Local community leaders have taken to the streets of Brisbane in wheelchairs for a first-hand experience of life with a disability.

And some participants were surprised with just how inaccessible Brisbane is.

Alex Trezise reports.


Take My Seat aims to raise awareness for people with disability in the community.

Everyone had a quick safety lesson, before making their way to Queen Street Mall.

Wallaby great Tim Horan took part and found getting around in the chair to be quite a challenge.

Tim Horan, Wallaby great: “Going uphill is quite hard. My arms are pretty sore at the moment and I’ve still got a couple of hours to go. So, no I’ve really enjoyed it and the looks you get from different people, people are there mostly to support you.”

The group was encouraged to try everyday activities, like using an ATM or ordering a coffee.

Some were surprised with just how inaccessible the mall can be.

Michael Brosnan, Health World owner: “There’s some retail shops where there’s steps to get in and so it’s impossible for us to get in.”

They were led by chaperones with spinal cord injuries to show them where to go and what to avoid.

Every day at least one Australian will suffer a debilitating spinal cord injury.

For people in wheelchairs, accessibility is important, but equally important is the way they are treated by society.

Chaperone Stephen Pickett damaged his spinal cord in a motor vehicle accident.

He knows first-hand how being in a wheelchair means you’re treated differently.

Stephen Pickett, Chaperone: “The person that I was chaperoning, we went to their office and some people were shocked and asked him, had he had an injury, and other people just completely looked the other way. Wouldn’t even talk to him.”

Take My Seat began in Queensland two years ago to raise funds for those with spinal injuries.

Alex Trezise, QUT News.