Brit Jim Starr has been confined to a wheelchair since 1999. For Christmas this year he got a new chair made by TC Mobility that allows him to travel in snow, sand, and even the shore near his house. For someone who loves the outdoors, it was a dream come true—until the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DLVA) declared that the chair was technically a “tank” and would be considered illegal to drive on the streets or sidewalks.
According to Care2, the DLVA says that due to it having treads (like a tank) instead of regular wheels, it could possibly damage the pavement. They say he is welcome to use it on private land, but who wants a $24,000 machine to do doughnuts in the backyard?
Needless to say, Starr is upset:
The whole idea of the chair was that I could go down to the beach with the kids. It is a fantastic machine and can take me anywhere I want to go. It has no limits.
It is ridiculous that I should have found a chair that could help me do all that, then told I could use it, only for the authorities to turn around and say that if I used it on the roads I would be doing something illegal.
I don’t want to use this on roads or pavements, but I have to cross roads and pavements to get to the areas where I can use it.
He has talked with local police who say their major problem is with the wheelchair’s exposed treads damaging the pavement. Starr said he would be more than happy to cover them, but the authorities haven’t budged.