Have you ever considered what it would be like to get around Los Angeles with a disability? Nita Lelyveld, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, recently spent a day traveling around our city with David Radcliff, a television writer who has cerebral palsy and navigates the streets of Los Angeles in a wheelchair.
Her story of this day is shocking and, frankly, disturbing.
Lelyveld and Radcliff were forced to cross a street where cars enter and exit because the crosswalk was not disability friendly. They had to maneuver around poorly maintained sidewalks, wet floor signs, broken down elevators, and more.
“It’s hard enough as a pedestrian in L.A. to trust that distracted drivers will notice you in a crosswalk, Lelyveld wrote. But imagine not being in a crosswalk and not being at their eye level.”
Society makes it difficult for people with disabilities to take public transportation, move around crowded spaces, and simply operate as most everyone else does.
A Photo Exposes the Need for Change
By the end of the day, Lelyveld’s worst fears were realized when Radcliff attempted to move around an abandoned scooter onto an uprooted sidewalk and fell out of his wheelchair.
As he hit the thick roots under the broken cement, Radcliff tumbled over. Thankfully, he wasn’t injured and many people nearby rushed to his aid.
However, the photo of the incident disturbed many and brought attention to just one of the upsetting difficulties disabled people face every day.
“It made me feel as scraped up inside as if it had happened to me,” Lelyveld wrote. For Radcliff, however, this is a daily danger. He lives with the challenge of moving around the city, as he is often forced into places where his path is blocked or impossible.
According to Lelyveld’s article, Los Angeles has about 9,300 miles of sidewalk. When stretches of our sidewalks are broken, like the one on Jefferson Boulevard where Radcliff’s accident took place, it not only affects the mobility of people with physical disabilities but can also be incredibly dangerous.
You Will All Be Disabled Someday
In an essay on Facebook, Radcliff explained, “We need better sidewalks because this is systemic, not personal. You will all be disabled someday – through age, accident, or illness – and you will then discover how many environments no longer have you in mind. Environment, not disability, is what becomes disabling.”
Disabilities are more prevalent than most people realize. In fact, “for those who are 20 now, the odds of being disabled by retirement age are greater than 1 in 4,” according to the Social Security Administration.
At some point in your life, it is likely that you or someone you know will become disabled in some way. With the number of people living with disabilities, it is vitally important that we, as a society, acknowledge and respect these individuals’ needs.
Our Los Angeles Social Security Disability Lawyers Advocate for Those With Disabilities
At The Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour, our Los Angeles Social Security disability lawyers see the hardships disabled people face every day. Along with the many difficulties these individuals experience on a daily basis, the process of applying for Social Security disability benefits is incredibly challenging.
Our job is to help people living with physical and/or mental disabilities obtain the benefits they need. In addition to our work as a disability law firm, we’re also fierce advocates for making our communities more accessible for everyone. We’re committed to bettering the lives of those with disabilities and we know that, as a community, we can be doing much more.
If you have an idea on how we can make Los Angeles and all of our California communities a better place for everyone, please let us know on our Facebook page.
Additionally, if you or someone you know needs help receiving SSDI and/or SSI benefits, please don’t hesitate to call our office at (800) 803-5090 or fill out our free online case evaluation form. We’re here for you!