Kelvin, a paraplegic in Singapore, avoids overcrowded lifts by taking the escalator.
The steps on the escalators are generally very big which isn’t a problem for him. Kelvin balances himself on the big steps by wedging his wheels at a particular angle. Once he gets his wheels secured, he holds on to the handrails, often drawing stares from those around.
“There’s no strength required, it’s just a technique. It’s just a balancing act."
He uses the same method when he goes down the escalator. However, when he goes down the escalator, he turns around to go down backwards before wedging his wheels in the same way.
With all technology, there is a possibility for a glitch to happen. Once, the escalator stopped working when Kelvin was half-way up, but that didn’t mean he was stuck there. “Just let go a little bit…Push your chair down one step at a time,” he says. It will cause a very loud sound as the front of the chair hits against every step but “after one step…people will just come behind you and start holding you back because they don’t want you to do any stunt.”
Another issue a wheelchair user should be wear y of is the condition of the handrails. “Some shopping centres have very old handrails. When you pull, it slides,” shares Kelvin. Be sure to have someone standing behind you as you get the hang of it for safety reasons, until you’re confident enough to do it yourself.
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