I struggled with this today. I tend to keep my opinions to myself unless the issue really exercises me, unless I’m really passionate about it. I don’t like to refer to myself as an activist or a trouble maker. There is one aspect of life that I am passionate and that is accessibility which also encompasses inaccessibility. Accessibility is a right not a privilege.
It is not always difficult to make places accessible, just a bit of thought and common sense. By way of explanation let me give you a number of examples.
- A perfectly spacious toilet with the door opening inward but when a wheelchair is inside it is impossible to close the door. At times like this privacy is important.
- A tourist attraction with 2 flights of steps up and the directions for wheelchair access nestled at the top of the first flight.
- A hotel with a perfectly accessible and spacious toilet in the basement area but no access for a wheelchair user.
- A hotel with a wheelchair accessible room but the toilet and shower area are inaccessible.
- A section of a hospital that has no access for wheelchair users.
- A new restaurant that has all its toilet facilities up a flight of stairs. The owners felt it unnecessary to have a wheelchair accessible toilet.
- A church with a disabled parking space at the furthest point from the door at the bottom of a hill.
These are not fantasies. These are places I have experienced personally. Thoughtlessness and bad design are the root cause. It seems that the premises have complied with the letter of the law but ignored the spirit of the law. The resolutions are listed below in the same order as above
- An outward opening door was the solution
- The notice is now placed at the bottom of the steps
- I have made suggestions but no action has been taken
- I don’t have an update on this hotel
- This issue has now been rectified
- Apparently there was no legal necessity
- Apparently there is no legal requirement regarding the location of such spaces
Consideration and empathy at the design stage are crucial to make our world accessible.Please feel free to comment or use the contact form