The death of a Dix Hills man in a motorized wheelchair from a car collision yesterday morning underscored the perils many with disabilities face when navigating a streetscape designed for automobile traffic.
At around 6:31 a.m., Gary Johnson, 55, was struck as he attempted to cross Montauk Highway near Milligan Lane in West Islip, Suffolk County police said. The driver, a 39-year-old West Islip woman, was driving a Ford Mustang eastbound when she struck Johnson.
Erin Sember, a coordinator from the Northeast Americans with Disabilities Act Center in Ithaca, N.Y., said that safe street access and mobility were major issues facing a growing disabled population.
The accident occurred near Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center on a busy stretch lined with medical and dental offices.
Ray Taverez, a West Babylon-based wheelchair repairman, suggested more signs to alert motorists to the disabled. “I travel a lot and you hardly see any signs with a wheelchair,” he said.