By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson
The wheelchair sits perfectly in the motorcycle body. It’s a perfect position for a handicapped driver to take this “hog” out on the open road and feel the wind breezing thru their helmet. Welcome to GoldenBoy Mobility’s adaptive motorcycle for the handicapped. Surprised?
“It used to be 1 in 12 that are injured; now it’s 1 in 5,” according to Ken Jarvis a Lakeside resident and Certified Mobility Consultant for GoldenBoy Mobility of Poway.
GoldenBoy Mobility was exhibiting their 14 vehicles at the 2013 San Diego International Auto Show at the San Diego Convention Center. “This is my 2nd auto show. Last year we had 10,000 square feet and we’re up to 15,000 square feet this year.” explained Jarvis, 42.
“The 1 in 5 includes wounded warriors, injuries from car accidents, and seniors,” Jarvis continued, “This is the future of the car business….adaptive vehicles.”
One of the 2013 cars of the future included a 14” lowered floor on a Toyota Sienna van. The industry standard used to be 11” lowered floors. It presents as a van that has the mid-section gutted and replaced with a whole structure difference to accommodate a wheelchair lift. The 14” floor is better likely to serve tall dads who can be comfortable transporting a child who has a disability or became handicapped from an injury.
Gary Colle, Jr., owner of GoldenBoy, has stories of how his dad, Gary Sr. and Uncle Chris, used to cut up the vans to develop wheelchair access starting around 30 years ago. At Colle’s auto show exhibit was the vehicle handicapped racecar driver, Duane Norman, uses to race in able bodied races. Norman was injured in a race. An accompanying video showcased the view Norman has when racing in his adaptive race car.
Financing for the vehicles? “The V.A. will help out with conversions, out of Court settlements, and Medicare help in some situations” Jarvis said. The vehicles are not inexpensive.
“A copy of the doctor’s prescription to use mobility devices,” this, Jarvis added, is needed as well as a specially marked driver’s license to operate the adaptive vehicles.
Steering knobs, hand operated signals, and adapted gas pedals also come into play among the special needs of handicapped drivers. Addressing one missing foot, single handicaps, stroke victims, and multiple handicaps are some of the levels of disability these drivers have to deal with. Adaptive driving lessons are also necessary.
Jarvis didn’t even have to voice the freedom these vehicles can give to their customers. The company’s slogan is “Go.Be.Live.” and it can be viewed as the perfect phrase not only for the drivers but also their family members. “Go. Be.Live.” in adaptive vehicles.