When searching for wheelchair accessible or handicap accessible places on the Internet, you should ask yourself the following questions, and pay close attention to the answers you find!
Is there a wheelchair accessible entrance?
As the person: Having a wheelchair accessible entrance is important because it will let you know if you will need additional assistance getting into the establishment.
As the business: Businesses should only answer ‘Yes’ to this question if the wheelchair accessible entrance to the business is approximately one meter wide and does NOT have steps. If your business has one of more steps, you should have a permanent ramp. A moveable ramp is also acceptable. If your business has an entryway that only has revolving doors, you should always mark, ‘No’ to being wheelchair accessible.
Is there wheelchair accessible seating?
As the person: Especially if you are searching for a good place to eat dinner with family or friends, you always want to make sure that there are wheelchair accessible seating options. This ensures that you will have enough room to comfortably sit at and navigate the table.
As the business: Businesses should only answer ‘Yes’ if the main area of the business can be access entirely without stairs and there is enough space for someone in a wheelchair to comfortably sit at a table. For example, if your business only had pub height tables, it would not be considered “wheelchair-friendly”.
Is there wheelchair/handicap parking?
As the person: Having handicap or wheelchair accessible parking is important because of the proximity of the space to the place of business, but more importantly because wheelchair accessible spaces are wider to allow you to comfortably navigate getting into and out of your vehicle if needed.
As the business: Businesses should only answer ‘Yes’ if you actually have designated parking spots for those with mobility needs, marked by an official placard, sign, and/or painting on the ground.
Is there a wheelchair accessible elevator?
As the person: It is unrealistic to expect every business or place that you visit to be on one level. However, it is reasonable to expect that if a business deems itself ‘handicap-accessible’ and is located in a multi-level building – it should have a wheelchair-friendly elevator.
As the business: Businesses who are multi-storied and who claim to be wheelchair accessible should have an elevator that is large enough to accommodate a wheelchair + other passengers. If you do not have an elevator at all but have more than one story, you cannot claim to be wheelchair-friendly.