After years of work, she saw success – but has more work ahead

To the editor:  My winter safety bill for walker users who use transit buses has been passed into law. In […]

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To the editor: 

My winter safety bill for walker users who use transit buses has been passed into law. In the last five years, I have learned sadly that Metro Transit may know what causes a bad accident, but does nothing about it. 

Even when you work with a nonprofit like the Minnesota Brain injury Alliance, you may not make progress. Legislating under COVID-19 also took a very long time. 

Activists often find themselves working on their own, without a lot of counseling and support. How do you deal with the societal ramifications if a bill is not passed?  

I am 87 and cannot delay. Because of my fall and injuries, we lost most of our savings, and I have cried a great deal. 

Still, I hope to be involved in rulemaking for the law that came out of my bill. 

Joy Rindels Hayden 

Editor’s note: Retired teacher Rindels Hayden fell in January 2017 when she was getting off of a bus. She had just finished physical therapy and was getting off of a Metro Transit bus at 38th and Chicago Avenue. The hydraulic ramp failed to lower correctly because of snow piled on the sidewalk. The back wheels of her walker caught on the uneven ramp, and Rindels Hayden fell, slamming the back of her head on Chicago Avenue. She briefly lost consciousness but did not immediately seek medical help. She wound up with an internal brain bleed and stroke related to the fall, spent days in the hospital and went through rehabilitation. Her medical bills depleted her savings and she relies on a church. 

Five days later, her husband found Rindels Hayden unconscious in bed with blood pouring from her nose — the result of an internal brain bleed and stroke related to the fall. She spent the next 17 days in the hospital and had to undergo rehabilitation. She still suffers sharp pains in the back of her head, and the medical bills associated with her injury and physical therapy exhausted her savings. 

The law she championed for years requires Metro Transit drivers to receive mandatory training on helping persons with disabilities and limited mobility enter and leave buses. The training covers scenarios in which access is made unsafe by snow, ice or other obstructions.

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