With Winter in Ohio being an unpredictable season, you never know what the weather may bring. This post provides advice, particularly for those with disabilities, on staying safe while navigating the snow and cold temperatures.
People with disabilities who don’t drive primarily rely on sidewalks and other pedestrian rights of way to access their community; therefore, it is important to keep these public thoroughfares clear.
Wheelchairs and other mobility aids can become difficult to navigate on sidewalks, curb ramps, and streets after snow or ice have fallen. For those who have balance issues, or who use a cane or walker, patches of snow and/or ice can be potentially dangerous, as well.
City Snow Removal
Toledo does not have a dedicated snow removal program for sidewalks. Toledo does, however, remove snow on its streets. View more here.
How Do We Make Clear Sidewalks a Reality?
In his article for Forbes entitled, “We Can Do Better On Winter Weather Accessibility”, Andrew Pulrang, a freelance writer with a disability, has some suggestions on how we can make clear sidewalks in the winter a reality:
- Do all we can do personally to clear sidewalks, ramps, and other public pathways.
- Offer to help disabled people shovel out after storms. Even doing it for a reasonable charge can be a lifesaver, especially if its thorough and done in a timely manner.
- Support more proactive sidewalk clearing plans in our own cities and towns.
Keeping bus stop areas clear so that people with disabilities have a safe, accessible spot to wait for the bus is important during winter months. View smart riding tips here.
What Can You Do?
- Dress warmly. Safe winter bus travel begins with warm and visible attire. Since winter road conditions affect all traffic, expecting bus delays means dressing appropriately for the cold. Start with a few layers of warm clothing and don’t forget to wear a hat or hood and gloves. Snow boots are also important for wading through deep snow.
- Be visible. On dark winter mornings and evenings, it’s important that you make yourself visible to an approaching bus. Signal your presence with a small blinker light or flashlight. If you don’t have any reflective gear, wearing light-color clothing is helpful for ensuring drivers can see you.
- Stand back. When your bus arrives, be sure to put some distance between you and the vehicle. Icy roads can lead to slipping wheels, so protect yourself by stepping back from the curb or arrival area and farther into the safe zone of the sidewalk.
- Wait in a cleared place. When weather is heavy, bus stops may be completely covered in snow and ice. If possible, avoid standing knee-deep in snow. Stay comfortable by standing in the nearest cleared area and waving the vehicle down. Rapid bus operators are trained to pick up passengers in driveways or the nearest cleared area during poor weather conditions. Plus, your dry toes will thank you.