The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ushered in a wave of positive changes for citizens with disabilities, including better access to public places via wider entrances and much needed wheelchair ramps. This took several important steps to ensure equal opportunity and full inclusions for people with special needs, but it didn’t answer the question on everyone’s mind: Yes, but does it make wheelchairs kick loads? The answer was a resounding no. But that’s okay, because it forced these five stories into existence. Stories of people taking matters into their own hands which, in this case, means turning their disabilities into an excuse to make the craziest, most tricked out and insanely [awesome] mobility assistance vehicles around.
As his name suggests, Lance Greathouse is an incredible man. His goal, according to his website, is to “make cool wheelchairs,” and the question that guides every one of his designs is a simple one: Why drive something that looks like a medical device when you can drive something that looks like a weapon from our inevitable war with the zombies? Now, we’d never even considered asking that question, but now it haunts our dreams because holy crap he’s totally right!
Because Greathouse is a man of his crazy, crazy word, he designed something he’s calling The Fire-breathing Electric Wheelchair, because that’s exactly what it is.
The seat comes from a Marine rescue helicopter, and the vehicle is capable of running on just about any terrain, which is good, because you never want your total rampage to be stalled by sand or snow. With a top speed of 22 mph, it’s not the fastest wheelchair on our list (not even close, actually) but it’s certainly the most flamethrower-havingest.
In case it wasn’t obvious, Greathouse got into flaming-death-wheelchair-inventing as a hobby after his previous job, designing fighting robots for the show Battlebots, came to an end. This is a man who literally can’t not design violent, deadly machines and for that, he has earned our eternal respect.
It is said that ever since man first discovered independent thought, he would lay awake at night, staring at the stars thinking “But wouldn’t life be better if everything was a tank?”
“How many epochs until World War One finally gets here?”
Fed up with a cold and tank-less world, and sick of the limitations of his standard wheelchair, Jim Starr decided to take matters into his own meaty, crazy hands. He wanted a new wheelchair, something that could traverse roads, snow, sand, and whatever else came across his path, so he and his friend put together a severely tricked out motorized wheelchair that can go as fast as 12 kilometers per hour. Jim swears that it’s really just a customized wheelchair that allows him to spend more time outside with his wife and kids, but … come on. Look at it. Look at him.
Unless you come from a family of desert gun turrets, there is no way you’re using this chair to get closer to your wife and kids. If there’s one thing about which Cracked.com is an expert, it’s the concept of applying ridiculous cartoon logic to real life situations, so think of us as somewhat of an authority when we say this: That, Sir, is a freaking wheelchair tank. We’re very impressed with your engineering, [and] beardiness, but please don’t lie to us and pretend this is anything other than a $24,000 personal tank that you control with a joystick and fuel.
You can rent these things too, if you feel like spending a week with an all-terrain supervillain throne.
Jim, (or, let’s be honest, someone who in all likelihood demands that people call him “Big Jim”), has actually run into some trouble with the law recently regarding his chair. Because it is wider than 85 centimeters (107 cm), it is technically considered a “tank” in the eyes of the law, (and also everyone), and as such can only be driven on private land. Big Jim says he’s going to try to make some changes that make the chair more road-friendly, which we can only assume means lots and lots of guns.
“Is this better, officers?”
We know what you’re thinking: “I love rolling around in my riding mower, but I hate how uncomfortable the seats are. [The] answer is a lounge chair that sits on a riding mower engine. Also we’ve thrown in a radio, and some headlights, for night-driving. And a nitrous oxide boost system, for stupid night-driving. Also a drag racing steering wheel, and cup holders because … because it’s faster or better for the environment or something? Look, we don’t need to explain ourselves, you don’t care what we have to say. You’ve got a riding mower with a foot rest and turbo drive, we’ve already lost your attention.
At 62, Dennis LeRoy Anderson built the above chair, based, we assume, on a mixture of his fantasies and that sweet, sweet chair from Roundhouse. This “chair” can travel up to 24km/h and also has a parachute. He loved his chair very much and, unlike Big Jim, he was allowed to drive it wherever he wanted.
Moments later, the most epic joyride in Minnesota police history.
If you can call that “living.”
In central Florida there exists one of the largest retirement communities on Earth called the Villages. [Residents here drive] everything from [a] Cadillac to [a] Hummer to early 20th century hot rod versions of golf carts fill the traffic lanes daily, and it’s all legal.
by Andrew Hetherington
This must be how God plays golf.
Villages residents designed golf carts that look like limos, fire trucks, and one person even designed a yellow Hummer H3-inspired cart complete with alligator-skin interior, because he heard that crazy was legal in Southern Florida. These retirees are getting “bigger tires, swap[ping] computer codes to overclock their batteries, and hack[ing] their motors to bypass built-in speed caps.” [Residents] are hacking into golf carts to make them faster.
by Andrew Hetherington
Above: The fall of Western Civilization?
The pimped-out golf cart scene has gotten so big that there is actually a gang within the community, like if the Hell’s Angels were old and terrifying and in bed by 4:30. The Streetrod Club, a collection of 500 residents, cruises all around Florida, leaving nothing but a trail of stunned bystanders in their wake.
by Andrew Hetherington
Real bikers know that once you have been riding a while, the idea of giving up riding is too much to bear. The power and exhilaration is addictive. So, what’s a biker to do if he or she gets injured and becomes confined to a wheelchair? If you guessed “something understated and reasonable,” then you’ve misunderstood literally every single other entry on this list.
And also motorcycles.
Originally designed by Alan Martin for his son who had become paralyzed from a skiing accident, the Martin Mobility Conquest is a wheelchair-ready motorcycle that goes from zero to sixty in 7.6 seconds, can travel up to 105 mph, and matches all other regular motorcycles on the market in terms of both safety standards as well as general [awesomeness].
Yes, that’s actually a wheelchair motorcycle. And, yes, it’s beating those other motorcycles.
If you want to drive one of these things, you’d simply deploy the rear ramp and glide –chair and all– right into the heart of the motorcycle.
In other words, it eats the handicapped and poops speed.
The three-wheeled motorcycle has plenty of room for both rider and chair and has a special push-button locking system to make sure you don’t fall out the back at any time. Additionally, it features high-end suspension to increase stability but without interfering with the precise handling and control that make motorcycles so [great]. So it has all of the good qualities of a motorcycle, but it’s also safer and, in many cases, capable of outrunning a standard motorcycle.
He is closer to Batman than we will ever be. You, sir, have earned our undying respect. And fear.