Friday, 13 December 2013

Toilet traps

Some of you will remember my facebook update earlier this week about getting stuck in a hotel WC.

It was frustrating, unnerving, totally unexpected...and very funny.

I was shown into the bathroom by a member of staff - access was easy. There was an adapted cubicle in the ladies with ample space. All in all, pretty good.

It wasn't until I attempted to leave that I discovered a rather effective wheelie trap. It's hard to decribe in words, so I'll leave it to the stickmen.

Being stuck in a warm room when heat intolerant (i.e. one collapses) was not on my todo list, so after dislocating my wrist in escape attempts, I moved on to the moderately embarassing 'phone a friend'.

Only to discover that my phone had 'emergency calls only.'

No way was I calling 999 to say I was stuck in a loo! NO WAY. was hot...and no passing ladies seemed to need the loo....

So I called 999. "'s not technically an emergency...I'm a wheelchair user, and I'm stuck in a loo....could you call the hotel and get them to let me out? - I only have reception for emergency calls."

Fortunately half way through the call a woman walked in. Poor woman. She was met by a set of wheels streaking past at lightening speed, to the sound of "Someones here!! I can get OUT! quick! THANK YOU!! I'M FREEEEEE!"

In my desperation to get out, I may have seemed a little rude, but should the lady who let the slightly panicky wheelchair user out of the loo at the Imperial Hotel on Russell Square, London, on Mon 9th December 2013 ever read this: You are my hero. I am extremely grateful to you.

And to any architects, interior designers, and owners of accessible toilets, please ensure that in providing access, you don't forget the egress!

[Note 1: Opening 1 door with the left hand, the second door with the right hand, and then wheeling backwards with the other hand is not possible due to lack of a third arm.]

[Note 2: The hotel's Health and Safety department are working on  solving the problem. I will let you know when it's solved.]

[Note 3: Problem sorted, see How to respond to an access complaint. Good work, Imperial.]


  1. The "Accessible" toilets in Arrowe Park Hospital, Wirral, are like this - except, for wheelies, as well as being unable to get out without aid, you can't get in either! Totally absurd, with a high risk of injury, or damage to horribly expensive chairs. (I'm still traumatised by the cost of my fairly basic Quickie Life! Cracking chair, though.)

  2. I had the same in Pizza hut in Milton Keynes, had to get a staff member to hold the first door open for me!

  3. KFC in Southampton - you have to press an electronic door release to get out. That doesn't work. Spent 10 minutes trapped in there with my OH before my banging on the door got staff to open it from outside.
    Asked why they couldn't just fit a Radar lock if they want to keep non-disabled people from using it and just got blank looks.

  4. Unless people are actually disabled or have a disabled family member, I find that people don't have a clue what radar keys are. I am angered though that non disabled can buy these keys on eBay, it's so wrong.


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