London could be the hot new place for accessible travel in 2012 ...

London could be the hot new place for accessible travel in 2012 ...
Photo by: cstoves (Stock Exchange)

Hello, hello, hello! It’s mid-May and that means it’s time for the news round-up!

Every month, I search high and low, far and wide for the absolute latest in news about disabled travel, barrier-free access, and everything that has to do with leading a full and fantastic life for disabled travelers (and their travel companions, naturally.)

There’s a lot going on this month, so let’s get to it.

Come aboard and follow me, it’s time for news!

I try my best to be an active guy, and it’s no secret that I like to highlight disabled athletes and activities that folks with different physical abilities can get involved in to stay in shape. If you’ve ever wanted to add a bike ride to your vacation but don’t feel like you can, I’ve got good news: with the ReActive Adaptions handcycle bike, those hopes can become a reality. Designed by a hardcore athlete who was paralyzed in a construction accident, these bikes are made for hard backcountry riding and can be used by paraplegic bikers. Described as “lighter weight yet virtually indestructible,” the bikes provide freedom and reliability. Check out the official site for the bomber offroad handcyle.

Of course, disability-friendly transportation is a big deal, whether it’s people-powered or public transit. The Washington Post tells us that the Justice Department has announced two intercity bus companies, formerly plagued by accessibility complaints, have agreed to make their fleets fully accessible to disabled riders and wheelchair users. The two companies, both part of Megabus, are based in Chicago, Illinois and Elizabeth, New Jersey. Megabus itself is an express service that runs between nearly 50 major cities: let’s hope its other subsidiaries get with the program soon, so we can recommend them later!

A misunderstanding about an airplane lavatory – which caused a disabled U.N. official to miss his international flight! – is behind the European Union’s “vow” to improve travel rights for disabled travelers, The Independent reports. The European Union’s transport commissioner is now hustling to present new accessible transportation measures to take effect in time for 2012, when the Special Olympics in London will attract spectators and athletes from around the world. As we learned during our China access guide, an event like the Special Olympics can really kick accessibility into high gear.

Elsewhere in the world, The Times of India reveals that country’s ongoing battle to provide accessible train services, while in Ballymena, Ireland, work is full steam ahead for bus station upgrades including more accessibility features. All the way over in Thailand, two hard-working blind students achieved top university placement – in a country not exactly lauded for accessibility, mind you – overcoming academic challenges with little or no accommodations along the way. Congratulations, guys! And last, but most definitely not least, check out The Mail Online’s feature on Hoe Grange Holidays, a gold-winner for accessibility in the UK’s “Enjoy England Award for Excellence.” Hoe Grange offers four fully accessible log cabins for disabled travelers to enjoy.

Thanks for coming along to this week’s Disabled Travelers news round-up! I can’t wait to visit again next week when we’ll be moving ahead with out “Best Places to Retire” series. Don’t miss out; drop by the DT blog every Friday for a fresh new post!


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