The most frequently asked question about hotel room accessibility by readers concerns bed height — why are hotel beds so tall? Tall beds are a major accessibility barrier to wheelchair users, who face difficulty in transferring between uneven surfaces.

I explored this query in detail in a Reader Mailbag blog post, and it comes down to three major points: the ADA does not set a maximum bed height requirement, a large number of semi-ambulatory disabled people need a taller bed, and the design trend of taller beds in hotels is en vogue.

Last week, I became aware of a petition started by Gina Schuh that has nearly 50,000 signatures. The petition calls upon the United States Access Board and elected officials to set new standards for the accessibility of beds in lodging facilities, to include the following:

  1. Address bed height standards in ADA Standards to have minimum and maximum bed heights.
  2. Address clearance under bed in ADA Standards to require minimum clearance to ensure access for lifts.
  3. Require lodging facilities to provide bed height and under bed clearance in room description.

The last point, in my view, is the most important. With greater access to information on hotel room accessibility, disabled travelers can make an informed decision about where to stay based on their individual accessibility needs.

Please join me in adding your name to the petition, so that we can bring attention to this critical accessibility barrier for wheelchair users.

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