World’s first motorised TrailRider improves access to nature for all

An innovative all-terrain wheelchair – the TrailRider – is improving access toAustralia’s national parks and special places for people of limited mobility. And in a world first, a motorised version of the chair is being launched at the IUCN World Parks Congress by Parks Victoria.

Until now, it has been very difficult for people in a wheelchair to see some of the most spectacular places in the great outdoors and to enjoy most of the walking trails inAustralia’s parks. But custom-made TrailRiders, featuring one wheel and handles at the front and back for guidance along tracks by sherpas, now means that people in wheelchairs can enjoy these special places.

With the assistance of Dr David Stratton, who is in a speelautomaten wheelchair, Parks Victoria was the first to introduce these chairs into Australia, which are now available in parks and scenic locations across Victoria.

The world first motorised TrailRider wheelchair gives access to even steeper and rougher tracks with relative ease.

“I’ve tested the new motorised TrailRider and I can tell you it makes the sherpas’ job that much easier, making it possible to get into even rougher, more remote and beautiful places,” said Dr Stratton.

TrailRider wheelchairs can be booked from park and local government offices and other locations by people who wish to use them in nearby parks.

Sherpas – the people who guide and steer the chair – can either be family or friends of the person in the chair, or volunteers who receive training and wish to help others enjoy the great outdoors.

“These TrailRiders are just one of the ways thatVictoriais improving access to national parks and other great places. The joy I felt when I got back out into the wilderness after so many years of not being able to enjoy that pleasure was almost indescribable,” said Dr Stratton.

Parks Victoria’s Chief Executive Dr Bill Jackson said Healthy Parks Healthy People programs are helping to improve park access for all. 

“With the great help of Dr Stratton, this program has resulted in 10 TrailRider wheelchairs being provided in parks across Victoria.  Many of the TrailRider wheelchairs were purchased with local government and other partners, and have helped to make major improvements in the quality of life for many people.”

Dr Stratton said: “”Wheelies” in Victoria also now have the pleasure of being able to get down into the majestic Buchan Caves in a stairclimber wheelchair, or out onto the beach at Wilson’s Promontory National Park in a beach wheelchair, as well as find out information on park accessibility from Parks Victoria’s website or stay in disabled friendly accommodation”.

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