The Anonymous Widower

Disabled Access to the London Olympics

I am not disabled, although it is probably true to say, that for a time after my stroke, whilst I was in hospital in Hong Kong, I needed to be moved everywhere in a wheel-chair. I do suspect though that if I had been in a top hospital in the UK, like Addenbrookes from the start, they’d have dispensed with one pretty quickly. It’s not to save costs, but there is thinking from the Norwegians, that it is better to get people up and on the move sooner rather than later after a stroke.

But I do think I appreciate the problems of people with disabilities a bit better than I used to. So when Liz put a comment on the post about the London Aquatic Centre, I thought I’d investigate a bit.

I started by typing the title of this post into Google. By the time you try it, you might get better information than I did. The only thing of value was an old political statement from Boris, saying that the access will be the best. He would say that wouldn’t he!

There was also quite a few paid for Google entries trying to sell disabled-friendly accomodation in London for the Olympics.

On the other hand, when I applied for my tickets, I could have applied for wheelchair friendly seats, if I had wanted to.  So at least the ticket ballot is disabled friendly.  I suspect too, that the venues will have an appropriate number of seats for the disabled,  as we have lot of experience of building stadia with them in mind.

Getting to the Olympic Park probably falls into two time periods; before the Olympic Park is completed and after it’s opened.

I’ll deal with the first one now, as why shouldn’t those with limited mobility want to go and view the construction site, as I have in the last couple of weeks? After all lying my hospital bed in Hong Kong, being able to watch the Olympics on television was a hope, rather than something for which my odds of seeing for real,are only a little bit less than say Lord Coe’s.

The Greenway, that I used to access the viewing site is absolutely flat and I think in my current state I could push an average man in a wheelchair from the station at Hackney Wick to the Olympic Park. As with all new London Overground and Docklands Light Railway stations, Hackney Wick has full wheelchair access using lifts. At a weekend, there is quite a bit of free parking in the Victoria Park area, which is not far from the start of the Greenway.

The ViewTube has pretty good disabled access, so you could get a good coffee and a snack.

The problem would come in getting off and on the Greenway at the Pudding Mill Lane end.  It is still very much a construction site and although the DLR station has a lift, it might not be easy to negotiate your way through.

Another word of warning is that the best views of the site are at the other end of the Olympic Park to Stratford station.

So don’t go there!

Obviously, once the Olympic Park and the Eastfield Shopping Centre are open, there shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

April 10, 2011 - Posted by | Health, World | , , , ,


  1. That is interesting, thank you for investigating. As you know, I can walk, just not far, and I use a scooter. My big questions would be:

    a) is the lift large enough to fit a reasonable size scooter in?

    b) can a person in a scooter call the lift whilst sat in the scooter – it is amazing how often that is impossible!

    c) Can a person using a scooter who is unable to walk or stand access seating for disabled people.

    The worrying thing is, that unlike you have now thought about this, the planners dont always do that. I my home town they have built a facility for disabled people in a pedestrian area where the nearest place to park a car is about 1000 yards away! What makes this even worse, the building will be being used to DWP assessments of people who are chronically sick or disabled!

    As for disabled toilets, dont get me started!

    d) will it be possible to rent/loan a scooter or wheelchair onsite, for people who come by car.

    Comment by liz | April 10, 2011 | Reply

  2. Have look at this document.

    It says that the largest wheelchair you can put on a bus is 70 wide by 120 cm. long. All the lifts I’ve used would take a wheelchair that size. As do all of the buses and taxis.

    Can you use buses with your scooter?

    Comment by AnonW | April 10, 2011 | Reply

  3. I cant use buses or trains, they set off the pain in my face neck arm and shoulder to such an extent – trains are worse than buses, although one day I might try one of those Pendolino trains. I dont think I am allowed on buses with scooter, with trains it is the guards van if there is one, and they are banned on trams in Manchester.

    Sometimes the lifts would theorectically fit the scooter in, but the access is such that it is impossible to actually get it in – Grosvenor Museum at Chester is a good example, and Monsoon at Meadow Hall. M&S regularly put display rails less than a scooter length from the door of the lift. M&S regularly get a long lecture from me.

    That guide is great, I have saved it

    Comment by liz | April 10, 2011 | Reply

  4. If your scooter is less than 120 x 70 it’ll go on a London bus. London buses have two entrances/exits, with a wheelchair ramp under the central exit. You rarely see two entrance/exit buses outside London, so they may not have full disabled access.

    Comment by AnonW | April 10, 2011 | Reply

  5. Scooters are generally quite a lot longer than wheelchairs, and sometimes wider – I havent the energy to find a tape measure and measure mine. Buses here do only have one door, but they do have ramps. Generally though I either drive to the place I going and use shop mobility, or we are both going and the scooter comes in the back of the car, unless it is a local place which I can scoot to, or somwhere like John Lewis, where I park right outside and take it slowly and sit down often.

    Comment by liz | April 10, 2011 | Reply

  6. Okay, I just had an email to say there was a post asking which was better in the house, a scooter or a wheelchair, but it isnt showing here.

    I personally hate wheelchairs, a lot of my weakness is in my arms and I cant self propel, so I have to be pushed and I dont like that. However, I can walk, and walk around the house, sometimes with a stick, sometimes not. Scooters have a much longer wheelbase than wheelchairs, and so probably may be harder if your house has corners to negotiate when you go through doors.

    Comment by liz | April 27, 2011 | Reply

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