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Accessible Barcamps

[Zur deutschen Version]
I’m thinking about attending the Barcamp in Berlin. I could stop thinking about it if I were to find out that the venue is not accessible. But that would be contrary to the Barcamp concept…

For this reason I have written down some important issues to make Barcamps
more accessible for disabled visitors. Maybe the list is not complete but it could be helpful for non-Barcamp-events too:

1. Only an accessible venue is a good venue.

2. Every room must have step-free access. Multi-storey buildings must have a lift. And the lift must also have step-free access.

3. There must be at least one accessible toilet. Accessible toilets are toilets where a wheelchair fits in without any problems. It’s not enough to have a toilet with step-free access.

4. Be transparent regarding accessibility. If you answer most of the accessibility questions during the application process, people with disabilities don’t have to search for answers and feel welcome to the event.

5. Name someone who is responsible for the event’s accessibility (preferably someone with experience). Publish the name and email address of the responsible person on the website.

6. Make the Barcamp website and the application process accessible.
Make sure that people with disabilities can participate and apply. It should be clear who to contact if any problems occur during the application process.

7. Provide travel information for people with disabilities. Where is the next accessible station? Do the buses have ramps?

8. Some venues have induction loop systems for people who use a hearing aid. Provide information about the system on the website.

9. Deaf people can only benefit from the event if there is a sign language interpreter. Maybe you can find a sponsor who is able to cover the costs if deaf participants apply. But ask the deaf participants beforehand if and when they need an interpreter!

10. Assistants of disabled participants aren’t participants and don’t have to apply. Disabled participants who need an assistant can bring a second person with them. That’s also to be published on the website.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Germany License.

Update: The Barcamp in Berlin is accessible for me. But I’ve written the list to support Barcamp organisers in the future.

Accessible London Tube stations 2012

By 2012 the following London tube stations will be accessible (Source: Mayor of London):

1. Barking (Zone 4, currently step-free)

2. Bermondsey (Zone 2, currently step-free)

3. Brixton (Zone 2, currently step-free)

4. Caledonian Road (Zone 2, currently step-free)

5. Canada Water

6. Canary Wharf (Zone 2, currently step-free)

7. Canning Town (Zone 3, currently step-free)

8. Chalfont & Latimer, (Zone C, currently step-free)

9. Chesham (Zone D, currently step-free)

10. Chorleywood (Zone B, currently step-free)

11. Dagenham Heathway (Zone 5, currently step-free)

12. Earls Court (Zone 1/2, currently step-free)

13. East Ham (Zone 3/4, currently step-free)

14. Elm Park (Zone 6, currently step-free)

15. Epping (Zone 6, currently step-free)

16. Fulham Broadway (Zone 2, currently step-free)

17. Hammersmith (District) (Zone 2, currently step-free)

18. Hammersmith (H&C) (Zone 2, currently step-free)

19. Harrow & Wealdstone (Zone 5, currently step-free)

20. Heathrow T123 (Zone 6, currently step-free)

21. Heathrow T4 (Zone 6, currently step-free)

22. Hillingdon (Zone 6, currently step-free)

23. Hounslow East (Zone 4, currently step-free)

24. Hounslow West (Zone 5, currently step-free)

25. Kensington Olympia (Zone 2, currently step-free)

26. Kew Gardens (Zone 3/4, currently step-free)

27. Kilburn (Zone 2, currently step-free)

28. London Bridge (Zone 1, currently step-free)

29. New Cross (Zone 2, currently step-free)

30. North Greenwich (Zone 2/3, currently step-free)

31. Richmond (Zone 4, currently step-free)

32. Southwark (Zone 1, currently step-free)

33. Stanmore (Zone 5, currently step-free)

34. Stratford (Zone 3, currently step-free)

35. Sudbury Town (Zone 4, currently step-free)

36. Tottenham Hale (Zone 3, currently step-free)

37. Upminster (Zone 6, currently step-free)

38. Upney (Zone 4, currently step-free)

39. Uxbridge (Zone 6, currently step-free)

40. West Finchley (Zone 4, currently step-free)

41. West Ham (Zone 3, currently step-free)

42. Westminster (Zone 1, currently step-free)

43. Willesden Junction (Zone 3, currently step-free)

44. Wimbledon (Zone 3, currently step-free)

45. Woodford (Zone 4, currently step-free)

46. Woodside Park (Zone 4, currently step-free)

47. Wembley Park (Zone 4, currently step-free)

48. Acton Town (Zone 3)

49. Archway (Zone 2/3)

50. Clapham South (Zone 2/3)

51. East Putney (Zone 2/3)

52. Edgware (Zone 5)

53. Euston Square (Zone 1)

54. Finchley Central (Zone 4)

55. Finsbury Park (Zone 2)

56. Golders Green (Zone 3)

57. Greenford (Zone 4)

58. Green Park (Zone 1)

59. Hainault (Zone 4)

60. Harrow-on-the-Hill (Zone 5)

61. Heathrow T5 (New Station)

62. Hendon Central (Zone 3/4)

63. High Barnet (Zone 5)

64. Highbury and Islington (Zone 2)

65. King’s Cross St. Pancras (Zone 1)

66. Ladbroke Grove (Zone 2)

67. Leytonstone (Zone 3/4)

68. Mile End (Zone 2)

69. Morden (Zone 4)

70. Newbury Park (Zone 4)

71. North Acton (Zone 2/3)

72. Oakwood (Zone 5)

73. Paddington (Zone 1)

74. Pinner (Zone 5)

75. Rayners Lane (Zone 5)

76. Roding Valley (Zone 4)

77. Shepherd’s Bush (Central line, Zone 2)

78. Southfields (Zone 3)

79. Stockwell (Zone 2)

80. Tooting Broadway (Zone 3)

81. Tottenham Court Road (Zone 1)

82. Tower Hill (Zone 1)

83. Vauxhall (Zone 1/2)

84. Waterloo (Zone 1, Jubilee Line currently step-free)

85. Wood Lane (New Station)

Step-free means accessible from plattform to the exit, not from plattform into the train. :-)

Altenpflegerin

Verkäuferin: „Soll ich Ihnen die Sachen irgendwo einpacken?“
Ich: „Nein, danke. Ich komme schon zurecht.“
Verkäuferin: „Ich kann Ihnen wirklich helfen.“
Ich: „Nein danke. Ich komme klar.
Verkäuferin: „Wirklich nicht?“
Ich: „Nein. Es geht schon.“
Verkäuferin: „Ich kann Ihnen gerne helfen.“
Ich (leicht genervt): „Neeein, danke.“
Verkäuferin: „Wissen Sie, ich kenne mich aus. Ich bin Altenpflegerin.“
Ich: „Soso. Ich bin 29!“

Update: Because this entry is linked by the Disability Blog Carnival (thanx!), here is the english translation:

Saleswoman: „Should I pack in your stuff?“
Me: „No, thank you. I can manage it.“
Saleswoman: „I can really help you.“
Me: „No, thank you. I am fine.“
Saleswoman: „Really?“
Me: „Yes. I am okay.“
Saleswoman: „I could really help you.“
Me (little shirty): „Nooooo, thank you.“
Saleswoman: „You know, I know the ropes. I am an elderly care nurse.“
Me: „Hmmmhmm. I’m 29!“

Dear Dusseldorf Airport

Many thanks to Katja from Colorado/USA, who made it possible that travellers with disabilities from US know, where they shouldn’t arrive in Germany – in Dusseldorf. She translated my blog entry (see below) into English. Don’t miss her weblog!

1000 Dank an Katja aus Colorado/USA, die dafür gesorgt hat, dass auch behinderte Reisende in den USA wissen, wo sie besser in Deutschland nicht laden – in Düsseldorf. Sie war so nett und hat meinen Eintrag ins Englische übersetzt. Übrigens ist ihr Weblog sehr lesenswert!

Dear organizational geniuses of Duesseldorf airport:Imagine an airport where passengers are required give up their shoes at check in, and wear slippers to their gates. Additionally imagine, that the slippers are one size fits all, everyone must shuffle to the airplane in size 13 slippers. Now imagine, that this isn’t done just at departure but also for arrivals. When the plane arrives, the passengers aren’t able to pick up their shoes until they get to the baggage claim. “Outrageous,” you say. And “We would never do such a thing.”

Yes, I think it’s outrageous, too. But that’s exactly what you do. Not to passengers who have shoes, but to wheelchair users. You don’t return their own wheelchairs to them at the plane. No, no. You seat them in an airport wheelchair. And in this they have to get to the baggage claim, that is to say, they have to allow themselves to be pushed. Because the wheelchair is so bad, that only a very few are actually able to move themselves. You’re not interested in the fact that things work very differently at the more than 40 airports I’m familiar with world-wide. A wheelchair is a wheelchair, you think. But that’s not true.

Health insurance pays less and less, but one thing they do pay for: custom-fitted wheelchairs for disabled people who need them. And why is that? Because the health insurance companies, unlike you, have grasped the fact that custom chairs prevent pressure sores and many disabled people are only able to sit up properly in their own wheelchairs. For many, it’s painful and uncomfortable to sit in a wheelchair that doesn’t fit them. There is a difference between those who can’t walk far due to age and those who have spinal cord injuries, MS, or other problems.

You, however, explain to me, that all this is due to safety considerations. Very interesting. Where is the safety risk in bringing my own wheelchair, which has been in the airplane from Hamburg to Duesseldorf the whole time, to me at the gate? Do you honestly believe that someone could have decided to fly from Hamburg to Duesseldorf with explosives in her wheelchair in order to blow up your beautiful airport? One of your employees, when confronted with this question, replied, “But then we would have to carry it up the stairs.” Yes. You would have to do that. They do that at thousands of airports all over the world. I am confident, that your employees could manage it as well. But you have something, that many other airports don’t – elevators that go up to the gates. In fact, you could take the wheelchairs up in them.

“But what about check-in?” I hear you say. Do you know that your colleagues in Hamburg, Munich and elsewhere have these cute little vacuum cleaners? They use them to vacuum the wheelchair, put the dust under a microscope, and confirm for themselves that I’m not sitting on explosives. It takes a whole two minutes. Why can’t you manage this like everyone else in the world? Why do you make your disabled passengers shuffle to the gate in size 13 slippers?

Have you ever heard of laws against discrimination against the disabled? Or of the new EU rulings that give the disabled more rights? No? Well, fine. My lawyer will be enlightening you. Perhaps then you’ll appreciate why it’s unbounded cheek to take my wheelchair away.

From helpfulness to accident insurance

English Version of Mit Hilfsbereitschaft zur Unfallversicherung:
Special Thanx to Katja for translation!

For some time, my relationship with my bank has been troubled. For one thing, they send me come-ons for insurance, insurance that wouldn’t be approved if I applied for it (the disabled in Germany are for all intents and purposes unable to get disability insurance).

For another thing, the bank’s single accessible ATM machine is no longer open after 10 p.m. It doesn’t seem to bother the bank that they’re sending me to use an ATM that’s mounted much too high up on a wall. The branch director tells me I should do my banking business before 10 pm. Ah, only the able bodied are allowed to get their money after 10 pm.
Super. The bank branch is near bars, restaurants and a theater – you think people might need money after 10 pm?

None of this stops Hypovereinbank from using disability in order to advertise, as I discovered today.

I went to my branch to cash a check. As I finished, I noticed that there was a crutch on the counter. When I pointed out to a bank employee that some customer had forgotten a crutch, he began to stammer. The bank had put it there, in order to start conversations with customers about accident insurance. Obviously, the employee did not want to get into that discussion with me! The disabled can rarely get accident insurance here either.

I would love to talk to the ad agency or the department that thought this scheme up. To exploit people’s kindness („someone’s forgotten a crutch“) in order to sell insurance – that may cost them customers.