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---- CUSTOMIZED ADAPTATION --------- PURPOSE: To create a custom adapted walker carrier frame for an individual with mobility disabilities due to lymphoedema. The individual could not transport her walker in the trunk or back seat of the family car, even when folded. While there were some commercially available carrier frames none fit the walker frame or could be used independently by the individual. A custom adapted carrier, which would fit into the car’s existing towbar socket, and meet the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority requirements for attachments to vehicles was created. The carrier rack could not protrude less than 1,200 millimeters from the back of the vehicle, and could not obscure the car’s rear lights or the license plate. Additionally, the carrier design must not pose a hazard to pedestrians and other vehicles when the car is parked. The custom design utilized a standard 50 millimeter towbar hitch, which is attached to a crosspiece made from angle iron. Two arms which are made from metal channel pivot from the cross piece, and can be locked in either a vertical or horizontal position using a spring-loaded catch. The arms rest on nylon bushes when they are in the lowered position, so they don’t directly touch the cross bar – this reduces friction and noise. There are also two additional cross bars made from steel tube at the centre and opposite end of the arms to stabilize and strengthen the device. The entire unit is painted white to match the car. To lift the walker onto the carrier,
The individual first lowers the arms to the horizontal position and locks them in place. She pushes down on the walker’s handles to raise the front wheels and slots them into the U-shaped groove in the arms. She then lifts the handles and pushes the walker forward down the arms, securing it with a chain to make sure it can’t fall off. Rubber edging on the arms helps protect the walker from damage during this process. Reversing the process enables the walker to be easily removed from the carrier. The arms can then be folded up to vertical and locked in this position, keeping them out of the way of pedestrians and other cars. The entire carrier is only 700 millimeters wide and therefore does not obscure the car’s rear lights. It does obscure the license plate, so a duplicate license plate is attached to the back cross bar of the carrier. This is a flexible attachment so that the plate swings down when the side bars are in the vertical position and is still visible. TITLE: Walker carrier. JOURNAL: TAD Journal. REF: Volume 30, Number 3, July 2010: p. 8-9. PAGES: 3 with cover.
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