Vehicle supplied and built by AVA Leisure.
David Brown had an accident 20 years ago. In this fact sheet he talks us through the adaptions he has had made to his Bongo.
Ian Taylor UK Ltd: Quality Cars, Competitively Priced
I think it would be best if I gave you a little bit of my background so you get an idea of the adaptions that were required on my vehicle. When I was 37 I slipped on the ice, put my hand out to cushion the impact, and broke my elbow. Within 6 months I started to have problems with my hands and figures, such as not being able to let go of pens, and not being able to release my grip from the steering wheel. The problem progressed to my wrists, elbows and then my shoulders. This was accompanied by pain and restricted movement.
Eventually I had a problem with my neck with the top two joints fusing. All this gives me a problem with reach, moving my legs in confined spaces (despite replacement knees) and restricted turning of my head. After lots of tests, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which is where the immune system fights the body, usually at the joints.
I am now 58, and now use a wheelchair. This allows me to travel and be in a condition to enjoy the place upon arrival. I do not need to use the wheelchair constantly. It is a tool to use as necessary.
I have had some items fitted on my Bongo to make life easier. I would like to personally thanks Vaughan England at AVA Leisure for making these adaptions for me and guiding me through the process.
A leisure battery to run the coolbox from the rear 12v socket
I cannot reach the cab lights, so have had a light fitted on the roof between the front seats, with a switch on the dash
Extra lights fitted each side of the roof just inside the tailgate, with switches set at a level I can reach.
I can not reach to clean the windscreen so have had a Webasto hotshot fitted, which sprays hot water from the jets.
I have had a blindspot mirror fitted on top of the driver’s mirror housing.
The alarm interior sensors can be switched off so that it is not activated by my assistance dog whn staying in the vehicle.
Apart from these, I have had some further physical adaptions made to the Bongo. As I have a problem with grip and reach, I have had a peg spinner fitted to the left of the steering wheel and a small ball steering wheel fitted on the right hand side. Both are quick release so that Barbara can drive the vehicle without any problems.
As I have a problem with my leg joints I have had a left foot accelerator fitted. This folds down.
In the rear we have had the rear bench seat removed for wheelchair access. Securing tracks have been fitted both to front and rear. When the wheelchair is loaded, it can be secured with special webbing clamps. When I am too ill to get out of my chair, we have an inertia seatbelt system that also clamps into the tracks. To get the chair into the hehicle we have two extending ramps that slot into a securing bar that has been fitted to the floor at the rear and the side. the securing bar allows the ramps to be set at the width you need, and then to secure them in that position.
As am a registered disabled person/wheelchair user, and because the vehicle has been specially adapted before it was registered, it is exempt from the road fund licence, and it is eligible for VAT relief. So no VAT is paid on purchasing or servicing.
Assistance dogs: www.caninepartners.co.uk
VAT relief on adapted vehicles: www.hmce.gov.uk
Forum for Mobility Centres: www.mobility-centres.org.uk
Disabled Drivers Motor Club: www.ddmc.org.uk
Disabled Drivers Association: www.dda.org.uk
Mobility Roadshows: www.mobilityroadshow.co.uk
AVA Leisure: www.mazdabongo.com