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Thread: The ADA and accessibility with respect to health clubs specifically

  1. #1

    The ADA and accessibility with respect to health clubs specifically

    So I'm back on my hit-the-gym-hard kick and am looking to join one of the fancier health clubs in my area. It has excellent facilities and equipment (accessible locker rooms/showers, accessible pools and a few different kinds of stationary hand cycles). The one problem is that the entire free weight section is located up a flight of steps (no elevator of course). It's not the end of the world since the majority of my workout CAN be modified to be done using the circuit machines. Additionally, if I really need to (and my legs are fresh), I can walk up and down the stairs using the railing and my crutches. But in an ideal situation, I'd be able to access things like benches, dumbells and other such things without barrier or worry of taking a tumble down the stairs. And if membership didn't come at such a high price, I'd just suck it up and deal. But for the price they're asking, I don't feel like I should only get 75% of the facility.

    I hate to even think about playing the ADA card but I'm just wondering exactly what the regulation states about things like this. Has anyone had any similar experiences? Maybe I can get them to waive the initiation fee (which I think is BS anyway)...

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    *** c4/c5 incomplete *** Injured in Summer 2003 ***
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  2. #2
    Technically they must provide you equal access to all services. If they don't want to put in an elevator, then they can set up a separate free weight section downstairs for those who have problems doing the stairs. You would not necessarily have exclusive use though, so might have to share at times. They could either leave it set up all the time, or have their staff lug the weights up and down the stairs for your use.

    I assume you are paying a membership fee just like everyone else? Have a chat with the manager, and if they refuse, you may need to file a DOJ complaint. Having them waive your fee does not help anyone else with a disability who would like to use this gym with all its services.

    (KLD)

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by SCI-Nurse
    Having them waive your fee does not help anyone else with a disability who would like to use this gym with all its services.
    Good point - unless I can initiate the process of getting them to create another tier of membership (less expensive) available to those unable to access the free weight section (due to the club's lack of compliance)... I'll talk to the manager and see what they have to say.

    I hate to make a big stink over anything like this. If it were the locker room or rest room, I wouldn't think twice about it. But for this, I feel like the perception will be that I'm trying to cause trouble and call attention to myself when that couldn't be farther from the truth - I just really like this club and want to be able reap all of its benefits that do not come cheap.

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    *** c4/c5 incomplete *** Injured in Summer 2003 ***
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by daveh0
    I hate to make a big stink over anything like this.
    Talking to the management of a club that you are paying full membership to about a problem with services or facilities isn't making a "big stink". It is exercising one's rights as a paying customer.

    If it were the locker room or rest room, I wouldn't think twice about it. But for this, I feel like the perception will be that I'm trying to cause trouble and call attention to myself when that couldn't be farther from the truth
    Indeed. Since you know that you are only seeking equal access, why do you even waste time considering that you could be perceived as some sort of goal less "troublemaker"? You're not seeking punitive damages here. You just want to be able to use the free weights in the gym that you are paying for membership. Why don't you assume that most reasonable people would recognize that?

    C.

  5. #5

  6. #6
    well apparently the 2 other disabled members of the club had also made a little noise a while back about the same issue. They just set up a rack of dumbells, a rack of plates, various bars, 2 flat benches and an incline bench on the accessible level of the gym. It's not everything available on the upper level, but it's a start. They also waived my initiation fee. ;-) I'm going to continue to apply a little friendly pressure for them to get a few more pieces of equipment downstairs and at least think about an elevator.

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    *** c4/c5 incomplete *** Injured in Summer 2003 ***
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