list starts with visiblity concerns, recommending that operators wear bright colored or reflective clothing when operating from 30 minutes before sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise.

In addition the recommendations state operators should stay along the right hand curb line except when making a left turn, entering a crosswalk or there is a traffic hazard.

Operators should stay in a single file, must yield right of way when entering a roadway and have one hand on the handlebar at all times. There is only one person allowed on the devices and when operating on sidewalks the operator should be aware of pedestrian traffic and share the sidewalk safely with pedestrians.

The devices should only be operated in speed zones of 30 mph or less, operators should follow all vehicle and traffic pedestrian rules if they are disabled and operators 18 years of age or older should report any accident that occurs.

“In issuing these recommendations we encourage all operators to follow these guidelines for safe operation of their Electrically Driven Mobility Assistance Devices,” Ortolano added.

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