A disabled man from Dorset, UK, has been banned from using his bespoke tank-style wheelchair in public because it exceeds size and weight limits.
Jim Starr, a 36-year-old former landscape gardener with a passion for the outdoors, received the 220kg caterpillar-tracked chair for Christmas and has since used it to go to the beach and explore snow-covered forests with his wife and two young children.
But the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has told Mr Starr he can only use his ‘Tank Chair’ on private property because – at 107cm wide and 220kg – his chair exceeds the 85cm/125kg limits.
Mr Starr – who has been wheelchair-bound since 1999 because of arthritis, neurological problems and chronic back and joint issues – told the BBC the £15,000 ($24,000) TC Mobility-built chair was intended to give him some extra freedom.
“For the first time in the nine years since we’ve been down here in Dorset I’ve managed to get on the beach and actually go along the seafront with the children,” Mr Starr said.
“I’ve just got my life given back to me over Christmas only for it to be taken away from me again.
“It’s like me becoming disabled again – having my legs back and then them being taken away.”
The DVLA has acknowledged that although the Tank Chair appears to be for off-road use it still says using it anywhere but on private property would be illegal.
Mr Starr says he only intends to use his chair for off-road purposes and cannot avoid crossing some roads and public land in order to get there.