Plain and simple, traditional vehicles were not designed for people who use wheelchairs or scooters. Fortunately, the invention of the wheelchair lift was a game changer in supporting a person’s mobility and independence.
Lifts allow for safe and easy boarding of a van. If used incorrectly, however, they can result in serious injury. Here are some tips on how to safely use your wheelchair or scooter lift.
1. Always Strap In
Wheelchair accessible vehicles come with a variety of straps, belts and tie-downs that keep the passenger in place and avoid sliding in the vehicle. It is extremely important that whoever is using the lift is sure all straps and seat belts are utilized and securely tightened. Straps that are on but not tightly secured can lead to unwanted and potentially dangerous movement and injury. Always secure each strap and put on the seatbelt.
2. Read the User’s Manual
Be sure to read all of the necessary safety manuals that come with your accessible vehicle. When you purchase or rent a wheelchair accessible vehicle, the manufacturer or dealer is required to include a manual that breaks down the step-by-step process for using the wheelchair lift safely. If you read it carefully and follow each step precisely, the transportation process from the road to the vehicle, and vice versa, should be seamless and safe.
3. Take Your Time
Always remember to take your time. Most instances where someone is injured on a wheelchair lift occur when the user is in a hurry and becomes careless. No matter the circumstances, slow down, take a deep breath, and board cautiously.
And Don’t Forget Maintenance
One more important thing to keep in mind: Your wheelchair lift needs regular servicing, as does the rest of your vehicle. The full-service auto shops at Bussani Mobility are open. The COVID-19 quarantines have been lifted and people in the New York Metro area are moving about their daily lives again, but we also offer you the option of our picking up and dropping off your vehicle for servicing – while you stay home and safe.
The Bussani Mobility team takes pride in helping people living with physical disabilities to find greater independence and quality of life. For more information about how we can help you or someone you know, visit our website.
Summer is finally here. And there’s nothing like feeling a gentle sea breeze blowing through your hair and the warm summer sun on your face while enjoying a beautiful ocean scene. If you use a wheelchair, we want you to know that, with a little research, you can find accessible beaches with accessible boardwalks, beach wheelchairs, and long rubber mats that lead to the shorelines.
Here are some of the best accessible beaches in the United States, and in New York state, in particular. Just a quick note first: If you’re planning on using your wheelchair accessible van for a road trip this summer, be sure to come to Bussani Mobility for a maintenance check beforehand so we can help keep you safe during your adventures.
New York Beaches
Brighton Beach on Coney Island is a summer getaway for New Yorkers looking for a place to unwind from the daily stresses of life. It’s also perfect for tourists looking to cool down after sightseeing in the city. This beautiful beach welcomes all visitors. Like many of the other beaches on this list, Brighton Beach provides beach wheelchairs for anyone who needs them.
One of the most wheelchair-friendly towns in New York, Long Beach is also called the “City by the Sea.” In Nassau County, just over the border from NYC, this beach town is really beautiful and easy to navigate. There’s plenty to do, from food to events to shops, and a classic boardwalk. All-terrain beach chairs and wheelchair Mobi-Mats are available upon request at all of the beaches.
Cedar Grove Beach
This beach is relatively new and has a modern flair. Cedar Grove is a smaller beach known for its charming and family-friendly atmosphere. It’s made more accessible with beach mats that provide a smooth, hard surface to make navigating the sandy shores in a wheelchair easier.
Orchard Beach is nicknamed “The Riviera of New York.” Located in the Bronx, it’s a high-traffic beach that offers both beach wheelchairs and beach mats for people who use wheelchairs. Always bustling, this beach is a great choice for those looking to have an active, good time.
A popular summertime destination in Queens, here you’ll find a wonderful beach and annual events that include adaptive surfing, along with designated spots for saltwater fishing, and plenty of fun boardwalk activities and food spots. Beach wheelchairs and beach mats are available to rent.
Other Beaches Around the U.S.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
As with most of the South, Gulf Shores, Alabama is tops as a gracious host, with its welcoming Southern hospitality. Here you’ll find friendly locals and pristine sandy beaches. To fully experience these beaches, you’ll probably want to rent a beach wheelchair, enabling you to travel along the shore. When possible, plan ahead and book a reservation for a wheelchair accessible charter boat, where you can go out into the water and see dolphins and sea birds up close.
Panama City Beach, Florida
One of the appealing features of Panama City Beach, Florida is that you can go out and experience the beach in your own wheelchair. Take in the beautiful turquoise waters, and roll out the red carpet, also known as the Mobi-Mat. In Panama City Beach, you can roll directly from wooden walkway ramps onto the smooth rubber pathway, making the beach accessible for every type of wheelchair.
San Diego Beaches, California
Located all around San Diego, there are over a dozen wheelchair-accessible beaches, including Coronado City Beach, Mission Beach, and Imperial Beach. At Coronado City Beach, the sand sparkles because of the mica (a gold-like mineral that’s found in abundance here). At Mission Beach, there’s a classic bustling boardwalk offering a variety of places to stop and grab a bite to eat. And Imperial Beach, located just four miles from Mexico, offers a serene atmosphere to take in some breathtaking sunsets over the Pacific. Not only does San Diego offer some of the most beautiful beaches around, but they also have motorized and manual beach wheelchairs free of charge for visitors, along with accessible parking and restrooms.
Key Largo, Florida
Key Largo, Florida is also home to a variety of wheelchair accessible beaches. Here you’ll find golden and white sand leading right up to the water. Consider chartering a wheelchair accessible boat for an eco-tour. Because of its close proximity to the Everglades, tourists can see native mangroves, underwater coral reefs, and possibly an alligator lurking along the shorelines.
Hanauma Bay, Hawaii
Hanauma Bay features 1,800 feet of breathtaking crescent-shaped beaches. This natural wonder is carved out among the cliffs of an ancient volcanic crater, with the beaches nestled up against a mountainous backdrop. It’s accessible via the road or a transport shuttle. The shuttle is recommended, as the steep road is known to burn out power wheelchair motors. Hanauma Bay also offers beach wheelchairs free of charge for those who want to explore and get close to the water.
Before You Go
Important note: Before you set out to visit any beach this summer, check with your local authorities to see if they’re open, as the global coronavirus pandemic is an ever-changing consideration that continues to affect our daily lives and the availability of outdoor activities around the country.
At Bussani Mobility, we’re all about independence and helping you get mobile. Our customers often become our friends and we want to provide information that builds a sense of community where we can improve accessibility for all, together. If you’d like to see more helpful resources, visit our blog. And, if you’re thinking about buying a wheelchair accessible van to improve your mobility, our mobility specialists are standing by ready to help.
Most of us have been breathing a small sigh of relief these last few days, now that New York state is beginning to open up and quarantines from the COVID-19 pandemic are being lifted. As we all start venturing out again, it’s important to keep ourselves and our environments as germ-free as possible.
Your wheelchair van should be sanitized and disinfected on a regular basis, to help you and anyone you travel with stay safe. Here are some tips on what to do…
1. Keep Disinfectant in Your Vehicle. The experts are saying that the COVID-19 virus on external surfaces can be killed. Common household EPA-registered disinfectants will do the job. It’s recommended that you always keep some spray and wipes in your van, and that you continually wipe down all points of the car where contact is made.
2. Make Common Touchpoints Your Focus. Prioritize disinfecting the places in your van where people touch the most. In addition to more obvious things, like your keys, steering wheel, and door handles, another important part of your wheelchair van’s interior is the dashboard. It can harbor and spread germs, because air is continuously being sucked over your dashboard and circulated throughout the car. Other spots to clean regularly include ramp and door operating buttons, seat belts, wheelchair straps, remotes, and touchscreens.
3. Continue to Wash Your Hands Regularly. This may seem like an overly simple task for combating a pathogen, but experts say that it’s one of the most effective tasks you can perform to do your part to help flatten the curve. Washing your hands before eating, using the restroom, providing care to others, and after sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose will reduce the number of germs that are brought into your wheelchair van in the first place.
At Bussani Mobility, our number one priority is the safety and well-being of our customers. We’re happy to assist in whatever way you need during these trying times. Remember that our auto shops are open for service, and we’ll pick up and deliver your vehicle for free. Just let us know how we can help.
Although COVID-19 quarantines and restrictions are beginning to be lifted, many businesses throughout the country are still asking their employees to work from home. In fact, the new work-from-home normal may well become the way much business is done as we all move into our new future.
For those who are used to having a lot of social interaction at work, this can be a lonely experience at times. It can also be difficult to stay on task with pets and kids in your workspace. And then there are the household tasks, like laundry and house cleaning, that can contribute to a distracting at-home workspace. But, there are ways around all of it.
Here are five helpful tips for creating a happy and productive at-home work environment, during and beyond the pandemic:
1. Confine your workplace to a specific area of your house. This way, you are not subjecting yourself to the distraction of the activities that typically take place in shared or multiple areas. Instead of attempting to do your work near a television, create a quiet space where it’s easiest to stay on track. If another room is not an option, find an area with little or no foot traffic.
2. Block out the noise. A helpful trick is to use noise-canceling headphones or earbuds. Studies show that peaceful music and nature sounds can activate the calming part of your brain that helps with concentration.
3. Set strict boundaries. Treat your workplace like you would the office and make it well-known to your family or housemates that your workplace is just that, a place to work. Make sure they respect the fact that you have a long list of things you need to do, and you will not be able to accomplish them without peace and quiet.
4. Be prepared. The pandemic impact on the workplace has paved the way to more virtual meetings and communication. Be sure you know how to operate virtual meeting applications ahead of time. Doing so can save you and the company time, not to mention potentially embarrassing moments or delays.
5. Avoid cabin fever. When you’re spending the majority of your time at home, it’s important to take breaks and get outside … whether it be venturing out around the block or participating in an outdoor activity that you enjoy. Once your workday is successfully finished, remove yourself from your workplace and enjoy other parts of your home. Spend time with your loved ones or get busy with that hobby you love to do.
The Bussani Mobility team cares about you, and we’re staying optimistic that we will emerge out of this crisis stronger than ever and with a greater appreciation for the little things we may have sometimes taken for granted. If there’s anything we can do to help you, please call us.
Even during these chaotic times, maintaining your wheelchair vehicle is essential to keeping it running smoothly. There are simple steps that you can take at home to help extend the life of your vehicle and keep you safe on the road:
1) Check the door track and ramp.
First, examine the door track and remove any debris. Also, check the hinges of your ramp to make sure that all of the bolts are tight and secure. A dry lube can be applied at the hinges to maintain the highest level of mobility.
2) Check the battery.
Be sure the battery is cleaned off and there aren’t any bubbles of acid on the surface. If you find bubbles, use a scrub brush to clear them. Make sure the battery cables are tight and secure. Turn on the van and listen to the sound of the vehicle. If you hear something that doesn’t sound right, such as stutters, it may be time for a new battery.
3) Maintain the right tire pressure.
Inside the driver’s side door, there’s a sticker that tells you approximately what your tire pressure should be. Check the pressure of each individual tire with a tire gauge. Accurate tire pressure is important to maintain safety and a smooth ride.
4) Inspect the tie-down tracks.
If moving the tie-down tracks proves to be difficult, there is a high chance that there is debris preventing ease of movement. Vacuum up the debris or use a simple brush.
Even if you take these actions to maintain your wheelchair van at home, it’s still very important to schedule regular maintenance checks with the expert technicians at our Bussani Mobility auto shops. Our Service Department is open for business by appointment, and we’re offering free pick-up and delivery during the pandemic. This is a perfect time to get your vehicle serviced, so it’s ready to go when the quarantines are lifted.
We’re happy to assist our customers in whatever way you need during these trying times. Just let us know how we can help.
Life has been turned upside down for all of us, around the world, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We know instinctively that it’s vital during these trying times to stay as healthy as possible physically, but our mental health also needs attention. Here are a few simple tips to help you stay strong mentally, as we all ride this out:
1. Get outside and enjoy nature.
Yes, there are many places that are prohibited right now. But, you can still go out and experience the great outdoors. There is something to be said about the peace that we feel when we take a break from the stress of our daily lives and just breathe in the fresh air. It can improve your mental state if you take the time, each and every day, to experience and appreciate nature, even if it’s just for 10 minutes.
2. Start a daily gratitude practice.
While not always easy, reminding ourselves of the positive aspects of our lives rather than dwelling on the negative can reframe any difficult experience. By appreciating the good things in our new day-to-day, we can create an expanded perspective for ourselves. Some people practice gratitude in individual moments, while others prefer to keep a gratitude journal. Find whichever method works best for you and try to return to it every day.
3. Download a meditation app.
We live in a day and age where there is an app for everything, including meditation. Taking the time to meditate and quiet the mind is time well spent. Meditation can reduce anxiety and stress dramatically, and instantly. It has also been known to boost brainpower, enhance focus, and brighten your disposition.
4. Maintain a healthy sleep schedule.
Getting enough sleep may be easier to do during these times, when so other activities are on pause. But getting too much sleep can also have negative effects on your mental health. The experts say that it’s best to maintain a sleep schedule of 8-10 hours, and go to bed about the same time, every night for optimal health.
5. Socialize while social distancing.
Obviously it can be difficult to socialize with friends and family when we can’t even leave our homes. But this pandemic has hit us at a time when it is still possible to communicate through Zoom, Skype, or via a simple phone call. Connecting with those you love can lift your mental well-being and theirs.
Keeping it simple is often the way to go. If you’re not doing any of these things to maintain a healthy mental outlook, maybe you can try just one of them today. Or maybe they’ll inspire you to come up with a new idea or practice of your own.
All of us at Bussani Mobility care about you, and we’re staying optimistic that we will emerge out of this crisis stronger than ever and with a greater appreciation for the little things we may have sometimes taken for granted. If there’s anything we can do to help you, please call us.
If you or a loved one uses a wheelchair or scooter, the easiest way to get around is with a wheelchair accessible van. And there are many stylish and functional models on the market today. But if you don’t have your own van, that doesn’t have to hinder your mobility. There are other solutions for transporting your wheelchair or scooter.
The team at Bussani Mobility thrives on helping people find independence through mobility. And we know that sometimes the best answer is to adapt your current vehicle, even if it’s not a van. Here’s what you can do:
1. Wheelchair Trailer
A wheelchair trailer is a possible solution. If you have a power wheelchair, you will have to consider its weight and purchase a trailer that can accommodate it. To avoid any damage to the trailer or wheelchair, you’ll always need to properly tie it down and secure it before transport it. You can either use a portable wheelchair ramp or purchase a trailer with one built in to get the chair in and out.
2. Hitch Lift
An outside lift will transport any kind of wheelchair or scooter. If you own a small, medium, or large vehicle, you can attach a wheelchair or scooter lift at the rear end of their vehicle. Some hitch lifts can also be installed on vans, trucks, or RVs.
Depending on your vehicle, you may need to have a hitch attached prior to using this type of lift. When considering a wheelchair or scooter lift, be sure to find one that can manage the weight of your wheelchair or scooter. Heavy-duty lifts have a carrying capacity of up to 400 lbs. But if you don’t have a heavy electric scooter, you may want to consider something more low-profile, like a micro lift.
3. Chair Topper
The roof chair topper is designed to load, transport, and retrieve foldable wheelchairs. This device transports the wheelchair in a box that sits on your vehicle’s roof to save the space inside the vehicle for passengers.
The chair topper is simple, convenient, and can be used on almost all car models. It automatically lifts and stores the wheelchair in the unit when you are ready to travel, and unloads it when you’ve reached your destination. Unloading and storing can be done in only 30 seconds. The chair topper box is also weatherproof, protecting your wheelchair from the elements.
Although owning a new wheelchair van is ideal, we understand that it’s not feasible for everyone and every situation. That’s why Bussani Mobility works with top brands to offer a variety of mobility solutions for your car, truck, or van.
Congrats to the recipient of the 4th Annual Great American Jeep Giveaway at Westbury Jeep! Christopher Levy, U.S. Army, who served 8 years including tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, was honored earlier this year. Bussani Mobility worked with Westbury Jeep to install hand controls that operate the gas and the brake – and to give an American hero a chance to get back on the road. We salute our heroes.
For someone living with a physical disability, a wheelchair accessible van can get you well on your way to mobility and independence. But there are many factors to consider when shopping for a wheelchair van, such as features, pricing, driving aids, maintenance, and warranties that can make the process seem overwhelming, especially for a first-time buyer.
So, let us help. We’ve been doing this for over 40 years, and we know a good accessible vehicle when we see one. The following are the three best wheelchair vans currently on the market.
- Toyota Sienna Side-Entry with Fold-Out & In-Floor Ramp
This is a top-of-the-line wheelchair accessible minivan. It is reliable and versatile with a ramp style to accommodate all preferences. Spacious and sporty, it offers plenty of flexibility and ease of use. With the option of a power fold-out or in-floor ramp, users get less dirt and debris in the interior, and both have optimal maneuverability for larger power chairs. For those who prefer a rear ramp entry, Toyota offers a manual version.
Toyota is a recognized brand in the industry because of the quality vans they produce, and the Toyota Sienna is a great personal transportation solution for many people who use wheelchairs.
- Honda Odyssey Side-Entry with In-Floor Ramp
The Honda Odyssey is an accessible vehicle that’s stylish and sporty. Honda is a global brand that appeals to its loyal customers, and the Honda Odyssey is the total package with style, space, and function. This van is a favorite because of its performance and clean lines. The all new in-floor ramp system is neat, clean, and out of sight when not in use.
- Chrysler Pacifica Side-Entry with Fold-Out & In-Floor Ramp
This wheelchair van offers a best-in-class, extra-wide doorway and ramp, paired with exceptional interior space to accommodate people who use wheelchairs that need extra space or who have larger families. It has superior technological advancements, and its ramp options allow users to access every inch of space. Not only does the Chrysler Pacifica offer two side-entry ramp options, but it also offers two floor height options to accommodate the proper door clearance and line of sight for the wheelchair occupant. In addition, for those who prefer a rear ramp entry, Chrysler offers a manual version.
A reliable wheelchair accessible vehicle can make it easier for anyone using a wheelchair (and their families or caretakers) to stay mobile, and have a greater sense of freedom and well-being. Always consult a mobility expert, and test drive or rent the van you’re considering, to see if it’s right for you before making a purchase. Contact Bussani Mobility or stop in at any of our three New York locations to discuss your driving needs, and we’ll help you find the vehicle that’s just right for you.
Vehicle hand controls give people living with physical disabilities the ability to drive and operate a motor vehicle. Hand controls allow for the driver to manage both the brake and gas pedals using levers that are generally mounted below the steering wheel and attach to the pedals.
There are many different types of hand controls available, which is why it is important to speak to a mobility expert, often working hand-in-hand with a driver rehabilitation specialist, to find which ones will best suit your needs. Here is an introduction to help you get started in understanding hand control options.
When the driver pushes the handle forward, the brakes are applied. When the lever is rocked back, the vehicle accelerates. This model is ideal for individuals who have no finger dexterity as they operate the controls.
Push/Right Angle Style
Individuals who have limited finger dexterity can benefit from these types of hand controls. When the driver pushes the handle upward towards the instrument panel, the brakes are applied. When the control is pushed downwards at a right angle, the vehicle accelerates.
In this type of hand control, when the lever is pushed forward, the brakes engage. When the lever is pulled backwards, the vehicle accelerates. If needed, a three-post hand interface can be installed, providing the driver with the ability to maintain contact with the handle, ultimately providing greater control. Push/pull style hand controls are ideal for individuals with limited finger dexterity.
Electronically Assisted Hand Controls
With electronically assisted hand controls, the driver typically uses Joysticks and touchscreens to operate the vehicle. A primary set of controls manages the gas, brakes, and steering. A secondary set of driving controls operates other vehicle functions. This option is good for those who must use only one hand for driving, and who have limited strength and range of motion in both upper and lower extremities.
There’s much more to know, and this is just a beginning description of what to expect with the various types of hand controls. The individual’s needs and abilities will help to determine what style of hand controls will work best for them to safely operate the vehicle. Experienced mobility experts are standing by at Bussani Mobility to help drivers of all ability levels.