International Day of People with Disability: 11 ways the UK still doesn’t make space for disabled people
Written by Vicky Kuhn
As a disabled person, I am forever trying to find my place in a world that refuses to make a place for me.
Though the disability rights movement is becoming stronger every day, pleading with the world to please make a space for adults and children with various physical, mental and physiological conditions, we are still largely forgotten, or worse pushed aside in the few areas of everyday life that have evolved to include us.
On International Day of People with Disability I’ve chosen to speak out again and highlight some of the ways that the world still doesn’t make space for disabled people.
1. The Tube. Public transport is a subset in and of itself in the realms of disabled access, but I would be remiss if I didn’t start with the Tube. Three quarters of stations are not wheelchair accessible.
2. The bus. The ever generous TFL gives us other options, well one – the bus. London buses are equipped with ramps and spaces for wheelchairs. Though the journey time will usually quadruple that of a Tube journey, at least we have a way to get where we’re going, right?
3. Wrong. More and more frequently wheelchair spaces on the bus are being taken by parents with large buggies, and though wheelchairs take priority for this space (we can’t fold down our wheelchairs) the driver will often be reluctant to ask the parents to move.
4. Trains (though not all stations) are largely wheelchair accessible and fully equipped with ramps in each accessible carriage. Though the ramp takes approximately two minutes to fit, disabled passengers are ‘strongly advised’ to book ahead, and not just purchase a ticket like all other customers.
5. Highstreet stores of all types often flagrantly disregard the fact that they should be wheelchair accessible by law.
6. Fashion brands that myself and 1,000’s of other disabled people frequent refuse to represent us in their advertising and disregard us as part of their target market.
7. Large concert venues and other such buildings that host major events are often only partially wheelchair accessible, if at all.
8. Hotels rarely have full provisions for customers with disabilities. Even those who do fail to see disabled customers as people, and only fit out accessible rooms with single or twin beds.
9. There’s a total lack of understanding of what ‘wheelchair accessible’ actually means.
10. ‘Walking’ (or wheeling) is a sure fire way to get from A to B in wheelchair right? But lack of dropped kerbs, uneven paving and even total absence of pavement can make navigating our way around pretty dicey.
For me, that’s a day out with just a pinch of the things I need to consider. Let’s hope for serious improvements and changes in attitude in the very near future.
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- Bill on mental capacity and liberty deprivation ‘will take disability rights backwards’ - 14/09/2018
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- Government ‘discriminated against DPOs’ in awarding £29m development programme - 12/09/2018
- Anger over government’s ‘pathetic’ election access report - 10/09/2018
International Day of People with Disability: 11 ways the UK still doesn’t make space for disabled people - 3 Dec 2015
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