Crossing roads used to be so easy. You have a yellow stripe, the so-called zebra crossing, and that is where you do it: no problem. At least it never used to be a problem before I had a wheelchair. as far as the traffic is concerned, that is the less of the worries. Car drivers, motobikes and bicycles are very well mannered. If they see a wheelchair coming they begin to stop before you even cross the road. This is wonderful, although there are times when I do not enjoy being the centre of attention when performing this part of the journey.
When the local government re-constructed this part of our neighbouring road they did a wonderful job. The cars had a smooth surface to ride on, the barriers for the train were placed perfectly, so what could possibly happen. They forgot perhaps that not everyone walks across the road. I approach this particular crossing with care. The first bone shaking bump is going down the kerb. Of course the car is patiently waiting and watching, being careful of the wheelchair rider. And so I approach the bit in the middle for a rest under the eyes of the watchful car drivers. The first part of going down the kerb is not so bad, because it is a little sloped. Unforunately they forgot to repeat the slope in the island in the middle.
With luck you reach the island safe, and now have the eyes of the motorists on you on both sides of the road. Honestly speaking I would prefer to just wheel round this island in the middle to get to the bump upwards on the next pavement on the other side. Of course you do not, it is not allowed, you have left the safety of the crossing and if you get killed in an accident on the way across the road it is your own fault and no-one pays for the funeral, except for your own family, although at that point you do not really care. And so you battle with more shakes and rock and roll to get to the other side.
Just a few minutes along the road there is the next crossing. This is my favourite and less death defying. You wheel along the path at the side of the rail tracks, usually on your own, with perhaps an occasional biker on the way and get to the part where you cross the road. There are no unexpected bumps at the kerb, even the island in the middle is easy peasy and crossing the rails is accompanied with just a gentle stir, no shaking. It is perfect for a beginner in a wheelchair. You reach the other side with no embarrassing thoughts about “are they looking at me” because even the car drivers do not have an impulse to set up a speed record on this part. We are all taking it easy, and sometimes everyone stops for the train crossing. When I complete this part I am already on my way on the entrance path to the local cemetery, so what could be better.
It is all a question of navigation. Yes, I am the perfect wheelchair driver and even have it all documented on my computer drive in my photo album.