Where to Go for Easily Accessible Outdoor Holiday Fun

By guest blogger Roberta Rosenberg of Destination Accessible US Inc.

Although I can hardly believe it, Holiday Season 2021 has arrived. It seems to me it was just Labor Day, not Thanksgiving! No matter what I believe, it is here.

Many of us have returned to indoor activities and some of us are still hesitant about being inside. If you are not inclined to be indoors, know that there are places to go on Long Island and in New York City, and ways to enjoy the holidays that offer easy accessibility.

One of the easiest ways to experience the season is with a “drive-through or drive-by” of one of the holiday light shows. All you need to do is get into a vehicle and go! (Although in most cases you need to secure tickets in advance). Jones Beach has “The Magic of Lights.”  “A Bug’s Night” is at the Nassau County Museum of Art. The town of Riverhead has a Holiday Light Show, as do the Girls Scouts, in Smith Point Park.

If you can manage it, Milleridge Village has a lovely holiday village, complete with shops and Santa. Although there are bricks underfoot, it is quite accessible.

Two of our favorite, easily accessible places any time of the year are the Brooklyn Botanical and the New York Botanical Gardens. Both have holiday lights. The New York Botanical Gardens also has their wonderful holiday train show, which is indoors.

Harbor Front Park in Port Jefferson is easily accessible and always lovely. From here it is easy to move through town, with its shops, restaurants and festive decorations.

If you don’t need the holiday decorations, but want a beautiful, easily accessible outdoor place to take in the view, you can’t go wrong with any of the following: Sunken Meadow State Park Boardwalk (with a view of Long Island Sound), Theodore Roosevelt Park (with a view of Oyster Bay Harbor), Heckscher Park in Huntington, or the Long Beach Boardwalk (with a view of the Atlantic Ocean).

If you are going into Manhattan, check out its newest accessible park, Little Island, overlooking the Hudson River. You can’t go wrong with any of these things to do as part of a fun holiday season. Best wishes to you and your family for a Happy Holiday and New Year!

If you want the accessibility details of any of the above venues please visit, www.destinationaccessible.org, so you can, “Know before you go!” We always suggest also visiting a venue’s website for very up-to-date information, such as pricing, hours open, etc.


How Do I Winterize My Wheelchair Van?

Preparing your vehicle for the winter season is especially important if you drive an accessible van. Here are the important things to do to winterize your vehicle so it will reliably handle the colder temperatures and keep you safe on the road, straight from the expert mobility technicians at Bussani Mobility:

  • Check the Battery

The batteries in accessible vans have the added duties of powering lifts, ramps, and doors, in addition to the engine. Make sure the battery is fully charged before the cold weather hits so that you always have enough power to securely get to and from your destination.

  • Check Tire Pressure and Treads

Your tires form a critical bond between the vehicle and the road. Make sure you have tires that can handle the snow and that you regularly have the tire pressure checked. Because if the treads are worn down, the van could lose traction and not stop as quickly. Underinflated tires can also cause problems with vehicle stability, cornering, and stopping. This is easy to avoid, just have the tires checked every few months.

  • Replace Old Wipers

The best practice is to replace your vehicle’s wiper blades every six months or when you notice a change in their effectiveness. It’s one of the easiest ways to keep your vehicle safe to operate in the winter.

  • Keep It Clean

Salt on the roadways melts hazardous snow and ice, but it also can corrode various parts of vehicles, including the exhaust and muffler systems and the frame. You can protect your van by keeping it clean and preventing corrosive buildup.

  • Replace and Refill Fluids

Your van’s engine relies on antifreeze to protect it from the harsh environment of freezing temperatures during the winter. It is imperative to have the engine checked to be sure that fresh, high-quality coolant has been added and that all fluids are full. It’s also a great time to check the windshield wiper fluid; a good choice is a fluid that contains both alcohol and antifreeze to resist the cold.

  • Be Careful Where You Park

A vehicle with a lower clearance, like an accessible van, can more easily get hung up on frozen snow drifts and become damaged if driven through hard packed snow. Try to park in a garage or on a cleared flat surface like a driveway so that you can operate the vehicle free of obstruction.

If you’d rather let someone else perform the winterizing check for you, stop by any of the Bussani Mobility locations (Bethpage and Smithtown on Long Island, and Mamaroneck in Westchester County). The certified technicians in our full-service auto shops will take care of routine maintenance on your mobility equipment as well as all of your vehicle’s standard needs. We’re here to help. 

3 Things You Need to Know About Scooter & Wheelchair Lifts

In the U.S., there are about 1.7 million people who use a wheelchair or scooter in order to have mobility in their daily life. And close to 80% of that group says they either use a public transportation network without a lift, or they have access to one but it’s tedious to operate. Another option, and perhaps a better one, is to have a lift installed on your own vehicle.

If you decide to go with the latter route, here are three things you should know before buying a scooter or wheelchair lift.

1. How Does a Scooter or Wheelchair Lift Work?

Each type of lift operates a bit differently. For instance, a platform lift, which is the easiest type to operate, involves driving the scooter or wheelchair onto the platform, securing it in place, and then raising it up and into the vehicle via a motorized system. A platform lift can be operated easily but it consumes a lot of space.

Other types of lifts include crane-style and hitch-style, each one having its own pros and cons. Hitch-style scooter lifts, for instance, involve a more complex installation, with specialized wiring and vehicle capacity requirements, but they easily accommodate the newer power wheelchairs and scooters.

2. Is the Lift Compatible With Your Car?

Not all lifts are compatible with all cars, SUVs or vans. The lift should always be installed by a mobility technician who thoroughly understands the requirements of the lift and how the attachment point connects the lift securely to your vehicle. This way, you can ensure your own safety or the safety of your loved one. 

In addition to lifts, there are other mobility products available, such as transfer seats and various driving aids to assist in personal transportation. A mobility specialist, working with a driver rehabilitation specialist when needed, can help you determine the best fit for your needs and your vehicle.

3. Are Lift Costs Covered by Your Health Insurance Provider?

The team at Bussani Mobility works day in and day out with health insurance providers on behalf of our customers. We’ll help guide you in understanding what your healthcare plan will cover for both the product and the installation fees. Typically, these expenses are covered for people living with a disability, as they are a necessity in order to remain mobile in daily life.

Whether it’s a scooter or wheelchair lift that you need, a new or pre-owned wheelchair accessible vehicle, or an update on driving aids, we’re here to help you find the best mobility solution for you. We understand that mobility equals independence for many people. Call us or visit any of our three locations (Bethpage and Smithtown on Long Island, and Mamaroneck in Westchester County) to learn more.

Everyday Quiet Heroes: A Story of Resilience, Art & Health

“Our society is celebrity driven. What is often overlooked are the quiet everyday heroes who work day-in and day-out, extending their fullest humanity to others in need, and these are the stories that need to be told. That’s what makes the world a better place.”

Reji Mathew, PhD, LCSW, said so well what many of us have been feeling these days, especially after nearly two years of unrelenting stress brought on by the global pandemic. As restrictions now finally begin to ease, we’re collectively at a critical crossroad: Will we each simply return to that same old life we had before or will we thoughtfully use this interruption of the mundane to perhaps change course for a more fulfilling future for ourselves and our communities?

People who contemplate questions such as these, and live exemplary lives, are the shining examples to us all. Enter Reji, a professor and mental health educator at NYU in New York City, an integrative social work psychotherapist, an expressive arts advocate, a digital artist, and a narrative journalist. Her work expands minds and opens hearts, as she focuses on human-interest issues that address health recovery, the arts, and resiliency. She’s someone who truly makes a difference in our world. Let’s get to know her a bit better…

Transitioning in the Shadow of Trauma

We were fortunate to meet Reji when she came to Bussani Mobility recently needing help with an accessible vehicle. She has had a neuromuscular disability since childhood. She had been driving for about 20 years using hand controls in her vehicle. As her condition progressed, she transitioned to a motorized wheelchair and found herself suddenly needing a fully adapted van.

“People typically go through these transitions in the shadow of a traumatic event or medical change, unless they were disabled from childhood,” Reji said. “When my condition progressed, I had to transition to a wheelchair overnight. The abrupt transition left me with only the option of taking a wheelchair transport service from Rockland County to and from campus in New York City, which I could only afford a few times a year. I was fully ambulatory in the city, but did not have the same independence in Rockland. Because my van was not adapted, I didn’t have my own independence anymore.”

Now, Reji drives a 2020 Honda Odyssey with adaptations. She purchased the van, and the technicians at Bussani Mobility’s auto shop implemented a full conversion, installed a wheelchair ramp, and fitted her with advanced hand controls.

Reji drives her Menox hand-controlled, adapted van to the bus stop in Rockland County and takes the bus to New York City. Driving from Rockland all the way to the NYU campus and back is too demanding for her, so this is the solution that works best.

“Not only can I travel back and forth to campus, but I also have my independence back in the county, and my independent life has been restored,” Reji said.

It Takes a Village

When Reji realized that she suddenly needed an adaptive van, she was distraught because she did not have the finances to purchase a fully loaded van. She explained: “Bussani came to the rescue. From the moment I called, I received exceptional care and mobility guidance. Jordan [a mobility specialist] explained the whole process, how to get funding, and how other customers found solutions in similar circumstances like mine.

“Funding took a village; I had to take another teaching job, and got partial funding through ACCES-VR, held a small fundraiser through my art, and it all came together. I would not have known how to tackle the financial challenges of van mobility adaption without the framework Jordan took the time to review with me on how to approach this.

“Once the van came in, the Bussani Mobility team brought me back and forth to the mobility center five different times to adapt the van, make changes to the ramp, and tweak the hand controls. This process of tweaking the mobility equipment to your level of ability is critical, especially when it comes to neuromuscular weakness. Safety was key to them, and I felt so cared for and supported and was amazed with the level of experience of the mobility technicians.”

Reji really made our day when she told us that she “had never worked with a place where I was treated with such humanity, where they heard my story, cared, made the commitment, and solved all the problems that arose. Through the whole process, I had to pinch myself, since I was not used to receiving such exceptional care. Unfortunately, when you have been a person with long-term health care needs, engaging with ‘the system’ is so challenging. Bussani Mobility of Westchester is a model of exceptional care for the disability community. To know that I will have the center, and it will be a reliable life-long relationship, is such a relief. I am so grateful.”

Reji said that we are quiet everyday heroes. And we are so moved by her words. But what we most want her to know is that, to us, she is the everyday hero, so generously offering her gifts, words, kindness, and inspiration to others as a teacher, activist and artist. 

When we asked Reji what advice she had for other people who are living with a physical disability and may need driver rehabilitation services, she said: “Know that this transition is a process, and it does take a village. Build relationships with people that leave you feeling safe and respected. Trust yourself. Ask yourself, ‘Am I being treated with the respect and dignity I deserve?’”

Live Out Your Potential

Another of the central concepts in Reji’s life work is accessing the arts as a multi-sensory processing tool for problem-solving, self-expansion, and personal growth. Expressive art therapies help use the arts as a basis for discovery and change.

Some of Reji’s digital art, a multi-sensory processing tool she uses for problem-solving, self-expansion, and personal growth.

She shared: “Everyone in society gains when each person finds their place and lives out their full potential. We are all meant to be equal and contributing members of society. Now that I’m back to having mobility, I am able to contribute fully to my community. And accessibility is a critical part of a framework of universal design.”

When we think of the people that Reji touches in her daily work, we’re proud that we played a part in helping her solve her mobility challenges and live an independent life. We say back to you, Reji, “100 thanks” for all you do.

To find out more about Reji’s artivism (where art and activism meet) – and to experience her digital artwork, expressive arts workshops, and writings –  visit her website at http://www.rejimathewphd-writer.com/about.html.


What Is an Accessible Van?

Accessible vehicles have come a long way since they first became available for personal use about 50 years ago. Bussani Mobility knows all about it, because we’ve been involved since the dawn of the modern mobility vehicle. 

We’re here to help you understand that the right mobility equipment can support you to move about your life with more independence and freedom. The features of today’s accessible vehicles bring you style, comfort, and ease ─ and your own way to transport yourself or your loved one with a physical disability to take care of everyday tasks, go to doctor’s appointments, enjoy family events, spend time with friends, or go on vacation. 

Here’s what goes into the making of an accessible van…

Ramps for Easy Entry and Exit

There are a few types of ramps to choose from, and each has its own advantages. The most popular side-entry ramps are positioned on the side of the vehicle, allowing passengers to safely enter and exit the vehicle from the side. Rear-entry ramps give you the ability to park just about anywhere, without requiring extra space on the side for getting in and out of your vehicle. Manual-entry wheelchair ramps (which are not automated) are not used as often as side- or rear-entry ramps, but their main appeal is that they are generally less expensive.

Room for Family and Friends

Accessible vans have higher roofs and larger door openings to allow the needed space for a person to wheel in and out and sit comfortably while remaining in their manual wheelchair, power wheelchair, or scooter. Removable seats also allow you to change the configuration of the van inside, so the person using the wheelchair can sit in the back, the passenger side, or in the driver’s seat. And, there’s plenty of room for your friends and family to join you.

Transfer Seats

Whether you’re driving or riding, an automated transfer seat is another option to help the person using the wheelchair to safely get in and out of the vehicle. They no longer need to rely on someone else to lift them from their wheelchair or scooter into the seat and vice versa. It’s also very helpful for a senior using a walker. This provides another level of independence when needed.

Restraint and Docking Systems

Every reliable accessible vehicle has a good restraint and docking system (also called tie-downs) that keeps the wheelchair from shifting while the van is in motion. Certain designs allow you to secure yourself from your wheelchair on your own.

Driving Aids

If the person using the wheelchair will be the driver, we further customize your vehicle as needed to fulfill your exact needs. Driving aids can include hand controls, foot controls, steering aids, and high-tech driving controls.

Wheelchair and Scooter Lifts

Lifts can also be used to conveniently raise and store your personal mobility device (manual folding chair, wheelchair, power chair, or travel scooter) inside your vehicle at the touch of a button. For a smaller car, a lift can store the mobility device outside at the back or on top of the vehicle.

Little Luxuries

Many accessible vehicles are available with all of the little luxuries found in top-of-the-line standard vehicles, including theater sound packages, deluxe lighting, sound deadening, privacy shades, and more for your comfort.

Larger Size, More Variety

The most popular mobility vehicles today are minivans manufactured by Toyota, Honda, Chrysler, and Dodge. The latest accessible SUV from Ford, the Traverse, is also getting a lot of attention. But sometimes you need a larger vehicle with more interior passenger and cargo space, larger entry points, and all the amenities found in luxury vehicles ─  and that’s when it’s time to go with a full-size accessible van from Ford, Dodge or Mercedes. If none of these options fit the bill, the team at Bussani Mobility can convert any car, van or truck into a mobility vehicle for you, even a sports car if that’s what you want.

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to buying an accessible vehicle. And it’s not only about the vehicle itself. You’ll also be making important decisions about funding, financing, and insurance. The mobility specialists at Bussani Mobility can help you find the right vehicle for your needs and budget. We also provide maintenance services and rental vehicles. If you’re new to the mobility vehicle market, or you’ve been around for a while but you want to know about the latest-and-greatest developments, call, click or stop by to see us. 

Bussani Mobility-funding-sources-wheelchair-van

Best Funding Sources for Wheelchair Vans

The Most Convenient Ways to Acquire Funds for a Wheelchair Van

If you need an accessible van for yourself or someone you know with a disability, you don’t have to worry about trying to cover the costs alone. Our mobility specialists can help you get financial assistance as you’re planning to purchase a wheelchair van.

State Grants

Different states have different grant programs for people with disabilities looking for a mobility vehicle. New York organizations that award disability grants include the New York DDPC, ACCES-VR, the OTDA, as well as others. We’ll help guide you to the right one for your situation.

Veterans Affairs Auto Assistance Program

The Veterans Affairs Auto Assistance Program was created for former military service members. If you qualify for a one-time grant, you could get up to $20,000 for a wheelchair van. This valuable grant covers installation, replacement, and repair costs. To learn more, contact a regional VA medical center.

PASS Program

Those on Social Security Disability Income (SSI) can and should take advantage of the PASS Program. The PASS Program stands for Plan to Achieve Self Success. This organization is designed to provide resources to help individuals reach a predetermined goal. An example might include setting a goal to buy a mobility vehicle for transportation to work or school. Through the program, the car payment would be paid every month.

Special Financing

At Bussani Mobility, we offer financing options for our accessible vehicle fleet. There are options available for people with various levels of credit. Reach out to us to learn more.

The Special Kids Fund

The Special Kids Fund helps families with a disabled child get an accessible van. However, there are very strict requirements. You are eligible if you can prove that: 1) You have no other way to buy a mobility van; 2) You have insurance; 3) You have no driving violations; and 4) You can legally register a mobility van. If you meet these requirements, you can fill out an application at specialkidsfund.org.

Thanks to state programs, government funds, charitable organizations, and special financing options, you can afford a wheelchair van. If you want to finance an accessible minivan, a full-size mobility vehicle, an accessible SUV, or a wheelchair lift, the mobility specialists at Bussani Mobility can help.

Accessible Vehicle

9 Things to Put in Your Accessible Vehicle Emergency Kit

Emergencies can occur at any time, and there is nothing worse than being unprepared in a time of need. Put yourself in a better position now by creating an emergency vehicle kit for your accessible vehicle. Be sure to include these essentials in case of an emergency.

1. Flashlight

If you experience an emergency at night or on a stormy day, you’ll want ample light to guide you through the situation. You can use a flashlight to flag down passing vehicles or locate important materials like a map or spare tire.

2. Toolbox or Multi-Tool

Be sure to include scissors, a screwdriver, pliers, and a wrench. Consider investing in a multi-tool, which will allow you to have access to multiple tools within the one small device. 

3. First Aid Kit

Make sure your first aid kit has bandages, gauze, antibiotic cream, and any essential prescriptions. 

4. Vehicle Escape Tool

Place a vehicle escape hammer and a box cutter (to cut the seat belt) within arm’s reach of your transfer seat or wheelchair.

5. Bottled Water and Snacks

When you’re stuck in an emergency for an undetermined amount of time, it is essential to stay hydrated, so keep a 12-pack of water in your vehicle, just in case. And a few protein bars to munch on as needed.

6. Jumper Cables

Always keep a pair of jumper cables in your vehicle. Consider purchasing a jump starter box, which will allow you to jump your vehicle’s battery if there are no other vehicles nearby.

7. Cold-Weather Gear

If you live in a region where it snows, you’ll want to keep extra blankets, jackets, and gloves on hand to avoid potential hypothermia. Hand warmers are also a great option for your emergency kit.

8. Carjack, Lug Wrench, and Spare Tire

Keep the needed tools on hand with instructions for changing a tire. If you’re not able to change it yourself, perhaps a passenger with you or a good samaritan who passes by can help out.

9. Compass and Map

You cannot always rely on technology to get instant directions. What if your vehicle stops running or your cell phone battery dies? You’ll need a physical, paper map to orient yourself and find help.

Keep these nine essential items in your accessible vehicle emergency kit so that you can be prepared and safe no matter what happens on the road. And remember that Bussani Mobility provides our customers with a 24/7 emergency service by calling 866-524-8267. Even if our auto shops are closed, we’ll get help to you when you need it out on the road. Travel safe!

Accessible Vehicles

7 Things You Need to Know About Warranties on Accessible Vehicles

When you purchase any kind of vehicle, it’s important to make sure that you have good warranty protection, which can also be called an extended service contract. At Bussani Mobility, we believe this is especially true for accessible vehicles. Here’s what you should know when you’re looking for accessible vehicle warranties.

1. What Does a Warranty Do?

Warranties protect you from unexpected expenses if your vehicle needs replacement parts or other major repairs. There are different levels of coverage available. It’s easy to purchase a warranty through your mobility dealer, and they’ll make sure that you get the best warranty to meet your needs.

2. Do I Need More Than a Standard Warranty?

The standard warranties cover the vehicle but usually not the mobility components of the vehicle. We typically recommend that you consider purchasing a mobility warranty.

3. What Do Mobility Warranties Cover?

This type of vehicle service contract is a good idea for a wheelchair van because it covers the original vehicle equipment as well as all of the mobility components. It will also help you with roadside assistance and rental vehicles while your vehicle is being repaired to make sure you get back on the road as soon as possible. 

Although some of these options are also offered by some OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) warranties, they don’t include the mobility conversion. With a standard warranty, for instance, the rental coverage of a standard warranty typically won’t cover an accessible vehicle rental.

As is the case with standard warranties, mobility warranties have limits, generally three years and 36,000 miles.

4. Why Should I Get a Mobility Dealer Warranty?

One benefit of a mobility warranty is the peace of mind. Knowing that your conversion vehicle’s most important components are covered by your warranty is reassuring. 

By having one in place that helps cover repair work, replacement parts, and the cost of labor, you won’t have to worry about having to pay bills for unforeseen repairs all on your own.

Mobility warranties are also relatively easy to finance, as most of them can be paid through a payment plan.

5. Which Vehicles are Eligible?

Most manufacturers offer warranties on new models. Generally speaking, manufacturers consider a vehicle to be new if it has less than 50,000 miles and it is less than four years old. Before purchasing a warranty, always check the accompanying terms and conditions.

6. Do Warranties Expire?

Yes, the warranty on your conversion vehicle will expire. There is usually a limit on vehicle age or number of miles that dictates when a warranty expires. For instance, you may add a warranty that covers 10 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Be aware that you can buy a mobility warranty at the end of the standard OEM warranty, but the price will be higher as the vehicle gets older and closer to the factory warranty expiration date.

7. What to Do When a Warranty Expires

If your vehicle warranty expires, you still have other options. Since an accessible vehicle has many moving parts and added components, it is a good idea to invest in an extended warranty.

A mobility specialist at Bussani Mobility will happily provide additional information on warranties, to help you decide what’s best for you and your vehicle. Feel free to contact our team for answers to all of your accessible vehicle questions.

Service Tips for Accessible Vehicles

Did you know there are specific things you need to do to keep your accessible vehicle running smoothly? What are they and how often should you do them?

We have all the answers, and we’ll take you a tour of Bussani Mobility’s auto shop to learn why regular maintenance is so important. It ensures trouble-free conversion operation of an accessible vehicle, and it can increase the life of the vehicle. We look closely at mobility ramps and doors…talk about electrical and cooling systems…tell you what happens during a multi-point inspection…and talk about warranties and extended warranties, as well as our 24-hour emergency service program.

At Bussani Mobility, we have more staff working in our service department than on our sales team. That’s how important our commitment is to safely maintaining your accessible vehicle. To find out more about servicing your vehicle or to make a service appointment, call 833-998-2172 or visit https://www.bussanimobility.com/car-s….

Take a Virtual Tour of the New Chevy Traverse Accessible SUV!

The long-awaited new Chevrolet Traverse Accessible SUV is here! It’s converted with the BraunAbility Power In-Floor ramp and has tons of space. The two front seats can be removed for those who want to get behind the wheel of this awesome new truck. The tow package will handle up to 3500 pounds.

There’s a lot more to see. Check out the video.

And see it in person at any of Bussani Mobility’s three locations (Bethpage and Smithtown on Long Island, and Mamaroneck in Westchester).