The strangest thing about wheelchair accessibility is that it is overlooked. Not only is it bad to leave out wheelchair accessibility out of the town planning, mapping and fitness equation, it has some genuine ramifications for community and business as well.
Briometrix is going to need to bridge the gap between our wheelchair community and the rest of the community, investors, startup and government funding bodies, allies, well wishers and more. Its part and parcel of being a startup to prove our pudding, though while having a kick-ass niche audience also has value in other areas.
So how do we translate the conversation into terms that might get people thinking about wheelchair accessibility as a benefit to the wider community?
Here are some of the ways we can put wheelchair accessibility on the map and light the light-bulbs even when people don’t have a direct need for it- and get the support we need. Check it out.
More traffic means better profits
Wheelchair accessibility matters because it means having a group of people that can have a tough time and be excluded by basic provision of infrastructure enjoying more options. We know that on a lot of levels, town planners really didn’t keep disability in mind for a lot of people. A lot of cities have crappy footpaths, uneven surfaces, narrow walkways and a bunch of other baloney that limits travel options.
Some commercial groups that could benefit from thinking outside the narrow laneway are small business owners and hospitality venues.
We have some help in this arena from bicycle riders.
Cafes especially have been buoyed by becoming more bicycle accessible. For example, offering takeaway coffee windows, bicycle racks and more outdoor seating. This is about riders wanting the ability to access facilities without leaving their bicycle behind. This sort of wheelie thinking and design has potential benefits for wheelchair accessibility.
This has spilled into the pub and hotel arena as well as outdoor eateries.
It demonstrates that considering how people travel and move can bring an additional audience beyond foot traffic.
Welcome wheel traffic!
Greater opportunity means greater participation
University campuses are crying out for students domestically and in the hotly contested international student stakes. How much easier would this be if universities should a demonstrated push towards wheelchair accessibility and an interest in fostering a vibrant community of students?
We have some great Paralympics students come from all kinds of Australian, UK and USA universities. But it isn’t only future stars that are catching the education train.
After reaching the heights of silver medallist at the London Paralympics and bronze at Beijing, Bridie Kean from the Australian Gliders Basketball team attributes education as a grounding influence in her life by completing a bachelor degree as part of the University Illinois Adapted Athletes program.
In an article written for the Conversation, Kean demonstrates brilliantly how a combination of sport and education helps keep young athletes focused during and post high level competition. It also demonstrates the valuable contribution having wheelchair accessibility and wheelchair sporting programs can make in fostering opportunity, inclusion and support.
The first step with every university towards being able to offer appropriate programs for high level wheelchair sports people is to ensuring proper wheelchair accessibility.
Imagine the opportunity to attract international students of the calibre of Kean through providing the right services and the programs to match.
Yet many tertiary learning centres may be missing the key questions in the equation like:
- How suitable is the campus in relation to using a wheelchair as a manual user in relation to gradient, walkways and surfaces?
- Is there a disability support office on campus? This is a telling sign about overall inclusion and wheelchair accessibility
- What and where are the provisions for wheelchair and disability parking?
- Are common areas of campus (such as the gym, bar, pool, large lecture halls, accommodation and library) wheelchair accessible?
- What programs are on offer for wheelchair sports and fitness enthusiasts?
- What’s the general social life like for students with disabilities? Are the opportunities to participate in uni life plentiful?
Talking the talk to universities about the benefits to moving beyond wheelchair accessibility and into fostering an inclusive and positive relationship with the wheelchair community is bound to get some light bulbs happening. That is why Briometrix is doing just that. Stay tuned for details!
The untapped tourism benefits
There are some absolutely fantastic bloggers out there covering the corners of the globe that are wheelchair accessible. From accommodation to dining, tourist attractions to tours, the world is being reported on and mapped one revolution at a time from a variety of cool bloggers.
Having your hospitality or tourism based business featured on any kind of niche blogger or influencer with a large audience can make or break your business.
Sightseeing, adventure parks, theatre, clubs, food, fashion and more is detailed in honest terms and is shared to thousands of interested people.
So the next time you talk turkey with someone in tourism, why not turn them on to blogs where they can:
- Watch car accident survivor and triple amputee John Morris prove those who said he’d never travel again super wrong!
- Go curb free with Cory Lee and watch him tick off his awesome travel bucket list
- Discover the Bimblers, a husband and wife team advocating slow travel and weekend getaways for people with chronic illness
- Snuffle out the best in UK travel and live music with Simply Emma
- Join Australians the Smiths as they hit the road with 3 kids and a wheelchair in search of the best family friendly, wheelchair accessible travel spots
The benefit of promoting wheelchair accessibility at a venue also means that people with all kinds of movement injuries are far more likely to find the facilities and attitude that makes travel rewarding.
Change takes a village
Briometrix is about creating the tools to make a more wheelchair accessible society while improving the fitness outcomes for our community. It’s also about ensuring we have a seat at the table in terms of business, town planning and public service allocation.