Dubai, 25th September 2011
Last week I saw a man in a wheelchair rolling himself along a busy roundabout. At first I thought: “What an idiot!” Putting himself and others at risk like that. Why didn’t he drive on the pavement? Hm. What pavement?
Dubai is not known for its walkability – or ‘wheelability’ come to that. No proper pavements, hardly any pedestrian bridges – and if there are they have steps, no underpasses, and the few available pavements have really high curbs with no lower sections for anybody in a wheel chair. Heck, even outside a supermarket there are no low curbs for shoppers to manoeuvre their trolleys down.
In the end, I felt very sorry for the man having to take his life into very precarious hands and use the road as his only highly dangerous option. Whilst I have noticed most malls and hotels having lifts, disabled parking, large toilet cubicles, and the like, outside it’s a different matter.
So I had a look to see what information there is available for disabled travellers coming to Dubai and found the following.
A very useful fact sheet detailing access to Dubai, starting from your point of arrival, the airport: http://www.dubaiupdate.co.uk/downloads/factsheets10/Access%20Dubai%20fact%20sheet.pdf
Some more info on the airport: http://www.dubaiairportguide.com/dubai-airport-disabled-services-and-facilities/
This article contains quite a bit of information on accessibility: http://www.dubaivacationtrips.com/blog/dubai-travel-handicapped-accessibility/
And this one: http://abilitytrip.com/middle-east/united-arab-emirates/dubai/united-arab-emirates-dubai-middle-east/
If you live in Dubai or are planning to, this site may be helpful: http://www.emiratesspecialneeds.com/
This Time Out listing shows all the hotels in Dubai with disability access, not just the five-star hotels:
And here is someone road-testing Dubai in a wheel chair on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hR8i84otHFU
Hope that helps a little. And stay off the roundabouts. Please.
Oh, and I apologize for the bad use of links, but something is wrong with the normal link button, hopefully I'll get it sorted out soon...