Wheelchair users in Reading have voiced their frustration at being unable to use pavements during bin collection days, forcing them to go onto the road rather than swerve the bins.

Some wheelchair users with motorised chairs admitted they drive on the road rather than risk a potentially fatal accident by trying to dodge a bin and crashing.

Nigel McAlister, of Belle Avenue, East Reading said he drove on the road rather than be obstructed by the bins.

However, he argued that going into the road carried its own risks of contending with cars.

The issue was raised at a meeting of Reading Borough Council’s Access and Disabilities Working Group, a forum for disabled people to voice their concerns.

Mr McAlister stated a wheelchair user could die trying to avoid a bin if their wheelchair fell from the pavement onto the road, which could leave a person with a fatal head injury or other serious injuries.

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Concerns over bins obstructing wheelchair users were echoed by councillors.

Councillor Brenda McGonigle (Green, Park) said ‘barely a week goes by’ without the issue cropping up.

She said: “It doesn’t happen on every week, but happens in most. Sometimes they [the bins] are just thrown.”

There were questions over whether residents or bin operators were to blame for the poor placement of the bins.

But this ‘blame game’ was rebuffed by cllr Jan Gavin (Labour, Caversham) the chair of the group, who said: “I don’t think the complete answer lies with one or the other [residents or bin crews].

“We have to all realise not to raise expectations too high because we’re dealing with individual behaviours. It’s a hard nut to crack.”

It was noted that not every household would be able to recover their bins in their designated place because of people being out for work.

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Cllr Karen Rowland (Labour, Abbey) agreed that it was not an easy issue to deal with, as bin crews collect from approximately 15,000 households a day and spend ‘seconds’ on each bin.

However, she did say that there is good practice in Zinzan Street, where the bin collection days were re-arranged to accommodate blind people visiting the Reading Association for the Blind in neighbouring Carey Street.

The bin collections were re-arranged to days when the charity is closed, on Thursday and Saturday to Monday each week.

Cllr Rowland added that the conduct of the council and neighbours needs to be “smarter and a bit more caring” to the disabled.

Council officer Graeme Rasdall-Lawes encouraged people to put bins back in their designated places off street as soon as possible once they have been collected.

Although no definitive decision was made at the disabled group meeting on Thursday, September 8, Mr Rasdall-Lawes will come up with an action plan to tackle the issue which will be presented at the next meeting.