It was encouraging to see the blue badge scheme for disabled parkers being extended last week.
For the first time, people with hidden disabilities such as dementia and anxiety disorders, can qualify for the parking permit scheme, the government has confirmed.
This positive news was tempered by a separate report which suggests councils are not prepared for the increase in blue badge holders.
Research by confused.com shows there are an average of 30 blue badge holders per council-owned parking space; and few local authorities have plans to create more spaces.
If there is indeed an impending shortage of disabled parking bays, then councils should certainly address this – especially if it prevents people with disabilities from getting out and about.
Lack of parking availability is not the only barrier to independence on the road for people with disabilities, however.
Another major hindrance faced is the logistical challenge of bringing mobility scooters and powerchairs along on road journeys.
People who require such equipment must transport it in a vehicle if they are going further afield than their local area.
In most cases, this means putting it in back of a car or van – usually taking up boot space plus all or most of the rear passenger seats. There may also be weight issues to consider, and a complicated process involving ramps and harnesses to get it into the vehicle.
As a result, journeys with family and loved ones in one vehicle are virtually impossible.
This means none of the type of day trips many grandparents, parents and kids would have shared during this recent bank holiday, for example.
In most cars, seating will only be available for the driver and front passenger with a mobility scooter or powerchair on board.
Also, where do the day trip essentials like picnics, wellies, blankets, buckets, spades and foldable chairs go?
At TriLift UK we believe the solution to this widespread problem lies outside of the vehicle.
Our product enables the scooter/powerchair to be simply driven to the rear of the vehicle and coupled to a bracket which is permanently fixed to the device. Via a switch, the device is then raised off the ground and locked securely in place on the rear of the vehicle.
Meanwhile, its small size and low weight make it compatible with most vehicles currently available in the UK, without affecting the safe or legal operation of the vehicle.
It can also be transferred should the user change their vehicle; and can be used with any size of scooter or powerchair.
If TriLift will not be used for a prolonged period, it can also be easily removed from the vehicle for storage.
Users no longer have to rely on their partners or children to go wherever they want. But also, they can take their grandchildren or other family members with them, because of the extra room in their vehicle.
As I’ve seen at close-hand in the years since I brought this innovation to the UK from the US, this clever piece of engineering can truly give individuals total independence on the open road.
Ray Lartey is managing director of TriLift UK and has worked in the mobility industry for more than 20 years. TriLift UK is the Sole Distributor of this worldwide patent product in the UK and Europe. It has Mobility outlets and technicians located across the country. Interested parties can also book a free no obligation demonstration at home. For more information visit www.trilift.co.uk or call 0800 246 5901.