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Navigating her way through safety fear

October 14, 2002, Monday
Jan Harkin
Coburg Moreland Leader

COBURG resident Debra Dean takes her mobile phone wherever she goes. She's not afraid of missing a call. She's afraid of having a fall crossing the road using Moreland's inadequate kerb ramps. "I have to take a mobile because I'm so fearful I'm going to have an accident going down them," she said.

She has already had two accidents in the past 18 months going up one ramp, at the corner of Moreland and Holmes roads in West Brunswick.

Ms Dean has multiple sclerosis, a disease affecting the central nervous system that can cause extreme fatigue. She uses a scooter to get around outdoors.

"No matter how careful I was, the scooter went out of control and crashed into a wall," Ms Dean said.

"I called the council but nothing's been done."

Even using pedestrian crossings is difficult. She can't use one in Sydney Rd, near the Brunswick Police Station.

"The kerb crossing is so steep I can't get down it without people on either side," Ms Dean said.

"If you can't get past the crossing without injuring yourself and others, it means everything you do and everywhere you go involves so much planning. It's a battle all the time. I am battling fatigue all the time but I have to take the long way round to move safely," she said.

Ms Dean said many of the problems faced by people with limited mobility were not being addressed in new developments.

"Things are being done now that aren't showing any more thought than in the past," Ms Dean said.

And although Melbourne's new low trams are welcome, the problem of reaching them hasn't been tackled.

"There's no kerb cuttings at most stops where you can actually get down."

Moreland Council was unable to say when the Moreland/Holmes roads kerb ramp would be repaired or replaced.

© Copyright 2002 Nationwide News Pty Limited