Saturday, September 25, 2010

"Fun, Fun, Fun 'til the Police Take Your Lawnmower Away"

My brother sent me a link to a news story about a man with cerebral palsy who uses -- or rather, did use -- a converted riding lawnmower to get around town. Now the police in his town have prohibited him from using the substitute vehicle on the streets. The town is Camdenton, which is located on the popular vacation destination of Lake of the Ozarks. That means the place is busy, and there's ample reason to worry about vehicle safety. The people suggested that he use a public transport service, one that operates by appointment.

That's fine, of course. But there is the idea that we should be as independent and self-reliant as we can, and that applies whether we have a mobility disability or not.

I ran my power wheelchair on the streets when we lived in a small town. I don't know if it was legal or not. I'd wave at the local police passing in their patrol cars, and none stopped me. And I did foolish things, things that I knew were endangering me as I did them, things like power-chairing home from work in winter darkness in a wheelchair that was mostly black while wearing a dark winter coat. But I did it because it made me independent. By taking to the streets, I needed to wait for no one and no one needed to wait on me.

There's a lot to be said for quiet small towns. Camdenton is anything but quiet, at least from April through October, and logic says the guy and his lawnmower shouldn't be on the street.

But I've done it. And I don't blame him for trying.
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