Monday, August 20, 2018
Why shouldn't every beach have chairs like this?
This is a WaterWheels—a floating three-wheeled beach buggy. Six of them landed on the Asbury Park, New Jersey beach this season thanks to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. They also installed AccessDeck, extended mats that won't sink into the sand, at several beach entrances. The initiative was modeled after one in Miami Beach, reports NJ.com.
Awesome, I thought. Also: What's taken so long? Also: How many beaches will get these in the near future? Not just the rolling beach chairs, but the kind that enable people with disabilities to get in the water.
I started noticing beach wheelchairs after I had Max, and I got a very small sense of how hard it can be to navigate the world when you have mobility challenges. You can roll those big-wheeled beach chairs into the water. But you're out of luck if you'd like to take a dip, as people at the beach (and the pool) like to do. WaterWheels have been on the market for nearly four years. As is often the case with mobility equipment, they aren't cheap; they run a couple of thousand dollars. Still: It seems like they should be a rightful part of public accessibility to beaches.
There's an awesome foundation in Miami, The Sabrina Cohen Foundation, that holds Adaptive Beach Days on the first and third Sundays of the month. I love that. But again: Shouldn't every day be a beach day for people with disabilities? Of course. Imagine if you lived by the ocean but were only able to enjoy the water a couple of days a month, because it might not be possible for your partner or a friend to carry you in. Imagine.
Clubs like The Elks and The Rotary Club and the Lions Club often fundraise to provide beach wheelchairs to city Parks and Recreation Departments, so you could call your local one. But it seems like municipalities should be building the costs of chairs like these into their budgets.
Cities often look to improve quality of life for residents. It seems like they should be just as concerned about equality of life.
Image: NJ.com video