The word every mobility troubled person loves to see. That big blue badge of a wheelchair like a shinning beacon that they can now enter the previously un enterable. But is this a god send or are some places actually not as disabled friendly as they first appear. Many a time I have laughed at the plainly obvious not accessible in the apparently all welcome venues. High curbs along side blue badge spaces — meaning it’s either heaving up the wheelchair or juggling stepping up a often steep curb on crutches or clutching a friends arm onto pavement. The alternative, dodging cars whilst wheeling along a sometimes very busy road until you reach the sacred corner where a lowered curb is thankfully placed.
Getting toes crunched by on coming doors is another beloved past time. When push to open buttons are placed next to a door which insist on opening into your outstretched wheelchair. I have never understood why these offenders never open away from the direction in which the blue button is pressed. But this made dash from an encroaching door can often be better than the alternative. No push button at all. The most hilarious place I have witnessed this lack of a common sense is on hotel doors which lead to accessible rooms. The room itself may be wheel friendly, but unfortunalety only those of superhuman powers can acsess. Thresholds are another troublesome fellar. Often testing the balance and strength of those on wheels. Attempting to push over a tiny lip of concreate or metal requires more skill than first believed and can leave the in need of flat surfaces feeling discharged that this blue friendly door has an elephant standing on its threshold.
Manners teach us not to discuss toilet habits. Mabye this is why disabled toilets can more likely be a flight of stairs covered in spikes when it comes to wheelchair friendly. Most are to small to swing a cat in let alone squeeze an wheelchair in. Trapping the poor soul inside their chair, unable to reach their destination. Hand dryers placed on back walls behind the toilet,mirrors to high, coat hooks nailed into the very heights of doors and having to share with baby changing fercilites all add to the list. Those ladies and gents don’t seem to shabby after all ?
Every shop has shelfs of items to buy or racks of sewn material to rummaged through. The space between these stacks of needed or wanted daily treasures are set for the walking. Leaving space for a two person shuffle can often mean those left of wheels are embarrassingly left to stare at these isle, unable to pass through to reach the treasures. Many a time have I gone to grab something from a shelf, only to find wheels don’t fit. Leaving angry customers behind my stuck wheelchair as I try to revers out of this tight squeeze, bashing and banging shelfs and produce and toes in my quest for freedom. Insisting items placed lovingly in stacks of the floor turn an ordinary shop into a mud run like A obstacle course. Being greeted my angry stares of shop owners as I struggle to manoeuvre their annoyingly placed stock. As you can guess tiny independent shops are the most troublesome. Often ending in me sitting out side the door to the unreachable whilst my company run inside to retrieve there find. But some supermarkets can be just as bad. Mini supermarkets, supermarket extras and petrol stations seem oblivious to the size of a wheelchair. Hosting accessible doors and ramps, but leaving the inside a maze of obstacle and abandonment.
These are just some of the unthought of non accessible in the so said accessible world. Problems which are missed by those who have never experienced disability. And often passed as accessible when tested by the non disabled. They proved light laughter as most are glaringly obvious but that doesn’t take away from the inconvenience.