Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How To: Wheelchairs and Escalators… A Love Story. | How I Roll

by Jacob

The “ADA” expressly excludes escalators as “accessible means of egress”… I say screw that… it’s a fantastic means of “egress”!

I’ve met many people in wheelchairs who are physically able to ride an escalator, yet never make an attempt. This bothers me, for them…. They became paralyzed and see themselves as disabled, which means they can’t do things. Well much of this “disability” is self-inflicted. I encourage people in wheelchairs to venture out of their comfort zone and attempt things that make them anxious and nervous. They say “Well why would I do that if it makes me nervous and afraid?!”. To which I reply “I bet you $56 you try it 100 times and it won’t make you feel nervous or afraid, it’ll just feel normal… And there’s nothing disabled about something feeling normal”.

I know what you’re thinking… If a person is paralyzed a wheelchair why on earth would they use an escalator, especially if there’s a perfectly good elevator “over there”?!! Well, I have a reasonable and logical answer.. Lets say I want to go to the second floor of a shopping mall and the elevator is 50 meters away. I then notice an escalator 3 meters away, which happens to be going directly where I want to be. In a wheelchair or standing on 2 feet, if an escalator is closer than the elevator, it would logically make sense to utilize it, assuming you’re capable of doing so. Don’t get it twisted, I’m not suggesting you roll up and down every escalator you see just to get a reaction out of the people around you. But if the only thing between you and the place you’d like to be is an escalator, don’t go looking for the elevator!

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