Wheelchair users have rights to the roadways - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Wheelchair users have rights to the roadways

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Wheelchair users have rights to the roadways Wheelchair users have rights to the roadways
Many of the areas he frequents do not have sidewalks or the sidewalks are not handicap accessible. Many of the areas he frequents do not have sidewalks or the sidewalks are not handicap accessible.
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

It may seem like a nuisance to some, but for those confined to a wheelchair getting around on the city streets is a must. Jackson city officials say making all areas handicap accessible is still years away.

In the meantime drivers are asked to watch out for the disabled in wheelchairs whose rights must be respected too.

Clifton Bailey has been wheelchair bound since contracting Polio as an infant.

His daily like of traveling the city to run errands and handle business can be dangerous.

Many of the areas he frequents do not have sidewalks or the sidewalks are not handicap accessible.

"Somebody hit me coming at the light, and I have been thrown out of this chair," said Bailey.

The Delhaven Manor resident uses his motorized chair on Bailey Avenue to go to the grocery store where he said he can't use the sidewalks because there are no entrance or exit cuts.

The 55 year old is asking motorists to slow down and share the roadway.

"I would like them to respect us when they see us out here and on the street," added Bailey.

"As we redo streets we will be putting in curb cuts," said Jackson Americans with Disabilities Act Compliance Coordinator Sam Gleese.

Gleese lost his eyesight in 1979 due to Macular Degeneration and understands the plight of the disabled trying to live normal lives in a large city.

He said Jackson is complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act and submitted a transition plan to the federal government two years ago.

Gleese said the city is working to make all areas handicap accessible.

Current construction projects like Fortification and Capital Streets will have full access when completed.

"Once we start the infrastructure improvements with the water system and things like that a lot of that will be expedited because we'll be tearing up streets and rebuilding streets and resurfacing streets and so therefore those improvements can take place," said the ADA Compliance Coordinator.

According to state law, the wheelchair bound and other physically disabled persons shall have the same rights to the full and free use of the streets, highways, sidewalks and walkways.

But the disabled must also meet regulations when on the roadway like using reflectors, visibility flags and other illuminations on their wheelchairs after sunset.

Bailey says he has also run into hurdles when trying to use public transportation.

"Like that bus right there. Sometimes that lifter doesn't work on that bus," he said while pointing to a JATRAN bus driving past his Albermarle Road home.

"If a citizen can not use a handicap accessible bus I need to know immediately, because that bus will be pulled off and another bus will be substituted in its place and that one repaired," said Gleese.

Officials ask that you report problems with buses or any other issues with handicap accessibility to the Jackson ADA Compliance Office which is located in Metrocenter Mall.

The ADA Compliance Office is a division of the Jackson Department of Human and Cultural Services.

You may reach them by calling 601-960-1863.

Copyright 2013 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

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