For people who have serious mobility issues, spinal cord injuries, or head injuries in Miami Beach or South Florida, going to the beach can be less than carefree. For them, the beach is less about sunscreen and catching some sun and more about trying to navigate a space that is not always friendly for those who have mobility issues.
Most beaches are difficult to navigate because the sand makes it hard to get around in a wheelchair or with braces. Most beaches also have boardwalks with stairs, which can be a challenge for visitors and residents with serious injuries. Car accidents in Miami Beach and other communities can also happen on beaches if beachgoers cannot move out of the way in time to avoid a car or patrol vehicle driving along packed sand.
Even getting into the water can be a big obstacle without assistance. While many beaches provide some adaptive features – such as wheelchair mats – many beach facilities are not accessible to someone with mobility challenges. For example, wheelchair mats generally do not go to the sand or the water. Many water sports equipment is not accessible, and many picnic areas are too high for wheelchair users.
The Sabrina Cohen Foundation (SCF) feels that everyone deserves a place on the beach and had created an adaptive beach that is easier for people with mobility issues, wheelchairs, and injuries to navigate. Sabrina Cohen, the founder of SCF and someone who has spent years in a wheelchair, knows about the challenges that people face when they need adaptive features and visit the beach. For years, Sabrina wanted to visit the beach but was not really able to take part in the experience since she has been in her wheelchair. To address the issue, she and her foundation were granted approval by the Miami Beach City Commission for an adaptive beach. Public space at 64th and Collins Avenue was granted and a $15,000 grant from the Miami Foundation and the Health Foundation of Florida has been awarded for the project.
The new beach has beach wheelchairs which make it easy to get around on the sand and make it easy for visitors to get in and out of the water without needing help. There are adaptive beach chairs, picnic tables, and water sports areas as well as a special patio area. The beach also has plans to create hand cycling facilities near the boardwalk in the future. The beach is open for all, not just those with mobility issues or serious injuries. Seniors who use walkers and parents who use strollers have also expressed interest in the beach.
In addition to the beach, the SCF is working to create adaptive fitness centers and recreational opportunities for those in wheelchairs. Currently, the beach created by SCF is the only adaptive beach in Florida, although the SCF has hopes that the idea will become popular and other communities will adopt similar projects.
If you have suffered a serious injury and want to take advantage of the beach, head to Miami Beach. If you need legal advice after your injury, do not hesitate to contact Flaxman Law Group. Our full service law firm has three offices in the South Florida area and a member of our team would be happy to meet with you in a free consultation.