Monday, February 2, 2009

Disabled ramps are no joke

A COMEDY writer claims poorly-marked wheelchair ramps are no laughing matter.

Wheelchair user Peter Keeley has come a cropper on ramps around Manchester after falling off the edge, leaving him bruised.

Now he wants council bosses to paint warning marks on ramps to make the size and shape clear.

Peter, 24, who wrote hit BBC comedy I'm With Stupid, has cerebral palsy and has used a wheelchair or motorised buggy from an early age.

He travels independently around Manchester on public transportbut says he has had scrapes, falls and near-misses on ramps without railings.

He wrote to council bosses last year after coming off a ramp in Corporation Street, near the Urbis building and bruising his hip.

He has now launched a campaign after a fall outside the Central Library.

Peter, from north Manchester, said: "I was coming out of the library on my buggy and making my way towards the tram stop when I came off.

"The buggy is quite heavy and it nearly threw me to the floor. There are a number of ramps and sloped paths which are indistinguishable from the ground. When you're in a chair or buggy, it's almost impossible to make out where they end.

"All it would take is a lick of paint to make it clearer."

Peter, who is studying English at Manchester Metropolitan University, embarked on his comedy career after winning a script-writing contest organised by the Contact Theatre in Manchester.

His BBC3 comedy, which he co-wrote with established writer Danny Peak, tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a wheelchair user and a homeless man and won rave reviews.

Coun Martin Pagel, the lead member for disability issues, said that the council used raised ridge edging to warn people about ramps following consultations with both blind people and wheelchair users.

He said: "Raised edging strips on ramps should be visible allow people with sight problems to use them.

MENTORING-UK COMMUNITY BLOGS , 2nd February 2009

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