The Current

How a bike accident led Luke Anderson to become an accessibility activist

In 2002, a mountain bike accident left Luke Anderson in a wheelchair. From then on, Anderson made it his life's mission to provide barrier-free access to businesses all throughout Canada. Here is his story as part of our series, Moments of Disruption.
Luke Anderson is the founder of StopGap Foundation. (Courtesy of Luke Anderson)

Read story transcript

Luke Anderson was an adrenaline junkie who loved mountain biking but in 2002 he failed to clear an eight-metre chasm and crashed onto the forest floor below.

"I left the takeoff platform and I essentially left my life as I knew it," says Anderson who lives in Stouffville, Ont.

"I knew right away what happened. I knew that life was going to be different from that moment on."

The accident left Anderson in a wheelchair but it also gave him an entirely new perspective on the world and at the challenges people with disabilities face moving through cities like Toronto. 

"I started to realize that everybody benefits from a barrier-free amenity and I wanted to start a conversation about the importance of accessibility."

That conversation lead to a project, now known as StopGap Foundation, that initially created 13 brightly-coloured ramps given to business in Toronto's Junction neighbourhood — providing barrier-free access for everyone.

"I'm proud to say that we now have over 2,200 ramps serving different business owners right across Canada."

Anderson says now that his blinders are off after his accident, he feels he "lived a pretty selfish way of life."

"If we just change the way that we see things — welcome change in our lives — we ultimately become better people."

Listen to Luke Anderson's full story at the top of this web post.

Follow The Current's ongoing series, The Disruptors for more stories on how a moment of disruption changed everything. Send us an email with your story.

This segment was produced by The Current's Kristin Nelson.