Some individuals with disabling medical conditions are no longer capable of driving themselves. Others may give up their vehicles even though they could theoretically continue to drive because the cost of maintaining the vehicle is well beyond the benefit derived from having one available.
Many individuals with disabling medical conditions depend on public transportation and rideshare services to get where they need to be. Unfortunately, especially if individuals rely on wheelchairs, crutches or other devices for mobility purposes, there are some unique safety risks that they may face when making use of public transit or rideshare services.
They may not have a place to secure their wheelchair or crutches
Especially in a rideshare vehicle, which could just be a typical car, it may be difficult for an individual to load their wheelchair into the trunk or secure their crutches next to them in the vehicle. Even special storage on buses can be hard to access.
The longer it takes to transition in or out of a vehicle, the more exposure someone has to oncoming traffic and the possibility of getting hit. Additionally, unsecured devices compose a risk of blunt force trauma if they fall or move unexpectedly as the vehicle maneuvers through traffic.
They may have difficulty supporting themselves in the vehicle
Depending on the nature of someone’s condition and the kind of vehicle they ride in, there may not be sufficient support for them to remain safe if the driver has to unexpectedly veer in one direction. Suddenly stopping could also throw someone out of their seat without proper restraints.
This is typically more of a concern in public transit vehicles, but it could also be a risk in a rideshare vehicle with inaccessible or inoperable restraints.
They have difficulty entering and exiting the vehicle
Finding a place for wheelchairs is far from the only challenge a rider with mobility limitations will have when boarding or exiting either a bus or a rideshare vehicle. They may struggle to enter the vehicle and put restraints on without assistance.
Drivers may not offer support, making the passenger feel like they have to handle everything on their own. Rushing to avoid missing the bus or irritating a driver could mean that someone loses their balance and falls, possibly suffering injuries as a result.
Both companies that provide public transit services and rideshare drivers should do their best to accommodate all potential riders, including those with noteworthy limitations on their mobility. Those hurt on public transit or in a rideshare-related incident may have grounds to make a claim against the driver or possibly the company providing the service.
Knowing what steps to take after a rideshare collision or similar incident can help those negatively affected by substandard equipment or negligent driver behaviors.