Unless a toilet is "unfit" for use (dictionary.com's choice of synonym for disabled - not mine) like the one pictured - it is not disabled. Chances are the toilet you are referring to is actually a Unisex Accessible Toilet. Which technically means it is available for use by anyone who thinks they need it... a parent with a child (particularly helpful for Mum's with boys or Dad's with girls), a person with crutches, a wheelchair, mobility scooter or walking frame user, or just someone who can't make it the extra 5 feet to the gender specific limited accessibility loo.
I appreciate that I'm putting myself out there with the notion that Unisex Accessible Toilets are available for use by everyone but please hear me out. People tell me all the time that the number one issue limiting their access to community is a lack of adequate toilet facilities. I believe, if we mainstream Unisex Accessible Toilets, then we encourage more businesses to install them.
When businesses come to me for advice on their obligation to provide toilets for patrons with a disability I say, "If you only have one toilet, make it a Unisex Accessible Toilet. Likewise, if you only have two toilets, make them both Unisex Accessible Toilets." Everyone appreciates the space and privacy of a Unisex Accessible Toilet. They are simply better toilets (it's the Curb-Cut Effect).
WARNING: Before I go any further please note this does not apply to parking. Designated Accessible Parking Bays are available for use by people who have a Mobility Parking Scheme Permit only. Park in a DAPB without a MPSP and you're asking for Trouble (with a capital T).
In conclusion, for businesses wondering why they should care about being accessible, let the facts speak for themselves;
20% of Australians identify as having a disability and 1 in 3 Australians love someone with a disability
Baby Boomers are one of the fastest growing demographics and hold more than 40 percent of Australia's wealth.
- 43% of people over 55 years have one or more disabilities
70% of people with disability socialise with friends or relatives at least once a week
40% of people with disability eat at a restaurant at least once a week
23% of people with disability go to department stores or shopping centers at least once a week
People with disability and their friends and family make outstanding customer advocates. We're talking Word of Mouth promotion - it's free and incredibly powerful.
Can your business afford to ignore 20% of the population?