Our survey of Americans with disabilities revealed that:
- 28% encounter a barrier to a building, transportation or service once a week
- 20% encounter a barrier at least once a day
- 36% live in a home that is not wheelchair accessible; of this group:
- 70% have steps leading into the home
- 51% cannot afford to make their homes wheelchair accessible
- 25% say they find ways to “deal with” the challenges and inconveniences
- 16% say that landlord/homeowner/condo board won’t allow modifications
Top 5 challenges to wheelchair/scooter users:
- Unsafe sidewalks due to hazardous slopes, uplifted/deteriorated/blocked sections of sidewalk.
- Narrow aisles/thruways in public places
- Non-compliant curbs and crosswalks
- Blocked wheelchair ramps
- Buildings that are completely inaccessible
In January 1987, Robert L. Burgdorf Jr. drafted the The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as “a response to an appalling problem: widespread, systemic, inhumane discrimination against people with disabilities.” On July 26, 1990 the bill that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public was signed into law. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. Problem solved, right? Not exactly.
In March 2017, we surveyed 554 Americans with disabilities (including people who live with or are companions to people with disabilities). The provisions of the ADA have effectively removed many barriers, but our survey revealed that far too many still remain.
Americans with disabilities often encounter barriers that prevent them from entering a building, accessing transportation or accessing a service. 28% of survey respondents say that, on average, they encounter a barrier once per week. 12% said it happens multiple times per day!
What Gets in the Way?
Those who depend on a wheelchair or scooter (or accompany someone who does) were asked to rank a list of common barriers and obstacles that prevent them from entering a building, accessing transportation or accessing a service in order of the most frequent challenge to the least frequent challenge. The #1 complaint: Unsafe sidewalks due to things like hazardous slopes, uplifted and/or deteriorated sections and sections of sidewalk blocked by poles, trees and other obstructions.
Crumbling sidewalks and roads are a common sight in many communities. In 2015, the city of Los Angeles agreed to fix a huge backlog of crumbling, impassable sidewalks and remove other barriers that prevented wheelchair access–a violation of the ADA. The L.A. City Council took this action only after attorneys for the disabled filed a lawsuit.
Continue onto 1800WheelChair to read the complete article.