Insights into accessibility: Rotary Wynnum’s Wheelchair Challenge - The Community Leader and Real Estate New and Views

Wheelchair participants with conveners Bill and Geraldine Simpson and Spinal Life Australia (sponsor) Bevan Kersley. Photos: Supplied.   


Friday 1 December 2023 saw six able-bodied people take up the challenge to be in wheelchairs for the Rotary Wynnum Wheelchair Challenge. The objective was to highlight the daily challenges faced by those in wheelchairs in and around the Wynnum CBD.

Representatives from local, state and federal governments, Ham Bros, Raine and Horne, and club members took part. They were ably supported by six support staff, whose role was to ensure their safety.

The teams were as follows:

Joan Pease MP  /  district of Lytton
Sara Whitmee / BCC Wynnum Manly Ward
Andrew Hurst / Rotary Club of Wynnum and Manly
Bradan Sonnendecker / Federal seat of Bonner
Bernie Neylan / Ham Bros
Byron Freeborn / Raine and Horne Wynnum

Each person was given a set of tasks to complete in the Wynnum area. Purchases procured from Coles and Woolworths were donated to St Pete’s Pantry. Representatives from Brisbane City Council’s accessibility unit, Rotarians, and other local citizens with mobility issues attended. Spinal Life Australia, and Raine and Horne’s Byron Freeborn provided sponsorship.

Some of the main revelations were:

  • Challenging intersection ramps with lips that are dangerous.
  • Wheelchair pedestrians in designated crossings ignored by drivers.
  • Few people gave way on the footpath to people in wheelchairs.
  • People don’t address the person in the wheelchair directly; they address the person standing.
  • Traffic lights and pedestrian lights change from green back to red too quickly.
  • Construction site pavement closures/interruptions cause access issues.
  • Opening doors is challenging.
  • Issues accessing businesses with steps at their entrances.
  • Lack of accessible street parking.
  • Lack of pedestrian crossings on Bay Terrace north of Charlotte Street.
  • No pedestrian crossing in busy Berrima Street.
  • Wheelchair users feel very vulnerable.

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