Mobility ramps are an essential part of life for anyone who uses a wheelchair, power chair, scooter, walker, or other wheeled device. Mobility ramps can enhance the accessibility of your home, of your workplace, and of public places.
Because of their varied uses, mobility ramps
come in countless different designs, sizes, and styles. Below is the essential information that you need to know when buying a mobility ramp.
Mobility ramps can fulfill a number of different purposes. Small ramps can be used to turn a doorframe into a surface that you can wheel a wheelchair over. Other larger, more significant mobility ramps are suitable for making an entranceway of stairs handicapped accessible.
Rise of the Ramp
The rise of the mobility ramp is one of the most important details in finding a ramp which will work for your situation. The rise refers to the overall angle that the ramp creates. The rise is affected by the overall length of the ramp and the height of the stairs that the ramp is positioned over. For instance, a smaller ramp will have a greater rise when placed over 12” stairs than a longer ramp will have when placed over those same stairs. A ramp with too steep a rise will be difficult to navigate, and can even be unsafe.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, you should strive to have one foot of ramp for every one inch of vertical rise. You can calculate the length of the mobility ramp that you will need by measuring the total height of the stairs or the porch that your ramp will run up over. Convert this measurement to inches. The total number of inches equals the number of feet that the ramp should be. For instance, if you will be placing a ramp over stairs measuring a total of ten inches tall, then the ramp that you use should be at least ten feet long.
Before you settle on a mobility ramp, check its dimensions. You will want a ramp which is at least a few inches wider than the widest piece of equipment that you will be using on the ramp. If the mobility ramp is to include a turn, then make sure that the turn features enough space for you to easily navigate with your wheelchair
, or other equipment.
Don’t forget to also look at the ramp’s weight capacity. Every mobility ramp should come with a maximum weight capacity. Check the weight of your heaviest piece of equipment, and make sure that, when combined with your weight and possibly the weight of a person who may assist you, the total is still below the ramp’s maximum weight rating.
Some mobility ramps come standard with guardrails. It’s important to include guardrails on ramps which rise more than a foot or so above the ground. These guardrails can help to prevent any wheeled equipment from accidentally sliding off of the ramp, and they also lend support to anyone who walks on the ramp.
Mobility ramps can greatly improve accessibility, but it’s important to make sure that you buy the mobility ramp that is right for your situation.