Lack of Sidewalks in Mercedes Causing Issues for Man

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MERCEDES – A man bound to a motorized chair said there are no sidewalks to use in Mercedes. He said it’s putting his live at risk.

Jose Yanez said he has extreme pain his knee. He said getting around was difficult until he received his motorized chair seven years ago. He said his motorized chair is the best option he has for getting around the city and running errands.

“Some days I go to H-E-B. Some days I go to Weslaco. Because I don’t have any means to go anywhere walking and I can’t walk too much because I have a bad leg,” he said.

Yanez said because of the lack of sidewalks in Mercedes, each motorized chair ride is dangerous. He said he’s taking safety measures seriously now.

“One time a car almost hit me because I didn’t have a horn and they don’t see me. They are looking other ways and can’t see me. So when I hit my horn and they are trying to turn or move forward, I hit my horn so they can see me,” he said.

Mercedes City Manager Richard Garcia explained how residents can request sidewalks be placed in their neighborhoods.

“They need to contact the city’s planning department at 565-3114 extension 128, and every request will be assessed and addressed but obviously it’s going to be a question of budgeting. If it is something that is dire we will certainly try to take action as soon as possible,” Garcia said.

He said every request will be evaluated on an individual basis.

Yanez said he hopes the city will do more to protect him and other riders.

Mercedes Police Chief Olga Maldonado shared a few safety tips for motorized chair riders.

She said people in motorized chairs are considered moving vehicle while on the road, so they should follow all of the rules and regulations of the road. She said being defensive and keeping their eyes on other moving vehicles is key.

Lastly, she said using crosswalks whenever available is a way to better ensure safety.


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