Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

I Got In, Now Let Me Out, Please!

Filed under: Accessibility 100 — by at 11:00 pm on Monday, November 3, 2008

Accessibility 100Today Darrell and I met my aunt and uncle for formally introductions to their newest, most adorable family member. Then the four of us went for a pre-birthday lunch.

I decided to use the washroom before ordering. The separate wheelchair washroom was an encouraging sign – until I noticed the door knob (rather than a lever handle). No problem. I’m not that much of a weakling; I can manage a door knob – or so I thought. The knob turned out to be the stiffest one I had ever encountered, and the door, one of the heaviest. A fellow diner kindly held the door open for me; she even had difficulty opening it.

Coming out of the washroom was more challenging. With my left hand, I grabbed the knob and turned and turned and turned, then pulled. With my right hand, my bad hand, I drove my scooter forward to open the door further. Needing only another inch to fully open the door beyond my back wheel, my left hand slipped. My left foot didn’t catch the door in time. The door closed. I tried again, and again. Eventually a waitress saw me struggling and rescued me.

A small weigh scale
(Photo credit: Yaroslav B.)

A door need not be that heavy. A door needs only weigh 5lbs to open and can be measured using a fish scale, somewhat similar to the one shown here. Most door closures can be adjusted with a screw driver, making them lighter to open.

With a lighter door and a lever handle (like this one from Canadian Tire for $45), the wheelchair washroom would be even more accessible.

Accessibility 100 is a series of 100 easy-to-implement, free and inexpensive tips for improving accessibility for people with disabilities. This is a community project. Feel free to leave your comments, questions and ideas for future Accessibility 100 posts.

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Comment by Joanna Young

November 4, 2008 @ 1:04 am

Experiences like this must drive you round the twist – especially when the solutions are so simple and inexpensive!

Comment by Cyndi in BC

November 4, 2008 @ 10:56 am

Doors!! The bane of the wheelchair user. One problem I’ve encountered again and again is when the door opens to the inside and the gyrations one must use to get into the washroom, get the door closed and to be able to turn the chair around. Why can’t they have the door open outwards?

Comment by Lillie Ammann

November 4, 2008 @ 2:24 pm

I had this experience many times when I used a scooter for several years after a stroke. You would think special restrooms for handicapped access would be accessible.

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