New campaign calls for cycles to be recognised as a mobility aid to end the “injustice” disabled people face
Wheels for Wellbeing, an inclusive cycling charity, has launched a new campaign to raise awareness around the barriers to cycling disabled people face and is calling on the Government to class cycles as a mobility aid.
The campaign – My Cycle, My Mobility Aid – aims to improve understanding amongst the public, policymakers and the police that a lot of disabled people use their cycle as a mobility aid, but are often penalised for doing so.
It follows research carried out by Wheels for Wellbeing last year that showed nearly half of disabled cyclists who use their cycle as a mobility aid have been asked to dismount and walk or wheel their cycle, even if difficult or impossible for them to do so. In some instances, says the charity, disabled cyclists have been issued fines or Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) when using their cycle as a mobility aid.
According to the inclusive cycling charity’s latest annual survey, nearly 75 percent of participants said they find cycling easier than walking, with the same proportion using their cycle as a mobility aid.
However, of those who use a cycle as a mobility aid, nearly half had been asked to dismount and walk their cycle in areas where mobility scooters are allowed as cycles are not legally recognised as a mobility aid.
To highlight this “injustice”, Wheels for Wellbeing launched ‘My Cycle, My Mobility Aid’, which aims to raise awareness of the mobility aid concept. Disabled cyclists are being encouraged to take part in a social media campaign, using the hashtag #MyCycleMyMobilityAid, and to send in photos and stories as ways of raising the profile of the issue.
Isabelle Clement, Director of Wheels for Wellbeing, said: “Our research continues to show that most Disabled cyclists find cycling easier than walking, and use their cycle as a mobility aid. However, we are still finding that many Disabled cyclists are being penalised for this.
“This is discriminatory and discourages Disabled people from cycling, leading them to instead rely on mobility scooters or cars to get around – neither of which will help the Government meet its aims on climate change or physical inactivity.
“We are therefore calling on the Government to make changes to legislation so that cycles are recognised as a mobility aid, and put on a par with mobility scooters. Our new campaign will help raise public awareness of an issue whose importance is set to increase as we search for solutions to the physical inactivity and climate crises.”
Founded in 2007, Wheels for Wellbeing is an inclusive cycling charity based in south London.