Waterslide quest ended by liability fearSep 04 09:23
The most adept wheelchair-user knows there's always going to be limitations in life, but why does it always have to ruin the fun? My quest this summer to ride a big deal water park waterslide has ended in failure. And the reason? Liability and inaccessibility. Two words I hate most.
I grew up absolutely loving water slides, and it's been 19 years since I've been on one. And since June, for some crazy reason I’ve been jonesing to feel the rush of a waterslide finally once again, but with a few modifications now of course.
My plan is to ride with somebody and sit between their legs for balance, I’d wear a life jacket, I’d strap my legs together and I’d wear a thicker swimsuit so my skin would be protected. I've thought of everything, but I just can't find a water park that's willing to let me try.
Here in the United States we've let our legal system become a beast that really doesn't like people with disabilities. Try showing up to an amusement park or waterpark and you'll see what I mean. The amusement parks and water parks of today are not the ones are can ride it to the top. They apparently tout themselves as the only ‘wheelchair accessible waterslide’ in the country.
And then I heard about a hotel with a waterslide will let people with disabilities ride on it for one night a year for a special adapted skiing weekend retreat in Northern Minnesota. Pretty cool, but that's the middle of winter; not quite the water park dream I was hoping for.
And then I found what seems like the ultimate solution, the only viable solution for any of us: Visit a waterpark outside of the country. A guy from Dubai wrote me telling me he rides waterslides all the time at the Atlantis resort in Dubai. It has an elevator, and they could care less he uses a wheelchair. Completely different legal system, no liability. Gotta love that!
For a wheelchair-user to ride a water slide here in our country, a country with dozens of amazing waterslides, it's really pretty sad we can‘t go on anu of them. A travesty. We have no other option but to go to another country, or hope we find a cool water park owner who will look the other way?
This is just silly. Let us sign waivers, and let us for once feel like we’re welcome. I really, really want to cross this off my bucket list.
Have you ridden a waterslide? Where did you go? Was it a fight?
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1. wheelkat | Sep 05 04:20
I'm starting to hear this more and more. I wanted to ride a air boat to view aligators at Lone Cabbage Bait Shop in Cocoa, Florida and the guy said no using the insurance excuse.
2. Crystal Rose | Sep 08 12:43
I'm with you! Sign the waiver, go on the ride! Really, what's the worst that could happen if you are wearing a life jacket and riding with someone! Insurance is a racket that is ruining our lives.
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.