Not all wheelchair ramps are gargantuan mazes with multiple switchbacks specifically fit for a house. Some ramps are much smaller, and in some cases are removable in order to better suit a wheelchair user’s needs. The two that we are going to cover are as follows: portable ramps and transportation lifts.
- Portable Ramps: One question that should arise is: Why would I need a portable ramp anyway? If I live in an area where all of my destinations are accessible for my wheelchair, then what is the point of purchasing a portable one? Some wheelchair users can easily get away with going through their daily routine without the use of a portable ramp. However, there are some users who frequent the community enough that they run the risk of visiting residences or facilities that are not accessible. Such places include family and friends’ homes and historical sites that are not required by law to update their property with accessibility features.
Now let’s be honest. Portable ramps are not meant to be very large. Most are two pieces of metal without handrails that fold into a compact suitcase. So if you are planning on entering a facility or house in which the only granted access has a 12-step entry, you will not be getting in with a portable ramp. Let’s review the following types of portable ramps and what types of barriers they are designed to scale:
Ez-Access Threshold Ramp, 1 Inch, 3 Pound:
Threshold ramps are designed for just that…thresholds and thresholds only. This particular ramp can scale a threshold up to 6 inches high. It is lightweight and easy to move around for indoor and outdoor use only. The width only accommodates for roughly 34 inches, so the user needs to consider the width of their own chair before using it.
Roll-A-Ramp Wide Ramp, 9′ Long x 30″:
- Holds up to 1000 lbs
- Package Dimensions: 32.0" X 15.0" X 35.0" (LxWxH)
- Simply remove from the box, set it on its side, unroll, lay flat on the ground and place the end plate and on interior link on the top surface and use
- Made in the USA
Roll-away style ramps are convenient for travel purposes since they take up so little storage space. This type of ramp can hold up to a 1,000 lb weight capacity which is rare for any kind of accessible ramp. It can also scale up to 3 steps and bolt in at a variety of different lengths. The down side is that the width is only 30 inches, which can be a problem for wider framed power chairs.
Ez-Access Trifold Ramp Advantage Series, 8 Feet, 62 Pounds:
- Portable Ramp: This ramp has a unique 3 fold design for portability when a longer ramp length is needed; Designed to be used and carried as one unit, or quickly separated into 2 individual sections
- Easy Setup: Ideal for 1 3 steps, with self adjusting bottom transition plates for easy conversion from ramp to ground; Folding size 48.75" x 15" x 11.5"; Weight 25 pounds per section (2); Capacity 800 pounds
- Safe and Slip Resistant: This foldable 8' ramp offers an applied slip resistant texture that allows mobility devices to retain traction in all weather conditions; Includes a built in carrying handle
- Increase Mobility and Security: Mobility solutions help you or a loved one regain confidence, freedom, and the ability to safely and independently access home or vehicle with less stress and more security
- Access Anywhere: Our products offer an array of temporary, portable and permanent mobility solutions from toilet lifts to ramps to homecare products to walker, scooter, wheelchair and crutch accessories
This is a more heavy-duty example of a portable ramp meant for a variety of places including larger vehicles. It folds in and out of three pieces for easy storage. The ramp has a high-traction material and the 8 ft length can scale a barrier up to 8 inches (according to ADA guidelines). Unfortunately, this is not the type of ramp you can manually fold up and store away on the back of your wheelchair. It is 52 lbs and is more appropriate to have assistance from others in throwing it into the back of a car.
HomCom 8′ Folding Portable Suitcase Mobility Wheelchair Threshold Ramp
- BUILT FOR SAFETY: Designed to assist wheelchairs over small stoops, this ramp provides a ribbed surface to help prevent sliding in any weather and two 2" high side walls to help prevent accidental falls. The applicable height of this 8ft wheelchair ramp is 9"-24"and recommended height is 9"-16".
- VERSATILE USES: The wheelchair ramp gives the disabled more freedom to get around apartment, garden, or get off car. It is primarily intended for home and building use, but it can also work with car and vans.
- 600LBS STATIC WEIGHT CAPACITY: Built from a sturdy, anti-corrosive aluminum alloy, this ramp has a weight capacity of up to 600 lbs, yet can be as a portable bi-fold ramp.
- EASY TO TRANSPORT AND STORE: The tri-fold design makes this ramp simple and easy to fold up into a compact unit and store in a vehicle or at home, and setup and teardown take only seconds.
- CONVENIENT HANDLE & ADJUSTABLE HEIGHT: The aluminum in tandem with a durable carry handle make this ramp easy for anyone to pick up and carry it. Comes with a supporting leg on both sides, make the height adjustable from 7.75''to 11.75''to suit for different occasions. 1''difference in each gear.
This aluminum ramp is similar to the previously listed Tri-fold ramp with a few exceptions. It can tolerate up to 600 lbs and can scale up to an 8-inch height (ADA recommended). It has guardrails on each side to keep wheelchair straight on the ramp throughout the entire length. It also comes with a suitcase of easier portability. Unfortunately the width is only 29 inches which is quite small for any type of powered chair. The total weight of the ramp is 46 lbs, so the wheelchair user may have to recruit someone else to lift and carry the ramp to where it needs to be placed.
- Transportation Lifts: This would include any type of platform designed to lift a wheelchair into an accessible van or a bus. In the U.S., may public transit buses and trains have electric ramps that protrude out from the entry and drop down to the cement providing a basic threshold ramp for wheelchairs, walkers, and canes. Medical buses, assistive living buses, some airport vans, and specialized public transit vans often come with lift systems in which an entire platform can be lowered and raised to accommodate for a variety of wheelchairs.
Where transportation lifts get tricky is when a wheelchair user is looking into getting their own private lift for vans. Purchasing a lift can be quite the financial blow to your wallet since the lift would have to be tagged onto an accessible van that can tolerate the weight capacity of the chair AND the lift equipment. Take a look at the following examples:
Freedom Fully Automatic Scooter Lift Carrier Class III Hitch Mount:
Scooter lifts are external systems that allow for loading a wheelchair onto the outside of the vehicle. This particular brand can lift up to 350 lbs, which is pretty decent given how heavy some powered scooters are these days. The driver would have to check to see if their vehicle would be able to tolerate the extra weight by consulting with a medical equipment provider, the manufacturer of the lift, and the manufacturer of the vehicle. Wheelchair users would also have to rely on someone else to assist them with loading and unloading the chair, transferring into the car, and transferring out of the car and onto the chair.
Transportation lifts: http://www.performancemobility.com/lifts/ricon/
The previous item could be easily located on Amazon.com. Now we are exploring unfamiliar terrain (and no, this article is not intentionally promoting accessible van sites) in which locating an internal transportation lift will not be done so easily on Amazon. The listed site above provides examples of what transportation lifts look like. Some are customized to fit a variety of vehicles. Other lifts require specific vehicles built to tolerate wheelchair and lift capacities. Accessing a lift can be an expensive venture and should be done with the utmost research and consideration. Explore a variety of websites and consult with several specialists who can recommend both lifts and accessible vans.