How Do I Make My Walking Event More Accessible?

Anonymous asks, quote:

I lead a walk every month that I want to be accessible for people who are disabled. We’ve only chosen walks that are paved and relatively level so far. Do you have suggestions for things that are important for making a walk/event accessible? What should you say in an event description to make it clear that you’ve actually made sure that a space is accessible?

end quote.

Accessibility can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. The best way to make this event accessible is to provide as much information as possible. If you or your organization has a website, it should have the following information:

A Complete Map of the Walk

It’s fairly easy to create and share a custom Google Map of the path the walk is going to take. Make sure it highlights the main route as well as any alternatives that might be taken in the event of inclement weather or other unforeseen event.

Time, Location, and Distance

List out the time and start location of the walk, how long the walk is (in both miles and kilometers), and about how long it’s going to take to cover that distance.

Hill Grades

If there are any hills / inclines along the route of the walk, list them. If any hills are too steep, consider an alternative route, especially for inclement weather. A gentle slope becomes a lot more difficult in the rain.

Restrooms, Water Stops, and First Aid

List out and mark any restrooms, water stops, or first aid stations that will be available to the people participating in the walk. Given a standard walking pace, give a rough estimate of what time it will be when the walking group will reach a given spot. This will help people with time‐based medical needs better plan for the event.

What Will Be Provided and What You Recommend People Bring

Tell people what you’ll be providing, if anything (e.g., water bottles for the first 100 people) and what you recommend people bring with them (e.g., sunscreen).

What You Don’t Want People to Bring

If there are any items that you absolutely do not want people bringing (e.g., alcohol, jars of angry bees, etc.,), list those on your site.

What Your Staff / Organizers Will be Wearing

Post a photo or two of some staff members wearing their staff t‐shirts/lanyards and tell people to find someone wearing these items if they have any questions.

Contact Information

You should have the contact information for the event organizers clearly listed on the site. This will help people know who to contact if they have any additional questions about the event.

A Dedicated Accessibility Information Section

Your site should have a link on the main page called Accessibility Information that goes to a page dedicated to all of the information someone with a disability might need to know about your event. This page should list out who to contact with questions about accessibility as well as any specific accommodations that will be provided. For example, accessible parking areas or whether or not there will be a sign language interpreter.