Access My A*se!

I’ve seen a lot of changes in my 30 plus years of pushing a wheelchair. When I first got hurt there were not even cut outs in gutters and footpaths. I had to push my wheelchair along the edge of the road.

Slowly, I have watched as councils and governments legislated changes and made slow progress to allow wheelchair users to get around in the community.
Public buildings such as libraries and community centres, council buildings, public toilets and many other facilities started to include ramp access, lifts or accessible buildings. We also started looking at ways to make it easier for all disabilities to live and work, simple things like tactile surfaces for vision impaired people, audible traffic lights, Braille on signs and many more…

But we still have a long way to go. I’ve been to a few places in the last 12 months that still need to do a bit of work to “Get it right”.

While I’m on this topic, I should say that I understand not EVERYTHING can be made accessible. There are natural landscapes and areas that will never be fully accessible to someone with a mobility impairment. The one thing that really pisses me off, is people who say that their venue or facility is “Accessible” but in actual fact it is “Not”.

Imagine for a second that you had to use a wheelchair like me, and you wanted to go somewhere with your family or friends. So you do the right thing and call them up and ask “Is it wheelchair friendly?” and they say “Yes”…. so off you go and when you get there, you find a couple of steps out the front, or a doorway too narrow to get a wheelchair through. It’s extremely disappointing and usually ruins the day!

So please, please, please…

If you can’t provide access just be honest and upfront, do say “I’m sorry but our venue/facility/event is not very wheelchair accessible”. At least it then gives me the opportunity to find somewhere that is!

dont hurt yourself, james wood, safety speaker, stay safe, wheelchair
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