We all experience some degree of limitation with regards to our mobility at some stage of our lives. It can be as simple as a broken limb, surgery, or back ache that requires us to use crutches, a walking stick or even a wheelchair.
We briefly experience how frustrating it is to access our environment such as getting into our favourite coffee shop, getting out of the car, using the shower and walking any distance.
These are everyday frustrations for a person with disability. Even walking down the main street to go shopping can be fraught with problems as the pavements can be uneven, access to some shops have steps and the doorways may not be wide enough to access with a wheelchair.
The Building Code of Australia (BCA) specifies the design requirements applicable to new building work to provide access to people with disabilities. Particular reference is made to continuous accessible paths of travel and circulation spaces for people who use wheelchairs, access and facilities for people with ambulatory disabilities and access for people with sensory disabilities.
Some modifications you may have observed around our local area are ramps, railings and handrails, wider doors, auditory warning at pedestrian crossings, automated door openings, adapted door handles and small ramps at entrances.
Other modifications include visual indicators on glass doorways, and tactile ground surface indicators to warn people with visual impairments that they are approaching a hazardous situation.
In reference to our built up environment, it should be barrier free and adapted to fulfil the needs of all people equally. All people with a disability or limited mobility should be able to commute between home, work and other destinations without having to navigate dangerous obstructions.
- Interchange Australia provides a range of services for people with disability. For more information go to www.interchangeau.org, www.facebook.com/interchangeau or 1300 112 334.