Mobility

Adaptations and Modifications

Following a serious injury it may be necessary to use a wheelchair, whether this is due to paralysis, amputation or loss of strength in the legs.

Whilst using a wheelchair can assist in getting you out and about it can also raise issues, such as how do I get the wheelchair into the car or how do I transfer from the wheelchair to the car and vice versa.

It is possible to make adaptations to your car, or motorbike, to enable you to regain a sense of independence and allow you to continue driving or riding.

Got a Question?

Our expert team is on hand to answer any questions you may have regarding our services. Please use the numbers below!

  • Wheelchairs
  • Car
  • Stowage
  • Access
  • Motorbike
  • Driving after a brain injury
  • Wheelchairs

    The type of wheelchair you may use will be very much dependent upon your individual needs.

    Wheelchairs that are available include;

    • Children’s
    • Bespoke (manual)
    • Lightweight folding
    • Off road all terrain
    • Electric wheelchairs

    It may be the case that you have more than one wheelchair to facilitate your lifestyle and hobbies.

    More information on the different types of wheelchairs available and where they can be sourced can be found by clicking on the following link:

    www.theaccessibleplanet.com/a/mobility-fitness/wheelchairs.html#ElectricWheelchairs

  • Car

    Adaptations to cars generally fit into three categories;

    • Driving
    • Stowage
    • Access

    Driving

    In order to be able to operate a motor vehicle after a sustained injury adaptations that may be required include;

    • Hand controls
    • Electronic accelerators
    • Left foot accelerators
    • Pedal modifications
    • Steering aids
    • Remote control devices

    Most driving controls do require an automatic gear box, and this is something that needs to be taken in to consideration when purchasing or adapting a vehicle.

    The majority of changes do allow for the original controls and features to be used, in order that other people are still able to drive the car, if required.

  • Stowage

    Stowage is an important feature to consider when adapting a vehicle.

    You need to be able to access and store your wheelchair or scooter with ease, and without necessarily having assistance from others.

    There are two types of stowage systems;

    • A boot hoist
    • Rooftop stowage unit

    A boot hoist stores your wheelchair or scooter in the boot of your car, of which there are four main types;

    • Mini hoists – used for manual wheelchairs and scooters that weigh up to 40kg
    • Midi hoists – lift and store electric wheelchairs and scooters up to 100kg
    • Maxi hoists – lift and store electric wheelchairs and scooters weighing more than 100kg
    • Platform hoists – this involves the wheelchair or scooter being driven onto a platform which then lifts into the boot

    Rooftop stowage involves a box being fitted to the roof of the car, the hoist, within the box, can be used on either the driver or passenger side.

    The roof box is completely covered and the wheelchair inside is protected from the elements.

  • Access

    Accessing a vehicle from a wheelchair can be difficult, but there a different adaptations that can assist your access.  They include;

    • Permanent swivel seats
    • Wheelchair swivel seats
    • Electric person hoist

    For more information on adaptations and costing please click the following link www.motability.co.uk/cars-and-wavs/adaptations-and-adjustments

  • Motorbike

    After an amputation many bikers will ask the question ‘can I ride again?’ the answer is ‘yes’.

    Modifications and adaptations will be required and will be dependent upon the type of amputation undergone, but they will enable you to get back on your bike.

    Right leg amputation/restricted strength/mobility

    The rear brake control pedal can be transferred to a handlebar-mounted lever, this can be either by a thumb operated lever or a lever mounted in tandem with the front brake lever or clutch lever.

    Left leg amputation/restricted strength/mobility

    The most popular method of adapting the gear change is to use the solenoid operated gear change system (Kliktronic).  This operates the gear change by way of a small pair of buttons which are mounted on the handle bars.

    Right arm amputation, Brachial Plexus lesion, reduced strength/mobility

    Making the relevant adaptions for these injuries is generally fairly simple.  It requires transferring the throttle and front brake to the left side of the handlebar.

    Left arm amputation, Brachial Plexus lesion, reduced strength/mobility

    Those who suffer an injury to their left arm normally only require adaptions to the clutch operating lever and minor changes to the left side switch gear.

    Wheelchair users

    Wheelchair users wishing to ride a motorcycle have the issue of stability to contend with.

    The solution is to add a third wheel, whether it is a motorcycle/sidecar combination or a trike.

    It is possible in cases of motorcycle/sidecar combinations to use a standard bike that is converted to ‘full hand controls’, however there are manufacturers who make specialist units for wheelchair users.

    When using a trike it is preferable to have one custom made that fits the individual needs of the rider.  However, it is possible to adapt and modify second hand trikes to fit the disabled rider.

    For further information on the types of adaptations available follow the link www.nabd.org.uk/adaptions/javaindex.htm

    For details on where you can get your vehicle adapted/modified click below:

    www.mobility-centres.org.uk/New%20Info%20Services/New%20Info%20Driving%20Adaptations.htm

  • Driving after a brain injury

    For those who have suffered a brain injury being able to drive again is a big step in the recovery process.

    However, there are legal implications that those who have suffered an injury and their families should be aware of.

    It is not only serious brain injuries that may affect someone’s ability to drive, those who have sustained a mild brain injury may also be affected.

    If you or your family member have suffered a brain injury you will need to seek advice from the DVLA and possibly undergo a driving assessment.

    Following a brain injury problems that may be experienced and have an affect on your ability to drive include;

    • Reduced concentration/attention
    • Difficulty judging distance/speed
    • Slower thinking/reaction times
    • Difficulty thinking ahead
    • Ability to cope in stressful situations
    • Reduced levels of sensation/co-ordination
    • Altered vision
    • Weakness in limbs

    Any injury, illness or condition that may affect your ability to drive in a safe and proper manner has to be reported to the DVLA, and your insurance company should also be notified.

    Notification should be made to the DVLA in writing to;

    • Drivers Medical Enquiries
    • DVLA
    • Swansea
    • SA99 1TU

    The DVLA will, in due course, contact your GP or consultant, with your permission, and then arrange for you to see an independent doctor from the DVLA.

    Following your attendance with the DVLA’s doctor the DVLA will make one of the following decisions;

    • Withdraw your licence
    • You may be asked to attend a driving test or attend for assessment
    • You may be issued with a disability licence
    • Licence may be valid for a certain time period, after which the DVLA will review the licence
    • Licence may remain

    If you disagree with the decision made you do have the right to appeal.

    If you fail to notify the DVLA of any reasons that may affect your ability to drive you could be fined up to £1,000.

    Assessment

    Following assessment, at your local assessment centre, you will receive information and advice on;

    • Car adaptations
    • Advice on driving, with regards to cognitive or visual impairments
    • Your ability to hold a full or provisional driving licence
    • Equipment for accessing and exiting a vehicle
    • Financial advice
    • Driving instructors for adapted vehicles

    For more information about when and how to notify the DVLA of a medical condition click the following link:

    https://www.gov.uk/driving-medical-conditions