Just as I thought I’d got it pretty right with Carer Control, along came young Oliver Muldowny, who wouldn’t put up with his mum controlling the steering at any price – he was far too independently minded. In fairness Olly could steer and brake to a degree; it was just his danger awareness – or lack of it – that was a concern.
I’ve always worked on the principle that “least is best” and we should be encouraging kids like Olly to use their bodies and minds as much as possible, only interfering when they come unstuck, so after establishing that Olly was generally judicious with his steering, I designed a parental rear braking system which I called Carer Braking™.
It was effectively Carer Control, without the steering feature, because Carer Control has always had a feature where you can operate the trikes brakes by a detachable pull cord if you don’t want to use the control arm. We do it that way so schools have a choice of system, or individuals can choose between steering independently or having help with steering, depending upon steepness of hills – the volume of traffic, progression of the disability, etc, etc.
Oliver’s design didn’t have the park brake which was added to Carer Braking at a later date, but it was an effective safety sanction when Olly lost concentration. All his mum need do was pull on the cord and the brakes would go on – much to Olly’s disgust.
I made the cord detachable for park areas and other situations where full independence was safe to allow.
These days we build the Carer Braking system in a variety of configurations. They may have one two or even no brakes of their own, dependent upon their strength, dexterity, reactions, special awareness or danger awareness, but all users have that fundamental pre-requisite – the skill to steer safely – well most of the time!