Having a set of wheels is a rite of passage for most teenagers and our love affair with the car shows no sign of diminishing. Having a car represents freedom to go where you want, when you want, unless, that is, you're a disabled person who uses a wheelchair. Then it gets tricky.
Before you even get to deal with able bodied people parking in disabled bays or negotiating public spaces, you have to get a vehicle with wheelchair access, because that's the only real route to independence and freedom. There are the essential uses, like shopping for food and clothes; getting to doctors' surgeries and hospital appointments, and popping to the local collection point for your online purchases. Everyone needs a car for the basics of life and there's no reason why people should be dependant just because they have to use a wheelchair.
But a car can empower you do to do so much more than just the essentials; things like going out for a meal or a drink with friends, going away for the weekend to visit friends or spending as much time as you choose shopping for clothes. With a car, we can enjoy a social life. Without one, we become isolated.
Public transport is one solution if you happen to live in area where you can get to a bus or tram, but you're still reliant on help. Flying or travelling by train require so much advance planning that sometimes it hardly seems worth it. So, a wheelchair accessible car isn't just a luxury for disabled people, it's a key to independent living, to an active social life and to living with dignity and independence.
And whether we're wheelchair bound or able bodied, that's what we all want for ourselves.