Anyone who has found their mobility limited will know the frustrations of not being able to get around. Today however, powered wheelchairs and scooters are able to transform the lives of millions of people, allowing them easy access to local shops, amenities and restaurants. Or do they? Although mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs open up the lives of those with restricted mobility, sadly, many UK businesses are still lagging behind. It’s ten years since the disability act required organisations and businesses to ‘reasonable physical adjustments’ for disabled access, yet two thirds of top tourist attractions are still inaccessible. Moreover, many local and independent UK shops and restaurants have not yet made access for those with restricted mobility any easier either.
So what does the law say, and what can you do about being denied access to the places you want to go? First of all, remember you shouldn’t suffer in silence. The law requires for ‘reasonable access’ yet quite often, many businesses don’t understand the impact of failing to provide a ramp, lifts, disabled parking, wider doorways or lack of obstructions. So you should always make managers and owners aware of your problem. If you are having problems accessing a service or building, talk to the manager about the situation and remind of the legal requirements related to access. Older and historic buildings can face more problems in providing disability access, but a bit of thought from business can go a long way - provided you make your voice heard.