World Trail stations open to people with disabilities
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late 2021, Rossignol and the French Handisport Federation launched an accessibility label for trail courses. An application grouping these routes has just been created.
From the pandemic, many Frenchmen have turned to outdoor sports disciplines. Among them, the trail, which seduces more and more followers. Especially since the practice takes a big step towards taking into account people with disabilities. In partnership with the French Federation Handisport (FFH), the Rossignol brand launched an end to 2021 an accessibility label, to allow people with disabilities to venture on trail courses safely. All partner stations are grouped since Thursday, January 5th on the same application, entitled On Track.
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The principle? Give additional information on itineraries, essential to gauge the feasibility or not of the course for a person with disabilities. If the general difficulty of the course, mileage and elevation must be mentioned for all routes, this information is not always fairly specific for some practitioners with disabilities.
To obtain the label, the stations must therefore indicate the typology of the soil on their pathways (furniture or hard terrains, trails), the type of obstacles encountered and their geolocation. And also the width of the lanes, "important information for wheelchair people, but also for visual and visually impaired people, who are used to running side by side with their guides," says Emmanuel Buchoud, sports director hiking at the FFH. This information will be of importance on the choice of prosthesis or chair to use, explain to Rossignol.
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Do not leave anyone "on the edge of the road"
The label is the fruit of a year of work and reflection with Rossignol and the Athletics Commission of the FFH. "The idea was to avoid letting people on the edge of the road and make the practice as accessible as possible," says Emmanuel Buchoud. All this information is grouped together on the new application of Rossignol, on track, itself thought to be usable by maximum people. "For example, the notifications that indicate that the course is losing are both sound and vibrant, for deaf audiences," says the member of the FFH.
"make accessible, but without denaturing", it is the bet of Rossignol, explains Laurent Foissac in charge of the development of the stations for the French brand. No route is modified, the goal being to give the keys to athletes so that they can judge if they are able to finish a course. For the one who has hatched the project, it was important to "empower the practitioner giving it information so that it is an actor of his choice, because there are as many disabilities as people."
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More than 40 accessible circuits
The labeling approach is voluntary by the trail stations that wish. Of the 800 existing courses in France and in neighboring countries, 41 received the accessibility label. Several stations around France started the process. That of Niort was the first to obtain the precious sesame, in October 2021. Among the fifteen trace proposed by the station of the Deux-Sèvres, four are accessible to people with disabilities. "We wanted to give the opportunity to each of To be able to enjoy the Natural Park of Marais Poitevin, regardless of its profile, "says Laurent Gallas, head of the commercial center at the Tourist Office of the City.
The Niort station worked closely with the Departmental Committee Handisport of the Deux-Sèvres on the inventory and the validation of the courses. For his president, Stéphane Guitard, the plots have multiple assets. "The courses are very nice, we run along the Sèvre, it's very quiet. It shows that the trail has its place on flat sectors. And then, there is a friendly side that we do not find everywhere, since everything The world has access ", explains the chair practitioner after testing the circuits with a visual deficient friend and another prosthesis.
"Many tell us that it allows them to take the step, to raise barriers and it promotes autonomy to practice", summarizes with satisfaction Emmanuel Buchoud. "They appreciate that they are addressed to them and we take them into account, without putting them in boxes," complete Laurent Foissac. Other stations such as Tourrette-Levens (Alpes-Maritimes) and Bagnoles-de-L'Oorne (Orne) should be labeled in the coming months.
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