Friday, October 21, 2011

How to Solve Barriers to Wheelchair Access on Public Transit

Hey ho away we go riding on a donkey.

Hey, wait a minute. I need something more exciting; something more..... well, you know, exotic!

What can I ride?

Hmmm, I know! Why not ride an Ostrich?

Yes, I think I'm going to take up Ostrich riding. I'm serious. I've thought about this one allot.

If I am expected to drive my wheelchair over terrain with potholes, speed humps, broken sidewalks, or up steep curb cuts (that make it impossible to avoid doing a wheelie) or fly off curbs that had markings to indicate a level slope that the builder forgot to build, then I think riding an Ostrich would be a whole lot safer.

Just think of the advantages an Ostrich would bring. If you think I drive too fast now (13 kms/hr full out), you ain't seen nothing yet. An Ostrich can run 70 kms/hr. I'll be leaving you folks in the dust.

No more back pain from hitting the bumps in my wheelchair or on the bus.

With an Ostrich I won't even need the bus anymore. In fact, my transportation problems would be solved, because riding an Ostrich would be free. Instead of paying an average of $200/mth for the Access Bus, or $46.50 for a bus pass to get unlimited rides on Kingston Transit with a hitch – wheelchair users can only use part of the service because it is not fully accessible yet, then I think I would prefer to ride the environmentally friendly Ostrich for free so I can get to everywhere I need to go, very very fast.

Kingston Transit would be put to shame because, instead of it taking 45 minutes to get to a Toastmaster Meeting at Trillium Ridge from my place downtown, it would only take 10 minutes to do the trip by Ostrich. In fact, I would no longer have to worry about finding a ride home because, with the buses on this route ending their run at 7:00 pm, the Ostrich would run for free all night if I treat it right and give it food.

You think I'm kidding and dreaming the impossible don't you?

Well for those who doubt it can be done, let me educate you with some light-hearted trivia.

An Ostrich stands 6-9 feet tall
They can run at speeds of 70 kms/hr
They are capable of carrying a fully grown adult
They actually hold Ostrich races in South Africa,
A rider holds on to the wings for stability when they are riding the Ostrich.

As an aside, did you know an Ostrich egg is 6" x 5" in diameter and weighs approximately 3 pounds? It is the equivalent of 24 chicken eggs and the shell is so strong that a human can stand on it. In fact, they can jump on it and not break the egg. This is because an Ostrich weighs between 250 - 300 pounds and nature has its way of making sure the mother Ostrich won't inadvertently break the egg when she lays on it.

So what is the point of this story?

Well, the point of this story is to entertain you and to illustrate that, when life seems to throw too much at you, and it seems to make no sense at all, you can always dream up ways to make yourself laugh. If you do this, I guarantee you it will help you to kick in nature's natural anti-depressant - the endorphins. By activating your endorphins, it will make it a whole lot easier to get through those, oh so frustrating, days.

I'll therefore close with a challenge. My challenge is, the next time things seem to be too much and really overwhelming, don't hide your head in the sand. Dream of riding an Ostrich (or if necessary), dream up some other wild, crazy, and humorous story that will fit your particular situation and make yourself laugh. If you do this, I bet you will see for yourself that it is worth it to laugh because it will make it so much easier to face this world, enjoy life, and relish the pleasures that come out of each and every day.

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