Cycling blind official blazes new trails in SE Turkey

By Adsiz Gunebakan

GAZIANTEP, Turkey (AA) – In southeastern Turkey, a top city official for disabled affairs is blind, but still makes his way down the streets in an official vehicle using pedal power – not a car, but a bicycle.

Yusuf Celebi, the head of the department for the disabled in the city of Gaziantep, uses a tandem — a bicycle with two sets of pedals and seats — with his driver in front steering the way, both to raise awareness of good transportation choices and to enjoy a healthy life.

Cruising down the streets, Celebi bypasses traffic woes on his daily commute to work.

“The disabled also need bicycles, just like everybody else. They’re ideal for avoiding traffic jams and getting exercise,” Celebi told Anadolu Agency.

“I ride my bike to show that we stand together with the disabled, not only in the home or office, but in every field.”

He also said the city management is working to promote bicycling, including making bikes at tramway stations available for use and cycling paths across the city.

“We bought bicycles for the disabled on Mayor Fatma Sahin’s say-so. We will put them at stations in the coming days. So we will broaden the culture of togetherness,” Celebi said.

“Two disabled people, one without legs and the other blind, can feel the joy of riding bikes. By supporting each other, they mutually benefit from each other’s legs and eyes.”