Author: Tony Trott
Let me explain what happened to me recently: Sheri and I had been out with friends one evening this past week and when I was entering the crosswalk (with the signal) to cross the street in front of the building where we live, a person made a right-on-red without stopping. I don’t know why she did this; maybe she was trying to save a little time, but that did not occur.
I, like many other wheelchair and scooter users, stop and look warily before crossing the street at certain intersections. It is sad to say that I almost expect a driver to not be paying attention, and in this case, I’m very glad that is my practice. As the driver zoomed to make a right turn, I was able to stop in time to prevent what could have been a serious accident! As it was, the driver, who was not paying attention to her surroundings, made a very tight turn and her car sideswiped the front of my scooter. The driver did pull over and was very shaken up (as she should be). Sheri took her information, including cell phone and email address. In retrospect, we should’ve taken a picture of her license plate and maybe even filed a police report. But she said she would reimburse me for whatever damage occurred, so hopefully we will have a positive resolution of the matter.
My scooter didn’t tip at all and I wasn’t hurt or even extremely shaken from this incident. However, my scooter did not fare as well. Something in the steering column is not working correctly and the front wheel will not turn. Luckily, Sheri and I were with friends, because I needed help to physically turn the front of the scooter so I could get home. I had to maneuver into and out of the elevator and then into the front door of our condo. Without assistance from individuals who could lift the front of the scooter and manually point it where it should go, I would’ve been stuck outside and Sheri would have had to go get help.
I do own a manual wheelchair, which I use in our condo, so it’s not like I’m stuck on the couch or in bed until the scooter gets fixed. However, my life is adversely impacted. I need my scooter to do most things out of the house; for instance I am not able to attend a Georgetown basketball game this weekend, I have to miss time at the gym (exercise is my form of treatment for my type of cancer B-Cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma), and, I had to cancel a medical appointment. And meanwhile, depending on how long it takes to get the necessary parts and how complicated the fix is, I can’t plan in advance and need to come up with alternatives for getting places in my manual chair if there is someplace out of the house that I need to be, like an upcoming family gathering. Sheri and I would likely go to this event by Metro, but if I don’t have my scooter fixed we will have to arrange a ride. Not the end of the world, but still annoying.
So, while I am not trying to imply that there is any way for us to know what all the ramifications of our actions will be, or the result of actions by others, it’s a pretty safe bet that there will be some unknown ones. While I wait to hear how long it will take to get the parts to fix my scooter and how much it will cost, I’m focusing on the reality that you can’t control everything in life, and as they say, sometimes you have to just roll with the punches. So let’s all just try to keep that in mind, and, for God’s sake, slow down and be aware of your surroundings when driving and making a right-on-red!