ENSURING SAFE ANDACCESSIBLE ROAD TRANSPORTATION FOR THE DISABLED IN LAGOS STATE

For some of us, life is difficult enough.  People with disabilities are the ones who showthe strongest desire to succeed to challenge destiny every day of their lives! Many disabled Nigerians today rely on public transport such as bus, train or taxi. They usually can’t afford a car and are really thankful for these options; but the only problem is that these means of transportation and the barriers on the road are not convenient for their physical defects. Barriers in the environment Include hawkers, bad traffic management and construction at the wrong places. It is entirely not their fault.
            Since Bus stops are located in the centre of the sidewalks, it forces including the disabled to walk on the road along with moving traffic to the extent that they share the same road space as a moving traffic and abandoned vehicles. All these are hazards and hindrances to safe and secure accessibility around the state for the disabled. Other hazards included guardrails at sidewalks with sharp edges and protruding manhole covers in travel paths causing accidental hazards to pedestrians with low vision.  In order to bring these persons into the main stream of development and enable them to make a decent living and contribute to national life, a number of measures should be taken by the state government.
            The very first measure taken is to run an assistance scheme for the physically challenged. The scheme is to create a public awareness that the state government is showing concern for them. A disability right movement should also be established so as to ensure equal opportunities and rights of the disabled people and physical assistance to be rendered in form of mobility aids.
            Secondly, barriers on the road should be eliminated and reduced by providing guard rails at sidewalks and by keeping bus lanes clearly marked. Road sign should be clearly indicated so people with impaired vision can be seeing vividly at all times. Hawkers, abandoned vehicles should be prevented from obstructing sidewalks. There should a reasonable distance from pedestrian lanes and vehicle lanes. This applies to disabled people who manually move around the state.
            Another significant development in developed countries to achieve accessibility is the use of “low floor vehicles”. In a low floor vehicle, access to part or the entire passenger cabin is unobstructed by the presence of steps hereby enabling easier access for the infirm and disabled. The government can establish a Road Transport Authority to assist users of wheelchair with accessible taxis with fixed mobility devices and personnel looking out for them.
            Lastly is the allocation of monetary funds and resources by the federal government to support the established programs and organizations for disabled and promote the wide use of these transport systems for the safety of the physically challenged and country as a whole.
            It is important to not be oblivious of the fact that the disabled have equal social, political and economic life which includes not only environmental accessibility but also access to public facilities and amenities that we all pay for. If all these reasonable measures are taken, a safe, secure and sustainable road transport would be accessible to the disabled in Lagos State.

P.S This piece was initially an essay competion organised in  Lagos State.

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About nafisah

I'm an architecture student by day and natural hair blogger by night. Join me as I share with you the ups and downs of being an student natural living in Lagos.
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