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Wheelchair accessible ATV

A Saskatchewan man is building what might be Canada’s only wheelchair accessible ATV.

Keith Lucyk lives in White City with his wife Kelli and his dog, Rider.

“My dog inspired me, actually, to start doing this,” said Lucyk.

“I thought if I had a machine that I could just go out there and do like 40 to 50 kms a day and she would keep up with me the whole way," he said.

In 1991, Lucyk had a diving accident that resulted in a spinal cord injury. Prior to the accident, Lucyk enjoyed riding all-terrain vehicles and being outdoors.

“It’s one of those things that I really miss in my life,” he said.

“Right now, I can go out and roam around with my power wheelchair but you’re really limited to how far you can go and what you can go through. I’ve been stranded in my wheelchair before, out in the country, and it was something I don’t ever want to have to go through.”

Lucyk has worked in computer IT for about 20 years, and in 2010 he began designing the ATV model. Lucyk wanted his ATV to meet his needs. The ATV will have a speed of over 30 km/h. It will also have articulated steering and will be controlled with a joystick. It will function like a power wheelchair would, so it’s user-friendly for anybody with a disability who wants to drive it. The dimensions are four feet by eight feet, with a capacity of up to 680 kilograms.

Since safety is a top priority, the ATV will have over 16 censors to assess what the driver is doing, as well as restrictions such as preventing the engine from starting until it is in driving mode. “I’m hoping it will be very safe when it’s all done,” he said, adding that he’s fortunate to have received help from local organizations.

“There are a lot of people I would like to thank for this project. They’ve been fantastic for this,” he said.

Some of the contributors include Briggs & Stratton, Ross Machine Shop, and the Tetra Society of North America. Gerry Wurtuk, a member of the Tetra Soceity, has volunteered hundreds of hours into Lucyk’s project.

Wurtuk is also a journeyman mechanic and a shop teacher at Paul Dojak Youth Centre.

“Gerry is the heart and soul of this, he’s the guy that made this happen,” said Lucyk. “Without Gerry, it wouldn’t have happened at all.”

Wurtuk has worked on all kinds of projects for Tetra, but never anything like Lucyk’s ATV. He said he wants to help Lucyk “so I can make his life just a little more better for him.”

Wurtuk admits that the project has been delayed because of lack of funds. By the time all the research and development is done, Lucyk estimates the cost of the project to be up to $70,000. Although a lot of the materials were donated, Lucyk used his own money to pay for the project.

He has now created a GoFund me Page to finance the project. “I’m not looking to raise any more money than what we need.”

He said that once the project is ready, the design will be available at no cost for anybody that wants to build one or have one built for them.