Being resourceful individuals, most wheelers will find a way to get from here to there when they need to, with or without sidewalks, and with or without well lit streets. That’s when things can get scary and very dangerous.
Sorry gang, a wheelchair, powered or manual, is a very small fish in a very dangerous pond once it leaves the relative safety of the sidewalk. Just crossing a street at night in a wheelchair ups the at risk factor ten fold. Every vehicle on the road is a potential wrecking machine, trucks, buses, and even a Volkswagen Bug can easily trash a wheelchair and its user.
Here is a low cost, low labor, and an easy fix for night wheeling safety that doesn’t require a wheelchair technician or dealing with wheelchair industry costs. Remember, this is for purposes of making a wheelchair visible and not for purposes of helping the wheelchair user to see the road ahead.
Knog manufactures extremely versatile lighting solutions for bicycles. Many of their products should work very well on powered and manual wheelchairs, canes, crutches, and walkers.
The Knog Beetle for instance has a clip with stretchy silicone mount that can be clipped to a wheelchair armrest post, push handle, back post, legrest extension post, or controller mounting post and turned in a direction to achieve front, rear, or side visibility.
Since these are made for bicycles, they are water-resistant, superslim, have a flexible silicone body and integrated clipping feature, and quick-release mounting. There is a low warning indicator and these little guys are visible up to 600 meters. Note: They are a safety light only.
- BURN TIME 30 hrs (constant) 220 hrs (flashing)
- DIMENSIONS 45 x 58 x 41 mm or 1.8″ x 2.3″ x 1.6″
- WEIGHT 58 grams including batteries or a bit over 2 ounces
- BATTERY 2 x AAA included
- LED SPECS Super-bright 4 LED light
- LIGHT OUTPUT 60,000 millicandelas
- MODES Red LED: 5 flashing, 1 constant; White LED: 2 flashing, 1 constant
Knog produces many other lighting solutions that look like they may be very suitable for wheelchair use. Products are available at bike shops, online bike accessory suppliers, or even on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=knog+beetle&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=4658030177&ref=pd_sl_54nf44kvn9_b.
You can check all products out at: http://www.knog.com.au/
One of the most common reasons for wheelchair related night accidents is poor visibility. Similar to bicycles, wheelchairs can be really difficult to spot at night. Unlike bicycles, a dimly lit wheelchair profile is not what drivers expect to see at night on a road. A wheelchair is the unexpected oddball, so realization and reaction time of drivers is slowed down. Add to this the fact that a large number of wheelchair users have an affinity for dark colored wheelchairs, wear no reflective devices, and their wheelchairs have neither lighting or reflective stickers (I guess wheelchair manufacturers build chairs only for daytime use), and you have a real accident looking to happen.
Hey, be safe! Light up when roading at night and give some serious consideration to wearing a helmet. It will make your dear old mother very happy.