“I fell off my mobile scooter because of the narrow pavements”

An elderly woman with a disability wants to be able to use her mobile scooter on the road without any accessibility problems.

Whenever Helen Gauci leaves her house in Ħamrun it’s a hassle and this is because this 71-year-old woman has difficulty walking, apart from breathing problems and having to negotiate a heavy aluminium ramp to get out of the house.

Helen told TVM that the ‘mobile scooter’ was her life because she can live independently with it. Still because of the difficulties she sometimes encounters she is discouraged from getting out.

“It’s a big hassle, I have to deal with that ramp alone which is heavy for me, so far I can manage but when I come to pick it up I have to lift it.”

Helen said that a couple of months ago she fell off the scooter because the pavements were too narrow so she had to walk with her scooter on the road.

When we accompanied her on some streets in Ħamrun, Helen said that she found it difficult because of the potholes in the streets and while mentioning how she was afraid to go out, she said she spent three months locked inside when she fell.

TVM spoke to the Commissioner for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Samatha Pace Gasan about this situation.

She said that every year KNPD analyzes around 4,000 development applications aimed at making these accessible to everyone.

“When we have these complaints we talk to the Councils, even when pavements are old we talk to stakeholders to reach a compromise and meet the interests of other entities.”

Pace Gasan said that the biggest complaints received by the Commission were about accessibility problems and appealed to everyone who designs new buildings or infrastructure projects to see that they are inclusive and suitable for people with disabilities.