Thursday, August 31, 2006
Help Me Howard: Trike Guy
For many people it's unthinkable. Paralyzed from the waist down. But for the people who can't use their legs its their life, they face obstacles. But who would ever imagine that the state of Florida would try to block them from doing something every other Floridian has a right to do? What is the state doing to handicapped people? Here is Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN--Technically you would have to say Myron Rosner is disabled.
Myron Rosner: "I am paralyzed. These don't work."
Five years ago Myron had a construction accident and lost the use of his legs -- but that's about the only thing he lost.
Myron Rosner: "I have a lot of mouths to feed. I have an amazing wife and actually no time to sit back and think about it."
Myron is a general contractor who still goes on jobs, thanks to a special wheelchair.
Myron Rosner: "See I can even wrestle with a reporter. Here Patrick, try to push me over."
The chair can shift to two wheels to climb steps and rolls through the dirt like a swamp buggy.
Myron Rosner: "'No' is not in my vocabulary. No, exactly the opposite."
But after he hit a roadblock with the Division of Motor Vehicles, Myron called us for a little help.
Myron Rosner: "They really don't know what to do with a guy like me...thats part of the problem."
Myron uses his three wheeled motorcycle to get from job to job.
Myron Rosner: "Ever notice how many people look at this bike. Oh yeah."
And the state offers motorcycle riders an incentive: If you pass a class -- you get a certificate that cuts your insurance ten percent a year.
But the state told Myron he could not enroll in the class.
Myron Rosner: "I have no idea. Maybe they don't have a table where my wheelchair will fit. I have no idea. There should be no reason why i cannot take the class."
After being rejected Myron still went ahead and took the written test and driving test and passed them both.
But since he was not allowed to attend the class, he can't get the certificate and can't get the $200 a year discount on his insurance.
Myron Rosner: "So what makes it so silly is that you passed the test anyway, despite, despite all these obstructions, cause you never give up."
But is it ok for the state to block someone from taking a class because they are paralyzed from the waist down? We know how Myron feels.
Myron Rosner: "My wife has always told me never give up."
But Howard, do you think the state can block Myron from taking the class?
Howard Finkelstein: "Yes they can, but it's illegal. The Division of Motor Vehicles is ignoring federal law. This clearly violates the Americans with Disabilities Act which requires that a reasonable accomodation be given so that the disabled can enjoy all the rights and benefits that anyone else does."
After I spoke to the Division of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles they told me their program will not safely accommodate three wheeled motorcycles like Myron's.
However, that may change. The state recently passed legislation that requires training for all motorcycle endorsements, effective July 1, 2008.
Meaning the state will be forced to allow people like Myron in by then.
As for riders who don't want to wait nearly two years, the Florida Justice Institute agreed this is a clear violation of the ADA and they would be willing to meet with them to try and get it changed.
Myron won't have to sue though. After his insurance company found out we were doing this story, they agreed to give him his ten percent discount. After all he had passed the course even though the state would not let him in the class.
Another victory for a guy who is not real fond of being told, 'You cant do that.'
Howard Finkelstein: "I haven't let life pass me by. I play tennis, I waterski, I swim. I have tried to instill in my children that you never give up. That's what this is about."
Patrick Fraser: "One of the great things about this job are the people we get to meet. Myron is memorable. When he was shifting from one wheelchair to the other i reached over to stabilize one of them. 'Don't touch that,' he told me. He is independant, incredible and it's easy to see why he is so successful.
Determined to toss out a problem? Need an extra push from some TV people? Contact us. For us, helping isn't a job, its a joy.
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