DCSIMG

Wheelchairs welcome at Saltisford - bike riders not

Andrew Robson, temporarily disabled cyclist outside Saltisford Canal Centre.

Andrew Robson, temporarily disabled cyclist outside Saltisford Canal Centre.

A temporarily disabled man who has adapted a bicycle to help get him about has lodged a strong complaint against the discrimination he believes he suffered at the Saltisford arm of the Grand Union Canal.

Andrew Robson has his right leg in a fixed splint and has been using an adapted bicycle to get from his job on the Budbrooke industrial estate into the centre of Warwick.

But when he tried to use the towpath last week he was stopped by a Saltisford Canal Trust worker and told he had to get off his bike.

Andrew said: “When I politely explained the reason I was riding my bike I was very rudely told I was not welcome there - even though they said a wheelchair or mobility scooter would be okay.

“I explained I can’t walk and can’t drive so this is my only means of getting around - and I was travelling at four to five miles an hour - far slower than a mobility scooter.”

When the Courier contacted Ian Newman, site manager of the charitable Saltisford Canal Trust, he remembered the incident well and produced a copy of an explanatory letter sent out in response to Mr Robson’s complaint.

Mr Newman said: “This is not a towing path and there is an alternative route alongside our site available for cyclists.

“I had called out to this gentleman several times as he cycled through a group of young scouts staying at the arm. He eventually stopped by the boat turning area adjacent to the office where I advised him that it was against site rules to cycle on our premises as indicated on all signboards.

“This safety rule is because the site is used by many pedestrians, small children playing, dogs on leads and people in wheelchairs using narrow paths beside the water.

“The cyclist not only ignored my request but, about an hour later returned again and cycled through the site.”

Mr Newman, whose wife is a wheelchair user, added: “The gentleman admits he was travelling at four to five miles an hour - far in excess of a disabled person’s wheelchair speed.”

 

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