Chillon Castle on Lake Geneva, Switzerland

Chillon Castle on Lake Geneva, Switzerland Photo by: Dimitri Castrique (Stock Exchange)

Howdy and welcome back to Disabled Travelers!

I’m back from vacation and ready to roll with more valuable tips, handicapped travel resources, and access guides here at the happeningest blog on the ‘net for disabled globetrotters.

It’s time for our monthly news round-up, where we’ll once again visit top media outlets and blogs reporting on the latest developments in the wide world of wheelchair accessible travel.

Let’s get underway!

Interesting information on walkability and accessibility from Sightline Daily, a publication from the Sightline Institute on sustainability in the northwest. An able-bodied writer introduced to the perils of inaccessibility after breaking his ankle discusses sustainable, human-level communities, barrier-free access, and the environment. It’s also worth pointing out, which rates how walkable a location is, since pedestrian-friendly design is highly correlated with mobility impaired access. Walkscore gives you information on businesses and attractions within a “walkable” radius of a given address, which can also be very useful in planning an accessible trip. The website uses map data from MapQuest, so international destinations are covered.

In an inspiring piece from the Southwest Iowa News, we learn that the 63-day Sea to Shining Sea Ride Across America is ongoing as we speak. This 4,000-mile journey from San Francisco, CA to Virginia Beach is being undertaken by a diverse range of riders, many military veterans with disabilities stemming from service-related injuries. Though there are a few able-bodied personnel among the riders, the emphasis is definitely on handicapped members, who are proving there’s nothing they can’t do with this one-of-a-kind cross-country adventure. Their courage and tenacity is an example to us all!

As we’ve definitely learned in previous posts, Disney is no slouch when it comes to making its parks wheelchair accessible; accessible hotels and attractions abound near and throughout Disney Land, Disneyworld, and even international locations. But there’s always room for improvement, and Disney is answering the call by deploying more technology to help the disabled, especially blind and deaf park guests. New, more inclusive measures include wireless headsets for blind or deaf patrons that help them experience and enjoy the amenities. To date, these new sets have been deployed in about 50% of the attractions across Disney’s four Florida parks. Out of 100,000 guests per day, Disney estimates that several thousand are disabled, so this is a great advance!

From the UK’s Daily Telegraph, Sophie Butler provides information on finding accessible accommodations. Some choice information here on accessible hotels, tour operators, airlines, and a lot of other useful stuff, especially good if you plan to be visiting the UK itself. I highly recommend the Telegraph’s weekly travel news round-up for inside information on the UK and Europe, though news is mixed: a recent article reports that airline travel for disabled flyers in the EU hasn’t gotten any easier, despite recent legislation to protect disabled travelers. Beware of airlines you don’t know well, and consider Eurostar for your European trips!

Finally, in domestic news, Cleveland is now providing travel trainers to help the disabled use regular bus lines in place of specialized door-to-door paratransit services. It’s good to see the city reaching out and taking a proactive role to help people access a range of options and feel more integrated into their community – I just hope this isn’t a signal toward the decline of paratransit! Mass transit is a valuable way to get around in many U.S. cities where it’s available, whether you’re a visitor or a long-term resident, so this is an interesting move and definitely something worth checking out.

That’s what’s happening this July! Stay tuned to Disabled Travelers for more news, facts, and information than you can shake a stick at! See you again soon, and adventure on!


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