RADAR Key to be relaunched
The RADAR key scheme has just been reviewed on the BBC ouch blog. It also subtly mentions that RADAR key is getting a relaunch this year (2013). The RADAR key scheme is administered by Disability Rights UK (formed through the merger of Disability Alliance, National Centre for Independent Living (NCIL) and The Royal Association for Disability Rights – Radar). There are few details yet on their website about what the relaunch entails. The reasons cited are the number of fake keys on the market. The RADAR key is obviously a good income source for the charity, and every fake key means they are losing revenue with which to advertise and administer the scheme. There is also the frustration and bad publicity for the scheme when someone finds they have been sold a fake key that does not work. If you look on ebay, Amazon or google you can find many fake keys. There are even unscrupulous online retailers who sell them, without always making it obvious in the listing that they are not selling genuine RADAR keys. Some people choose to buy the fakes because they are £2-3 cheaper, but personally it does not seem worth taking the risk!
Electronic RADAR keys
A key that could not be faked would be welcomed. If the key is to be relaunched with a more complicated mechanism or one that is harder to copy, I would guess that it will have some sort of electronic element to it. Any change to the key itself would mean the locks would have to be changed on 9000 toilets and that would cause uproar for the many cash strapped disability organisations, businesses and Councils that own the toilets.
I think they will introduce some sort of ‘disability oyster card’ or an electronic entry fob to supplement the existing key. An electronic pass card or key fob that will work on all new toilets, The mechanism could be retro fitted to existing toilets as and when they are refurbished. This would mean that existing users can still use the keys they have in most toilets and a card or ‘disability key fob’ would be reasonably cheap to produce. I doubt they will distribute them free to existing owners though, they are probably hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions in circulation.
Easier to Use – A more ‘Accessible’ RADAR Key!
The old keys are quite big and heavy. They are difficult to turn for people with arthritis or poor grip. The existing locks being frequently used and having secure 5-lever mortice locks, can get very stiff to turn. The large headed keys have helped a bit with this but an almost ‘contactless’ key would obviously be a huge improvement for accessibility. I assume the ideal would be to have the new electronic RADAR key electrically open the existing locks so that people who only have old keys could still use them. Perhaps they will operate a tandem scheme for a number of years until the old locks are all gone replaced.
How exactly will the new scheme work and what about existing key owners?
How the new scheme and keys will work for new and existing key owners needs to made clear as soon as possible as it leaves a lot of uncertainty for people who want to buy a key now, or for retailers like myself who have purchased them for sale. I will update this blog as soon as I know more. If you have any ideas or insider knowledge (!) please leave a comment below the post.
For more information about the existing scheme and to buy a key, read on:
Essential Items: The RADAR Key
For access to disabled toilets carry a RADAR key at all times. This handy key unlocks 9,000 wheelchair and disability toilets nationwide.
There are some items that you need when you’re out and about and they become an essential item to keep about your person at all times. To aid independence and keep yourself to yourself whilst out and about, a RADAR Key can be a great little investment.
This tweeter agrees that the RADAR key is a great disability gadget:
What is RADAR Key?
A RADAR Key is a specifically designed key which fits the majority of locks for disabled toilets around most city and town centres. Statistics suggest you should have access to over 9,000 locked public and disabled toilets around the country and with your own RADAR key, you can avoid the inconvenience of finding someone to unlock the door for you. You can access locked toilets immediately. It’s easy to appreciate that having to ask permission to use the public toilet can feel embarrassing and so, with your own RADAR key, this will not have to happen in many of the places you may visit on a regular basis.
Why lock a public toilet with a RADAR key?
As many disabled people will have experienced, disabled toilets are often used by ignorant members of the public who have no idea of the need to keep them free for people who need them. Even Ian Duncan Smith MP was caught out in this way! They can be used for drugs, people sleeping rough, ‘liasons’ and all manner of other activities if not kept locked! As this comment on the linked blog above states “For many of us waiting outside the door of the disabled toilet, because some oaf thinks his convenience comes first, means acute pain, while many more of us have almost no warning of needing to use the toilet. Disabled toilets are not simply there for our convenience when the ladies or gents are inaccessible, they are there to meet the often urgent needs of our disabilities. They are not there for you to abuse because you lack any sense of personal responsibility.”
Finding a RADAR Key holder
Unfortunately it can extremely demeaning to have to ask for the staff to get you a key and walk with you to the bathroom, especially as in many establishments they cannot hand the key over to you and therefore they may even wait outside for you to finish. This can make the whole experience quite embarrassing but with your own key, you can visit the bathroom at your own leisure and not feel restricted. The same can be applied to shopping trips, visits to public parks and attractions, so that there is no need to track down a key holder or wait until you get home, you can avoid that discomfort by having personal access via your key.
Avoid Fake RADAR keys
There are many fake keys for sale that do not have the engraved RADAR words on the key handle. We must advise you not to buy a fake RADAR key. Most are only 2 lever locks that may not fit all toilets. For the peace of mind and a small amount of money you should only buy official RADAR keys. These are 5 level mortice locks and are guaranteed to fit all disabled toilet locks across the country. Also the money raised from fake keys does not help RADAR publicise and support the scheme. It is not worth saving £2 if you can’t spend a penny!
RADAR keys can be purchased on Amazon clicking the link above. We now have a limited number of RADAR Keys that we can sell to you directly at a market leading price of £4.95 including P + P
3 Responses to “Essential Items: The RADAR Key is being relaunched”
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