Rolling in Peachtree City

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Golf Cart. Wheelchair. A Family Vacation.

The Wilson Family in their Peachtree City golf cart, June 2023

James Wilson of Atlanta, Georgia has traveled to an impressive number of continental and overseas cities. What’s even more impressive is that he navigates his travels using a wheelchair that he powers with his upper body. After a Father’s Day Weekend in Peachtree City, James says this is now one of his Top Five Destinations.

“I’m not expecting what Las Vegas has, like bed cranes with ceiling tracks and a hammock to get to the shower,” said James Wilson. “Europe has disabled rooms with lighted inside doorbells for the deaf and blind. Most Florida cities with aging populations are more accessible in the little things, such as ramps in doorways from parking lots. Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, Berlin, and Barcelona are very accessible,” said James.

Back here in our corner of the world, James and his three teens rented a golf cart to get around in Peachtree City, where we cherish our lifestyle at 15 miles per hour.

The Peachtree City Convention & Visitors Bureau hosted his trip in partnership with certain hotels, vendors and restaurants, to give us an idea of ways we can improve accessibility for everyone.

“Golf carts are fun,” said James. “It makes Peachtree City smaller and better.”

While he was able to get in and out of the carts, he noted it would be ideal to have accessible golf carts outfitted with hand steering controls and grab bars up top.

As James readies for each day in a new town, he puts it like this: “Getting around is like playing chess. Sometimes I have to plan five moves ahead to get where I’m headed safely.”

The Wilsons visited breweries, restaurants, and a car show. They stayed in Peachtree City hotels and visited the parks by cart. They went shopping, ate ice cream, swam in pools, and shared special moments together.

James reported he had almost “zero issues” with the sidewalks and curbs in Peachtree City.

But even with planning there are subtle surprises. Beautiful, plush carpeting in a hotel lobby means a little extra effort to push the chair.

Adequate space for knees and legs is more comfortable

A closed lower sink area is not accessible

In the hotel room, under the sink and under desk access are critical for knees to have some room without scraping them on hardware. Peep holes in hotel doors were sometimes placed accessibly. Hard-to-open heavy doors are difficult for everyone.

Lowering the beds would help more people easily get into and out of bed, as demonstrated by the upward angle of the wheelchair transfer board

Pool lifts are important to people in chairs, so James hopes that staff conduct regular checks on batteries and against rust which renders them useless if not properly maintained in the elements.

As an avid golfer, James would love to rent a wheelchair golf cart to get onto the fairways. The wheelchair pivots while a golfer makes a swing. Perhaps a smaller golf cart path map would help those with limited abilities in the arms and hands.

This hotel shower has no barriers – making this safer and more comfortable for accessible travelers.

Handheld shower heads are inaccessible when placed too far above reach from a sitting position in a wheelchair.

The best experiences? The people and the warm Peachtree City culture. Everywhere James and his children explored, they met helpful staff and friendly patrons who often went above and beyond to accommodate them, including giving tours and assisting with parking ramps.

Did you know? People with disabilities make up 20 percent of the population, but that’s not slowing us down. The disability experience is across the spectrum. If you have ever temporarily used a wheelchair, cane, or crutches in recovery, then you have some idea of the challenges for mobility in places we frequent.

The Wilson family looks forward to returning to Peachtree City, where outdoor concerts and events, breweries, shopping, dining, and playing in parks are part of the chill. And riding a golf cart, of course.

We look forward to their return, and to the visits of all who are differently able as we work across the experiences to improve accessibility.