Sheffield wheelchair user appeals to people to be more considerate during coronavirus lock down

A Sheffield wheelchair user has been left ‘very uncomfortable’ due to pedestrians flouting social distancing rules and passing too closely on the street.

Saturday, 25th April 2020, 4:57 pm
Updated Saturday, 25th April 2020, 4:59 pm
Lottie Bennett hopes people will think twice when passing a wheelchair user on the street.

Lottie Bennett, from Crookesmoor, is appealing to residents in Sheffield to be more mindful of wheelchair users and ensure they keep a two metre gap in public.

It’s after the 31-year-old wheelchair user, who is at high risk of catching the coronavirus due to ongoing health conditions, was left ‘very uncomfortable’ by people passing too closely in the street, while she was walking her dogs.

Lottie has now made a plea on social media for pedestrians to be more aware of how difficult it can be for wheelchair users to move out of the way –particularly when mounting and dismounting high kerbs.

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“I have been thrown into many situations over the past weeks that I've been very uncomfortable with because I can't move out of the way of people passing too closely, and I can't be the only one”, she said in a post on Facebook.

“Most people would be able to choose to step off the kerb or cross the road if they felt uncomfortable being too close but wheelchair/scooter users can't do this.”

While social distancing has been implemented to slow the spread of Covid-19, the 31-year-old expressed how important it is for people to understand the impact this has on those using mobility aids.

“It's not easy to mount/dismount a kerb in a self-propel wheelchair but if there is something to pull yourself up with, and you can tip your chair – depends on centre of gravity of the chair and your core strength - it can be doable.

“In a powerchair or scooter, it's impossible if the kerb is over a certain height and height varies according to the make and model.

“Most wheelchair users have existing health conditions that would put them at severe risk from covid-19 and low down on the treatment priority list.

“We aren't choosing to pass you closely, we have no option - especially scooter users who can't even turn around on the pavement due to their large turning circle.”