I admit it: among the experiences that I missed, due to the disability I’ve been living with for almost all my life, there’s also going around on a bicycle. My uncertain, to say the least, balance has always made this vehicle unapproachable, for me, and I only could look at the other children speeding in front of me on their bikes, with a little bit of envy. But nowadays, luckily, even who has a motoric disability has the opportunity to enjoy a ride on a bicycle, thanks to Aspasso Bike, a “special mobility” project 100% “made in Italy”, that aims to enable everyone to move and have fun on a bike.
aspasso: a bike for each and every need
Aspasso offers to its users various models of bikes, carefully designed to fit for each and every need. For instance, Veloplus is the power-assisted model desigend for people on a wheelchair, who can enjoy the ride on a bike, together with a companion, safely and without having to move from the wheelchair, thanks to its tilting and self-blocking platform.
Opair, instead, is a “2 in 1” model, since the passenger seat can also be unhooked from the bike, to use it as a standard wheelchair. Power-assisted and highly customizable, it ensures the maximum comfort to all the users.
For those with different motoric disabilities, there’s Fun2Go, a model that enables also the passenger to pedal, even though the vehicle controls are exclusively placed on the companion’s handlebars… Alike it happens on cars used for driving lessons, hence.
All the models offered by Aspasso Bike can be customized graphically (for instance, adding their owner’s name or the logo of a company) and adapted and can be equipped with additional accessories, to satisfy even the most specific needs.
Are you interested in buying an Aspasso Bike model or you simply want to learn more about them? Get directly in touch with the project team, through their official website.
Since one of the reasons why I decided to create Move@bility is to raise awareness towards the need to remove architectonical barriers, not only to the advantage of people with any disability, but of the community as a whole, I’m very happy to have the chance to share with you initiatives with this goal. I’m even happier in this case, because I have the chance to chat with a woman who’s a friend of mine in the real life as well: Francesca Moscardo, who I meet today as a representative of the team that created Goover, a new app created to signal architectonical barriers and accessible places, to make it easier for everyone to move around our cities.
– Hi Francesca, would you like to introduce yourself to Move@bility readers?
Yes, indeed! I’m 31 and live in Verona, a city that I love. I was born with diastrophic dysplasia, a type of dwarfism that, in addition to several bone malformations, donated to me a very short height: indeed, I use to say that I’m pocket-sized! In daily life, my disability is very particular, since I suffer both the inconvenience of who moves using a wheelchair (I can walk, but on long distances I use it) and those of very very short people, as children who are unable to reach the wc, the sink, the lift buttons or to open a door… I graduated in Art, but life led me to begin writing and I currently cooperate with a communications agency as a copywriter. Summing up my passion for storytelling – with a very ironic style, people say- and my a little bit borderline disability, in 2017 I created “Nanabianca Blog. Il mondo a un metro d’altezza” (“Whitedwarf Blog. The world from 1 meter height“): a blog where I talk about Verona and my journeys, always with a particular focus on accessibility information, but I also share the solutions I’ve found in my daily life that could be useful to someone else facing similar problems (about clothes, personal care, cooking, planning a trip, etc.). I try to share ideas, sparks that other people can adapt to their own lives. This year, my blog gave me the chance to meet the Goover team: they asked me to become an effective member of this project, taking the responsibility of its blog (that’s starting in these days). To me, mobility is a fundamental part of a disabled person’s life: getting a driver licence in 2015 and being able to move freely on my adapted car, donated me a bunch of opportunities and experiences that I couldn’t have imagined before. The Goover app, under a different perspective, aims to give freedom of movement to people with motoric issues, pointing out and avoiding architectonical barriers in a given path: this goal is totally aligned with my vision, then I couldn’t help to accept their offer!
The Goover team
–How did the idea of Goover arise?
The idea arose during an hackathon the team – that would have created Goover – participated in October 2017 in Turin, about mobility in the city. Paolo Bottiglieri, the CEO, had a professional background in disability and, together with Marco Coluccio and MatteoSipione, was willing to find a way to improve urban movements. Quite by chance, they saw a guy on a wheelchair who had to change his route due to a step: that was the starting point.
– What’s this app distinctive point, compared with the others?
Before starting with its development, the team conducted a competitive study to understand what the market already offered, what competitors were doing and how. Then, they found that all the others offer just a few features and, sometimes, the apps haven’t been updated for 6 or 7 years. Goover aims to be an app that sums all the features on a single platform (avoiding the kangaroo-effect from an app to another) and guides the user on barrier-free itineraries.
– The apps aiming to point out architectonical barriers usually only take into account just one kind of disability: the motoric one and, specifically, the disabilities implying the usage of a wheelchair to move. But, as we well know, there are many disabilities, even when we only look at motoric limitations. Just to give an example, who walks using crutches has different needs from who uses a wheelchair and, then, also architectonical barriers ar seen in a different way. Will Goover help who has different needs too?
The goal is being able to diffentiate itineraries based on the specific disability or experience of the user on a wheelchair. Thanks to our first mapping, we noticed that there are obstacles that, for some people, aren’t so and that’s why we’ll add also the difficulty level on itineraries.
– Great! Based on your personale experience, what is still lacking to be really able to “think accessible”, when designing urban spaces, public buildings, etc.?
First of all, I think that there’s a lack of capability to step in the shoes of people whose needs are different from ours, whoever they are; second, there’s a lack of open-mindedness and will to go beyond norms as regards design, to create an environment that is really suitable for as many people as possible (not only those on a wheelchair, who, in the collective imagination, represent the standard disability) and doesn’t just comply with laws, even when they are outdated. Finally, there’s no awareness towards the fact that, if a place is accessible to someone with a disability, it will be suitable for everyone too. Maybe this is the most common concept, but also the hardest for designers to internalize.
– I couldn’t agree more! Can you share some heads up about the future of Goover with us? What do we have to expect for 2019?
We can say that, nowe, we’re working hard to start having stable versions of the app both on Android and iOS: the app is currently in the beta testing phase. In 2019, we’ll focus on strengthening the link among accessible venues, most of all cafés and restaurants. In the future, we’d like to give the chance to book hotels and rooms certified as accessible directly from the Goover website, minimizing the risk of nasty surprises, as it often happens nowadays. The case that got stuck in my mind is that of Giulia, who booked a room from a well-known platform and, once she got there, even though the venue was certified as fully accessible, discovered that there were three steps in front of the lift that was supposed to allow her to reach her room. The Goover site aims to eliminate situations like this one.
Thanks, Francesca, and good luck to you and the whole Goover team! 🙂
Since a few weeks, citizens of Lombardy with a disability can enjoy the use of a brand new service: “Lombardia Facile”, the portal that will collect info, as the project’s name itself suggests, that could make the disabled people daily life easier.
From welfare to work and education, from tourism to sport and leisure: on “Lombardia Facile”, you’ll be gradually able to find info about laws, facilitations and services available for resident citizens and tourists with a disability in Lombardy.
Arisen from the companionship between Regione Lombardia and associations and organizations representing and defending the rights of various categories of people with motoric and sensory disabilities, the “Lombardia Facile” project wants to remove all the obstacles and barriers (both physical and informational) that, nowadays, complicate the life of people with disability or special needs.
The portal pays particular attention to subjects such as mobility and accessible tourism. On “Lombardia Facile”, you can find a search engine to access info about the accessibility of monuments, museums and other places of artistic and cultural interest in Lombardy.
Moreover, on the website you can find info about another service, active since 2001, dedicated to disabled people: SpazioDisabilità, offering consultancy services about various topics related to disability. SpazioDisabilità is addressed both to disabled people and their families and caregivers. These services has been redesigned as well and the goal is to create a front office system widespread all over the region, opening other info points in all the administrative centres, in addition to the one today available at the HQ or Regione Lombardia. Starting from next year, those who will turn to SpazioDisabilità will have another service too: the video-chat in LIS (the Italian Sign Language), that will give deaf people the opportunity to communicate with the front office operators intermediated by a LIS interpreter connected through videoconference.
In conclusion, important progresses are in place towards accessibility and inclusion of all the citizens. We hope similar initiatives will be activated in other regions too. Are you aware of some? Please, inform me!
Moving everyday by car is convenient, for sure, mostly if you have a mobility issue. But what about parking? Nowadays, parking lots reserved to disabled people can be found almost everywhere, and they’re usually (there are always exceptions…) placed in barrier-free areas so that the disabled people (or their caregivers) can safely get in and out the car. But how can you benefit from it and assert your right, despite so many “wise (or absent-minded) guys”, who don’t notice the specific symbol identifying the reserved area? The answer is the parking permit for disabled people, that, as stated by the “Traffic Laws”, if put on the windscreen of the disabled person’s car, allows to use the reserved parking areas.
who can request it?
The parking permit for disabled people can be requested by:
People with permanent disability, certified as <<disabled person with a sensibly reduced ambulatory capacity>>
Visually impaired people
People with temporary disability, that is people whose ambulatory capacity is reduced just for a limited time, until they recover. In this case, the permit length will be limited to the timeframe specified on the medical certificate detailing the length of the invalidity.
In order to request the parking permit, you don’t need to own a car nor a driving license: the disabled person can request and use it on every car used for his mobility, remembering to show it when he is on that vehicle. On the contrary, showing the parking permit when the disabled person isn’t onboard implicates a fine. In any case, you must remember that the parking permit doesn’t allow to stop in all the “no parking” areas.
how to request the parking permit for disabled people?
The parking permit for disabled people must be requested through the appropriate form to the City you live in, showing – if you already have it- the documents certifying your disability. If your disability hasn’t been certified already or in the event of temporary disability, before presenting the request, you need a medical committee to certify the motoric or visual problems of the applicant person. The parking permit for disabled people is, usually, free of charge: you must pay a small amount only for temporary permits.
how long does it last and how to renew it?
Normally, the parking permit for disabled people lasts for 5 years. In the event of temporary disability, its length is limited to the period of disability and, in any case, cannot exceed 5 years.
In order to renew it, three months before the existing permit expires, you must request for the renewal, demonstrating that you still have right to it through specific documents.
the european parking permit for disabled people
Until September 15th 2012, the parking permit for disabled people was orange. Since that date, on the contrary, the new European permit entered into force: the procedures to request it and its duration remain the same. In addition, you can use the permit not only in Italy, but in the whole EU, in order to allow citizens with disabilities to move freely inside the EU boundaries. Moreover, many countries have specific facilitations for disabled people, that can be enjoyed by tourists too, showing this permit.
For more info about the procedures to request the permit, please refer to your municipality.
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