Mr. Wheelchair & Mrs. Escalator Bury the Hatchet On Accessibility

News Flash: Rolling a wheelchair onto an escalator will NOT kill you, seriously…

Anticipating your first escalator ride in a wheelchair, is kind of like anticipating the first time you had sex.  You’re anxiously nervous with fear, then it happens, you finish, and then you say “That was it?!”…..

I posted a week or 2 ago, explaining how to easily ride up and down escalators as a paraplegic using a manual wheelchair.  If you haven’t read the post check it out here.  By chance, I was lucky enough to have the physical therapists at Jackson Memorial Hospital teach me how to easily ride up and down escalators when I stayed for in-patent rehabilitation.

Often times the “accessible” elevator route is completely out of the way, and there always seems to be an escalator a bit closer.  Below is a video to better show the wheelchair escalator exercise.  I was visiting a friend (what up Mikey G) in New York City a few weeks ago and we filmed some wheelchair escalator rides at the Macy’s store.

Also, something I neglected to mention in the video… When riding up or down the escalator in your wheelchair, be sure not to pull down on the sliding black handrails too hard.  If so, there’s a good chance they’ll slide/slip at a different speed than the steps.  When this happens, it causes the escalator to emergency shut off immediately.  The result…  Poor wheelchair guy (or girl) stuck half way up a stopped escalator.  I don’t mean to scare anyone, I just want to express the importance of NOT pulling down on the handrails.  Thanks “WheelzOfFortune” for the tip reminder.

SUMMARY: If you’re confined to a wheelchair and choose to use an escalator as a form of convenient egress, I say rock on.

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Showing 5 comments
  • Maxwell

    Hey Mate thanks to you i am now able to use an escalator!!!!! (yay) i was so scared to do it i have put it off for 1 and a half years. but as you said once you have done it it is like “is that it” cheers mate for the video it has and will improve my accessibility around shops!

  • Dee

    That was a great video, thanks for posting it. Hopefully it will help a lot of people navigate their own urban landscapes and not feel like they are set so far apart, you know? Cheers!

  • LuvJones

    I’ve lived in NY my whole life and I’ve also been disabled just as long. I went to Macy’s one day and used the escalator and when I got to the top, the security guard had a conipsion (a fit)…I learned how to do this from my friend in our travels in the subway before there were elevators. Oh the comments from passersby…I’m using a motorized chair now, so I probably wouldn’t try it but those were the days 🙂

    • Jacob

      Agreed! It’s amusing to see the expressions from people passing by.. I had an issue with security at Macy’s when filming for this blog specifically. Rock on!

  • Lindsay

    Okay I am all about this, being a but of a daredevil and what not. But last year, I was using a WALKER, which I folded up and carried at my side, at the GA World Conference Center, and security found me and had a fit each time. Had I not been serving at a church conference I would have gone postal. Because I had to WALK/SHUFFLE with an old lady walker to the elevator which was always in some obscure far-away secluded place each time I needed to go from where I was stationed to, oh, I dunno, ANYWHERE ELSE.
    So I can only imagine their reaction to me sitting in a chair and using them. I wasn’t even USING the walker on the escalators.

    Think I start raving about discrimination or something to shut them up? LOL.

    Also, think this would work with a standard chair? I worry about the big ol’ casters. They are hands down the heaviest part of the chair.

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