ADA Swimming Pool Lanes
Why the Pool Lane Gate should be required under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) similar to pool lifts.
UNderstanding Pool Lane Gates
Here's a strange but accurate example to help you understand the Lane Gate's ADA applications and demand. The Lane Gate is similar to something required by the ADA that we have all used before.
Have you ever used a wheelchair accessible bathroom stall before? Well I have. Consider the Lane Gate like a wheelchair accessible bathroom stall but instead of a stall it is an accessible swimming lane. You can still use it, it functions in the same way, and gives you space to move around with ease. For people with disabilities it is essential. Most of the stalls in public bathrooms are regular stalls but on the end there is always at least one accessible stall. This is the same configuration that I am trying to achieve for the Lane Gate. There are usually 5 or more swimming lanes in the average pool and at least one of those lanes should be a gated lane. It's a strange comparison but I think it gets the point across!
Breaking down barriers
It may be difficult for the majority of people to understand the need for this device because most people without physical challenges are unaware of obstacles that can make life difficult for someone with disabilities and can go about their day with relative ease,
One day I was out getting lunch when I saw an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair coming towards me. There was construction in the store next to us and a thick power cable crossed our path. No one seemed bothered by it, they stepped over the cable and went about their day. But not the man in the wheelchair, he couldn't get his wheels over it. I pushed him over it, he said thanks and went on his way. Someone will not always be there to help, nor should people with disabilities be forced to rely on others, for example lifting up a swimming lane for someone. It is important for them to be capable and self reliant. This is exactly what the Lane Gate provides. It allows those with physical challenges to empower themselves. It is both a benefit and a convenience.
Reality of Pool Lifts
Pool Lifts are in almost every public pool because the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires them in order to advance access to pools.
In reality, the lifts have batteries that sometimes run out of juice, has many moving parts that require knowledgeable maintenance and professional, permanent install.
They are extremely expensive. Some cost more than my first car, over $6,000! On top of the hefty price tag, pool lifts normally need another person to operate them. They are generally not used independently or as a beneficial convenience by everyone.
By comparison the Pool Lane Gate’s independent ease of use within the pool, affordability, zero maintenance and non-permanent install opens doors of opportunity for everyone. The lane gate helps swimmers that need the pool lift to enter the water and those that can enter the water themselves, providing a benefit to all swimmers.
Pool Lift utilization
As crazy as it may seem, the demographic of people pool lifts are intended to help sometimes don't want to use them because everyone seeks to be self reliant.
I've seen this situation with a few different swimmers. One person that comes to mind is a man in his mid 30’s who is paralyzed from the waist down and loves to swim! He has a float for his legs and he propels himself through the water with his arms. He comes to the pool in his wheelchair but never wants to use the lift. He says, "its agonizingly slow and embarrassing because when that thing's in action everyone looks at you." So instead I become the lift, helping him get from his wheel chair onto the ground, then moves himself into the water. I always make room for him in the lane closest to the wall because it is difficult for him to cross over the lane lines.
The solution is not always perfect but the point is to advance access and provide a benefit to those that need it, even when it isn't utilized by everyone.
Road to Ada Compliance
The pool lane gate can follow the same path to ADA compliance as the pool lift and become required in almost every public and commercial pool with swimming lanes. The important difference is that the Pool Lane Gate will be more affordable and can be utilized by all swimmers. The Lane Gate will help pools become safer and a more connected environment. Check out all the benefits the Lane Gate provides to all swimmers during emergencies, evacuations etc.
Despite all the downsides I mentioned with pool lifts, they have their rightful place because even if a device helps just one person it deserves to be available. Now there is a new, more encompassing way to help a vast majority of people in certain settings within pools that have gone unnoticed for years.