Warning to motorists after wheelchair user is struck by car in Camelon

Wheelchair users should not have to feel like they are risking their lives when they approach a lowered pavement in a doctor’s car park.

By James Trimble
Friday, 1st November 2019, 10:56 am

That’s exactly how Catherine Rideout (55) feels after she was struck by a reversing car at Camelon Medical Practice earlier this month.

Canadian-born Catherine’s near miss on October 10 has now driven her to try and raise awareness of this kind of thoughtless – and dangerous – driving.

She said: “It was 4pm and I had just left the practice with my prescription – I was almost at the lowered pavement when this white car started to reverse out. I don’t know if it was driven by a man or a woman.

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“The driver would have to have seen me, if they checked their rear view mirrors, as I’d already passed the passenger side. I was behind the car on the driver’s side, when the car hit me. It didn’t seem like the driver was going to stop.

“There’s no way they couldn’t have realised they hit me – I was screaming and I have a very loud voice. They didn’t get out and didn’t even crack a window to say ‘are you alright’ – they just backed out and drove off.

“If not for a kind man coming out of the surgery, asking ‘did that car just hit you?’ I would have just sat there, stunned. This man suggested I go back into the surgery, which I did.

“I told the young woman at the desk what had happened, and if I could get my arm seen to just then. My arm was really sore and it was swollen for a few days afterwards.”

Although badly shaken – as well as injured – by the terrifying incident, Catherine managed to jot down the licence plate of the vehicle before it drove off.

Thankfully Catherine was only yards away from her home in John O’Hara Court when she was struck.

“When I returned home my partner suggested I call the police, which I did, still not quite understanding why the driver had not even bothered to open a window to ask if I was okay.

“I come to the medical practice regularly and this is the first time anything like this has happened.”

She did report the matter to police, but they subsequently told her they had not been able to trace the driver with the licence plate number she gave them.

Catherine said she knew it could have been much worse and mentioned a fatal incident which happened on March 24, 2015 at the junction of Stark Avenue and Carmuirs Avenue – just down the road from the Camelon Medical Practice – when Martha Tait (71) was pronounced dead at the scene by ambulance staff after her mobility scooter was involved in a collision with a BMW.

Catherine had a message for the motorist who struck her and other motorists who continue to drive dangerously.

“I would tell the motorist – and any motorist – to be a little bit more responsible and considerate of other people, whether they are in a wheelchair or not. Most of the lowered kerbs in my area are not well maintained, and often those that are end up being blocked by cars.

“Lowered kerbs are there for our safety. So many drivers seem to have forgotten the rule to not stop or park where the kerb has been lowered to help wheelchair users and powered mobility vehicles.”