Can I Speed Through Rush Hour Traffic in My Wheelchair?

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on July 21, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Yes you can. If you're flying down a Barcelona street and manage not to get caught in the act, apparently. One disabled daredevil tested the limits of traffic enforcement in the Catalonia capital recently and got away scot-free, so far.

So is this brave soul a commute revolutionary or a cautionary tale? Let's take a look.

Reckless Rover

In a scene reminiscent of any office around 3 p.m. on a Friday, here is a man, weaving through traffic on a busy Barcelona street:

So is this even legal? From comments made by city police, it doesn't sound like it: "We've only seen the video on YouTube," a spokesperson said. "We didn't see it as it happened and so we haven't been able to do anything. The man in the wheelchair remains unidentified as it's hard to identify someone in a wheelchair in a video. It isn't like a car where you have a number plate."

Police also wondered whether the video was part of a hoax or publicity stunt. "It wouldn't be the first time," he said. "Sometimes these weird videos go viral and then it turns out that they're part of an advertising campaign. You never know."

Sitck to the Sidewalk

So will we soon see copycat wheelchair racers on our shores? Hopefully not. While state and local traffic ordinances can differ, almost all treat wheelchairs as having the rights and responsibilities of a pedestrian. So while wheelchairs are allowed on just about every sidewalk, walkway, and path, they are barred from streets and roadways unless they are crossing.

While Senor Stuntman may have eluded the authorities this time, he may not be so lucky in the future. "The video is very odd," the source told The Guardian, "but from a policing point of view, if no damage was done and it was something 'invisible,' then there's not much we can do. The world does sometimes go mad."

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