Here is a round-up of the latest news in the world of accessible travel and disability, including a wheelchair user who took his family on an RV road trip, an accessible catamaran, new protections for disabled airline passengers in Japan, wheelchair taxi issues and more.

Accessible travel news from around the web:

  • Louisiana Girl Scout Troop builds wheelchair ramp — For their Take Action Project, the members of Girl Scout Troop 10437 in Louisiana designed and built a wheelchair access ramp at Life Church, their local meeting place. The ramp has already been used by Troop Leader Elizabeth Matherne, who herself is a paraplegic wheelchair user. Way to go, Girl Scouts – thank you for making your community a more accessible place!
  • Wheelchair user takes his family on RV trip across America — This summer, Brian Peachey and his wife sold their home, bought an RV and hit the road with their three kids. An interesting story on its own, but there is an added dimension: Brian is a wheelchair user. This story in his local paper gives an interesting look at how he’s shining the light on possibility through his family’s accessible vacation. Check it out, and be sure to watch his videos on YouTube!
The Peachey family with their RV.
The Peachey family with their RV. | Photo by Dan Marschka/Lancaster Online.
  • Japanese Government: Airlines must make boarding barrier-free for wheelchair users — In preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the Japanese Government has said that all airlines must allow disabled passengers to board airplanes while seated in a wheelchair, with a deadline of this October. At many smaller airports in Japan, wheelchair users have had to crawl off airplanes. Under these new rules, wheelchair lifts and aisle chairs will need to be provided. To read more about how international sporting events improve accessibility, click here.
  • Accessible Catamaran sails up and down U.S. East Coast — The Impossible Dream, a 60-foot catamaran that is wheelchair accessible and crewed by people of mixed abilities, will sail from Florida to Maine and back over the next several months. People with disabilities will be invited to come aboard the vessel for a short sail at various ports along the way.
Two wheelchair users on the deck of the Impossible Dream.
Two wheelchair users on the deck of the Impossible Dream. | Photo courtesy The Salem News.
  • Akron, Ohio: Sidewalks make travel difficult for wheelchair users — CBS Channel 19 examined sidewalk accessibility in Akron, Ohio and found that they are presenting significant barriers to wheelchair users. Crumbling sidewalks make getting around harder for wheelchair users, and it is good to see a spotlight put on this issue.
  • Taxi companies leave UK man stranded without an accessible ride — Stephen Blanshard, a 33-year-old wheelchair user from Rock Ferry, UK, was left stranded on a night out with friends, due to no wheelchair taxis being available. Without access to accessible transportation, Blanshard’s friends spent three hours pushing him and his power wheelchair nearly six miles home. “Something needs to be done to rectify this as it’s happened to me twice before,” he said to the Liverpool Echo.
Stephen Blanshard seated in his motorized wheelchair.
Stephen Blanshard seated in his motorized wheelchair. | Photo by Gavin Trafford/Liverpool Echo.
  • This MarketWatch story with a deceptive headline — Last month, I debunked the idea of “wheelchair imposters” who fake a disability to board first at the airport. You can read my article by clicking here. This week, MarketWatch ran a story with the headline “People are using wheelchairs at airports to get through security faster” – naturally, they didn’t speak to a single disabled frequent flyer. The travel expert they did ask said that it doesn’t happen often. What we’re left with is a clickbait headline that will promote discrimination against wheelchair users in airports. Way to go, media.

Check back every couple of weeks for the latest roundup of accessible travel news. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter to stay in the know!

Feature image courtesy The Advocate, Baton Rouge, LA.

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