A Tiny Footprint, but a Big Influence

Yesterday the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, finally released the government’s long-awaited plan to reduce the amount of carbon-related pollution we create. I was pleased to be able to reflect how little my own carbon footprint probably is.
One reason for this is that I drive the coolest, most environmentally friendly electric scooter on the planet.

This stylish, sophisticated scooter, called an Afikim, has 14-inch tyres, proper handle-bars like those on a bike, and is black – except for the extensive use of beautiful shiny chrome. Driving down the footpath the scooter turns heads better than any Porsche or Ferrari. It grabbed people’s attention from the very first test-drive.

Once, a man dressed in leathers declared that he wanted to be made disabled just to have the chance to drive one! Great though my wheels are, they do come with the territory, but the chance to make living with a disability even seem appealing can never be passed by!

Just last Saturday, another gent stopped and asked to shake my hand, saying that when he became old and unable to walk, this was exactly the kind of transport he wanted too. So the sense of freedom and normalcy that this machine exudes gives people hope well into the future.

More commonly, I’m stopped by people wanting to know where the scooter came from. They want to know its top speed (a bit over 15 kilometres an hour; I’ve fiddled with it) and how far it goes on one charge (about 40 kilometres, but who wants to be stuck in the middle of nowhere testing that out? Not me) It’s really satisfying when people inquire because someone they know who is ageing or also has a disability would just love a scooter like this one.

This black machine is not my first. Here is is the previous model… and a few new-found friends…

…The lovely lady on my right and her friends were having a Hen’s Night, and had decided to have some fun with the men and their toys at the local Fire Station. I drove by on the way home from the annual International Culture Festival, and these two just couldn’t help themselves!  This was much cooler than any run-of-the-mill fire truck. 

Well-designed, good-looking and durable technology makes the world of difference to the morale, and the joy spreads to others, helping dispel the belief that life with a disability is an existence without happiness. My unique pleasure is in being able to help others to appreciate what they’ve got, and see how a bit of ingenuity could renew their lives or those of others they love.

Such ingenuity is not easily available and, like all machines, it is prone to breaking down occasionally.  A city that welcomed and accepted disability might have dealers for  this kind of scooter technology, and other appliances for people with disabilities on any street corner.  Mainstream companies would be encouraged to cater for us, and so we would not have to hunt around so hard for what we need, what would do us real good.  I await the day with hope…but find pleasure in the current situation, too.

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About Daniel

I am a man with a disability living in Canberra, Australia. I'm passionate about the lives of people with disabilities - our joys, achievements, sorrows and setbacks. I want to encourage the people who support and love us, and stand firmly against obstacles placed in our way that may even threaten our very existence.
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2 Responses to A Tiny Footprint, but a Big Influence

  1. Paul Russell says:

    Great post Daniel. You really are providing all of us with some significant and durable insights. Keep up the good work!

    PS: maybe you should send this one to the Canberra Times?

  2. Rina F. says:

    Very cool ride – specs and everything, the black one you have now must look pretty awesome. I haven’t seen it in my neck of the woods and it seems the only distributor here in the US is in Clovis, CA. I’m not sure how the health insurance policies are in Oz, I wonder what type of provisions the US health insurance carriers (both private and government) have for an obviously, good-quality product . A tiny footprint indeed but a huge step to independence for sure.

    …and it’s a chick magnet – on a Hens Night too ! ;-D

    -Rina F.

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