Today is  Sunday 26th May 2024   ~ a better place to be 

  the "Access Denied" FAQ (Frequently Answered Questions)

1. So what's the problem, exactly?

Lack of Education Lack of Consideration Outdated Designs Ineffective Designs Nasty Surprises

Non-Dropped Kerb Bad Speed Bumps Overgrown Paths Gravel Paths Natural Erosion

Steps Steps Idiot Parking Deliberate Barrier Overgrown Hedges

Do you have any solutions to offer?

Some. Not always specific "solutions", as such, (though we have some...) more a strategy for politely but firmly making big business and other organisations aware of the full implications of the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) and the specific ways in which the requirements of the law are still not being met by them. "Human Decency", with just a hint of "Change is Expected" would appear to be the watch words.

The majority of the most obvious problems have aleardy been dealt with to a large extent. Shopping centres and libraries and the like will already have complied with the legislation for the most part... what remains are largely out of town improvements where compliance will not be deemed cost effective until such time as an actual law suits threatens. Also minority interests ("walking", is a classic example) in which it is assumed by the powers that be that disabled people don't really have a lot of interest in going for "walks". There is also the typical "motor cycle barrier which doesn't actually stop a motor cycle" syndrome to take into consideration... namely instances in which some individual (probably able bodied - and certainly not motor cycle aware) aided and abbetted by corporate indifference, conspired to bring to fruition the first daft idea for a barrier that came into his head.

And all these problem causers will have different solutions. You simply can't deal with a farmer's 50 year old kissing gate barrier in the same way as you can brand new mass-marketed corporate incompetence. Offer to fit a RADAR LOCK (and promise not to abuse it) to the farmer's main gate in echange for his old padlock and that specific probelm is probably solved... Write to a council telling them that their head barrier-designer is actually a complete idiot and their 100+ newly-installed barriers had better be removed immediately (or else) and your problems are only just beginning.

Simple solutions are always the best... communicate with the people who's barriers you'd like to see removed or modified... and tell them exactly HOW their barrier effects your life. If you can - suggest ways in which it might be more cost effective to modify it rather than replace it. Be friendly and inventive and don't expect the world to bow down at your feet. there's no point at all in alienating someone who might otherwise have been able to help you. If all those efforts are ineffective then follow them up with a polite letter to the local rag relating your experience of trying to resolve your problem - explaining the way you feel not only about the problem but also about the way you were dealt with. Ask the public to help and offer a good case and public opinion might just tip the ballance in your favour in the minds of corporate bodies who have customers to keep.

On a smaller scale and altogether more personal scale you mighlt like to offer to trim overgrown public paths yourself and/or make it part of a "community regeneration scheme" in which the local parks or highways department could get involved by way of the loan of equipment and/or manpower. Contact your local news paper to publicly highlight aspects of the DDA which still appear to be unresloved 9 full years after the law was first enacted and ask if they know what the problem is... is it attitudes?... is it cash?... is there anything we (the public) can do to help?...

Very few problems really are insurmountable in the long run - but if push comes to shove there is always the fact that since October 2004 the law is firmly and squarely on your side. Don't flout that fact like a sledge hammer, keep it as your ace and only use it as the last resort. The courts and tribunals which resolve such matters are not only personally draining in the extreme (no fit place for an already-disabled individual to pass their time) but also highly ineffective and time consuming compared to gaining the trust and respect of the public at large and sharing with them the responsibility of leaving the world a better more considerate place than you found it.


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