Last month we shared the story of activists who spoke out at a TriMet board meeting about their desire to take adult tricycles on light rail cars.
Current TriMet policy allows only two-wheeled bicycles on MAX. Portlander Serenity Ebert, one of the people who testified at the TriMet meeting, uses a trike as a mobility device and she’s pushing the agency to change its policy so that she and others can have the same access as other bicycle users.
Ebert has requested a formal exception based on her condition, but TriMet denied it on the grounds that she can use a walker instead of the trike in order to access MAX. As follow-up to our previous story, I asked TriMet if they would have allowed Ebert’s tricycle if she was unable to use her walker. Here’s the response from agency PIO Tim Becker:[Read more…]
61-year-old Forest Grove resident Chris Billman got a new lease on life when he discovered cycling.
He was born with scoliosis and suffers from a litany of degenerative issues including spinal stenosis and liver disease. He needs a cane to walk, and when he does, his legs can go numb.
But put his feet on pedals and everything changes.
Billman started riding years ago by putting upright “chopper” handlebars on a Schwinn 10-speed — a fine set-up for cruising around the neighborhood. Then in 2015 he invested in a recumbent and everything changed. “I was off and flying!” he told me during a phone call earlier this week in the voice of someone decades younger.
“They wanted to give me drugs, but the bicycle is better than opiates!”
— Chris Billman
“When I get on the bike I’m bent over like a pretzel,” he said. “But after I get on it my back is straight. If I can do that twice a week I’m in good shape. They wanted to give me drugs, but the bicycle is better than opiates!”
In fact they’re not just bicycles, they’re his personal mobility devices as defined by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. Billman is currently the only Oregon resident with a disabled permit decal for his bicycle.
It’s often assumed that cycling is only something that strong and athletic people can do. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Not only do people with all types of different abilities enjoy cycling, they do it on all types of bicycles. But for many of them, the barrier to bicycling isn’t physical, it’s financial.
Now there’s a Portland-based nonprofit that’s putting a dent in that problem by raising money to buy “therapeutic tricycles” for people who are unable to ride two-wheeled bikes.
— Ian Mackay (@iansride2016) August 21, 2016
Very few people would ride 300 miles on a bicycle just to raise awareness for a cause they believe in. Ian Mackay is doing it in his wheelchair. And what is it that he believes in? Better paths and trails so that more people in wheelchairs can get around safely and efficiently.
Mackay started from his hometown of Port Angeles earlier this month and is slated to arrive in Portland (his final destination) on Tuesday.
After taking criticism from local accessibility advocates and from the transportation commissioner’s political challenger, Portland says it’ll fund a discounted rental program for handcycles and trikes.
It seems to be the first such program in the country, though city staff couldn’t say for sure.
The goal is to make it possible for more people with disabilities get access to bicycles, in the same way that most other people will have an option to use Biketown, the publicly backed bike sharing system that launches July 19.