Wheelchair Flags for Safety

Apr 11, 2011
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According to Jeanice Cardens, people who use motorized wheelchairs would stop getting hit by automobiles if they became more noticeable to drivers. 

“It’s very frustrating, seeing these other people riding in the street when they are not supposed to be,” said Cardens. “These chairs are only for sidewalks and crosswalks.”

She began trying to find solutions to this problem after a man was killed on his wheelchair. “This man was crossing Hanford-Armona Road, at night, in the street, and another man driving a truck was turning right and of course didn’t see him and hit and killed him,” she said. “I just don’t understand why you would be so careless and take that risk.”

She is trying to help the wheelchair community reduce the number of accidents that occur by passing out neon orange flags that will attach to the back of a wheelchair.  These flags are from the Kings County Commission on Aging where Jeanice volunteers as a health counselor for the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP).

The flags were all from an anonymous donor says Jeanice. “All anyone has to do is call me and I will take their name, number and address and then send someone to them to help attach their new flag, all for free,”.   She, herself uses a flag on her wheelchair.  In fact, she does not leave home without it.  She has been travelling around her town of Hanford, California working hard at trying to get a law passed to make wheelchair flags mandatory.

“Right now, there are no laws requiring flags for motorized wheelchairs, and I think there should be,” Cardens said.

Currently, wheelchair operators are considered as pedestrians.  After a recent news story by the Hanford Sentinel, a local paper, many wheelchair users began requesting flags from Jeanice to the point where they ran out.  She is asking for donations so her organization can purchase more flags to distribute.  If you would like to donate, please contact Jeanice at the King County Commission of Aging by calling (559) 583-6336.

Author: Melissa



  • http://jouirnal.brokenclay.org/ Katja

    And who in the community is working on getting sidewalks and pedestrian crosswalks in compliance with the (21 year old) ADA, so that it won’t be necessary for wheelchair users to join vehicles in the street in order to go about their daily affairs?

  • Ixilblat007

     I for 1 will never be told to put a flag on my wheelchair. I already have a tough enough time being viewed as an equal without having a childs toy fluttering in the breeze above my head, these flags are also a problem indoors. If anything like this becomes a mandatory law then I will disobey and force the state to punish me.

  • PaulDean

    You’re like the guy who swore he’d never wear a seatbelt in a car when it became law, but once he got used to it he was OK with it. As being viewed as an equal, that boat has sailed. When indoors it simply comes off, no tools needed. Quit being such a baby. It may not look “cool” but it could save your life.

  • bobl07

    Car accidents happen everyday. Any idea that can prevent an accident should always be explored and improved on. Thanks for your comments.