Happy Make Way Day 2021! To mark Make Way Day 2021 Get The Shifts’ Ann Marie shares her top tips for making Ireland more accessible for those with access issues.
This is the day that Ireland uses to highlight the everyday problems faced by people with access issues when trying to get around and do their thing! I, myself, come with my own set of wheels and a top speed of 8km per hour 😊 so I wanted to share 5 tips that everybody can do to make my speeding around a little easier, leaving me to focus on looking pretty as I fly past.
- Don’t park your car half on the footpath! It’s called a footpath for a reason. Your car taking half the space could potentially double my journey time unexpectedly because I can’t come off the footpath and hop back on with my chair. This means I have to either A) add extra time on to my journey trying to find another dipped curb, or B) in some cases not get to where I need to go! A serious pain, particularly if it’s raining! So next time you’re thinking about parking, ask yourself have I left enough room for a wheelchair user to continue to use the footpath safely??
- Think carefully when leaving items like wheelie bins or bikes on the footpath outside your home, office or when running to the shop for 5 minutes to grab your lunchtime coffee. It might be 5 minutes for you, but again it could be a whole day ruined for me. In some cases, it could mean damage to my chair, which can cause hassle for weeks at a time, is seriously stressful and makes me grumpy, and I’m no craic when I’m grumpy, lads, trust me.
- Don’t block the things that are there to make getting around easier. There is nothing more frustrating than actually making it to the end of a footpath only to discover somebody has parked directly in front of or left something not on the footpath but right at the place where I’m supposed to come to access the place I’m going.
- If you do see me or someone like me rolling around somewhere that looks unusual or unsafe and are concerned as to why come and ask me if you want to, but don’t come up to me and tell me, “you really should be on the footpath, or that really isn’t safe”. I’m normally fully aware what I’m doing is a bit dodgy, but I usually have a genuine reason like the ones highlighted above, and I’m already stressing about the risk.
- When you’re walking around just every once in a while think like your me (sit in my seat if you will) and think about the tiny changes you can make to help me get around a little bit easier. It’ll stop me being grumpy, and if your really good, I might even give you a lift home from a work party on my back one night 😊