Duane Petrus – Wheelchairs can be fun too.
Paraplegic Afrikaans singer, Mathys Roets, exhibited two state of the art wheelchairs to disabled students and staff at the University of the Free State’s Bloemfontein campus today.
The Segfree is a scooter typically used by security and car guards at malls, which has been modified to fit the needs of wheelchair riders.
The front and back movement of this wheelchair is determined by the direction in which the rider tilts his or her body.
If the rider tilts forward, it will move forward and accelerates with a further lean in the same direction.
Leaning backwards will bring the wheelchair to a halt, and reverse.
Roets says this type of wheelchair can be used daily and will make the lives of its users much easier in many ways.
It costs R125 000 to modify this wheelchair.
He says the Scootfree, which has a Harley Davidson-type resemblance, is more used for fun, and it can reach speeds of up to 30 km/h.
“The Segfree is unfortunately expensive, but it can change the lives of people with limited mobility. The Scootfree, on the other hand, is just a normal little scooter that the kids can also use, and we try to keep this as cheap as possible, because it can’t replace your wheelchair, it’s just fun,” Roets says.
Lize Botha, from the Unit for Students with Disabilities, took both for a ride. She says, because she drives her car, she does not really need either of the wheelchairs, although they are both easier to use than her manual wheelchair.
“I feel I must stay physically active, but I really enjoyed riding on both of these wheelchairs,” she says.