Accessing Arizona with an Accessible ATV
Getting out and exploring Arizona is the main focus of Accessing Arizona. How you get there is always part of the fun, or challenge depending on how you perceive such an effort. So when we here at Accessing Arizona came across some mentions that there’s someone in Arizona with an adapted side-by-side ATV, we naturally tracked him down.
Matt Peters is a long time quad who runs a company in Chandler that produces wheels and accessories for wheelchairs. And in his spare time he has been modifying a Polaris RZR for use with hand-controls. He is planning to refine his prototypes and the sell a kit others could install. Somebody obviously needs to test something like this, and who better than the crack staff here at AA.
So not only does Matt have good technical ideas, he’s obviously got a creative eye. The Rzr has been decked out with a great Arizona flag scheme. Perfect for sporting an Accessing Arizona decal.
The Rzr is a two-seater. Matt has added an after-market electrical power steering module to allow anyone with limited arm and upper-body function to better control the steering. For gas and brake, he’s added a standard set of hand-controls used on cars. To better access, the steering wheel can tilt up. To better improve stability, he’s added an armrest between the seats, and the hardened half doors with arm rests.
Getting in the driver’s seat isn’t the easiest. It’s a small door space and required some assistance. But with practice, everything gets easier. The nice thing about the Rzr is that the seat height is just about at wheelchair level.
OK, so once you are in, and strapped in, its go time. Matt’s controls work good. The automatic transmission is easy to shift and the accelerator is responsive. Developing a feel for the Rzr is rapid, and the suspension is great for maintaining control and riding in comfort. Bumpy rides aren’t my thing.
The four of us poked around the Rio Verde area for a few hours. This is Tonto National Forest land along the Verde River below Bartlett Lake. It’s a great place for riding and in fact Matt is considering moving nearby and setting up a program to allow others to ride.
The Rzr and all ATV’s to some extent offer persons with disabilities a good option for exploring the outdoors. They aren’t cheap (somewhere near $10,000) to buy, and will likely need another $3,000 to adapt. Plus the helmet, trailer and chrome goodies of course.
One of the benefits that comes from exploring the outdoors is meeting other like-minded people. Matt, like most outdoor recreational enthusiast are very sharing of their ideas and jump at the chance to meet up and have some fun. Lets hope his idea of starting an ATV-ranch for all of us to visit and romp about the desert comes together. Until then we’re happy to beta-test all his innovations.
Matt is promising www.Petesrzr.com will be up and running soon. If all else fails, find him at arwingroup [at] byarwin [dot]com.
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