10 September, 2021
Wheelchair bikie rides west
A Brisbane man will ride west in his make-shift wheelchair motortrike.
AN entrepreneurial campaigner will make his way west to raise funds for spinal research and lobby for more accessible tourism.
Bevan Kearsley founded the Miller Chase Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that strives to improve the lives of and create a community for those who live with spinal injuries.
The Foundation is deeply linked with other not-for-profits that deal with spinal injury, such as the Perry Cross Foundation and Spinal Life — profits raised from Mr Kearsley’s trip will going to these foundations.
Mr Kearsely said he was fundraising for the Perry Cross Foundation to promote the great strides they have made in spinal research at Griffith University, and for Spinal Life for the help they’ve given him.
He also wishes to raise awareness for inclusive tourism through Accessible Australia, his personal website.
“I wanted to travel Australia, and I thought, well, I could try to combine a couple of things to do with travelling,” he said.
“I’ve been a member of Spinal Life (a not-for-profit that provides advocacy and special therapy for people with a spinal cord injury) for 29 years, and I thought I’ve been in a wheelchair for 29 years as well, so it was about time I raised some money for spinal research.”
Mr Kearsley’s website has also done tonnes for accessible tourism.
“AccessibleAustralia.com.au is a free tool designed to give people with disabilities the confidence to explore more of Australia and to influence more tourism operators to consider people with disability as customers,” he said.
“People with disability can know before they go (travel) whether a place is accessible or not; people can upload photos and put a review in and go on the Accessible Australia app or to the website to register.”
Mr Kearsley hopes his trip can raise awareness of this issue.
“It’s amazing the amount of places you go to and have difficulty finding wheelchair-accessible places,” he said.
“Not only to stay but to visit.
“I think the Longreach Tourist Park has wheelchair-accessible ensuites, it’ll be good to see that when I get there.”
Mr Kearsley will conduct his trip on the back of his wheelchair scooter, a motorised trike that has a ramp on the back where he can wheel up into it, allowing him to remain in his everyday wheelchair.
The bike helps him get around more easily than a traditional vehicle would, and was funded through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
“I drive it just like a motorbike,” he said.
Before COVID hit, Mr Kearsley had planned to drive his bike all around Australia.
“I thought well this year, with COVID still giving us a bit of a hiding, well this year I might just to Queensland only and do the rest of Australia next year.
“Hopefully, we’ve got a bit of a hold on COVID next year.”
Mr Kearsley said he is excited for his trip where he will come up the eastern coast, west to Mount Isa, and eventually down through Winton, and Longreach.
He is hoping to raise at least $100, 000 through his trip with all proceeds going to the Perry Cross Foundation and Spinal Life Australia.
You may be able to see Mr Kearsley in late September as he makes his way west.
If you would like to donate, please go to https://accessibleaustraliaride.org.au/