How To Find The Strongest and Lightest Wheelchair Ramps
by RC Rougeux
There are many types of wheelchair ramps available... including
temporary and permanent ones. There are ones made of wood and ones
made of steel or aluminum. In this article, we're going to talk
about a different kind of ramp...a ramp that is completely portable.
So many mobility products are made to be ultra-portable. Wheelchairs
and scooters can be quickly and easily disassembled and will fit
into the trunk of a car. Or there are the highly convenient hitch
attachments that allow scooter users to lift their scooter off the
ground and drive around with it nearby, fully assembled and ready
for their convenience. Unfortunately, ramps have not followed suit
as closely as other mobility products. Ramps tend to be large, heavy,
unwieldy, and often permanent. There are two reasons for this:
1. The slope of the ramp needs to be a certain ratio of the height...which
means the higher the step you want to ascend, the longer your ramp
needs to be. This can increase the weight of the ramp dramatically
and longer ramps are, of course, less portable.
2. The material of a ramp needs to withstand a fair amount of weight.
While the materials that make up a wheel chair are fairly light
weight, when you combine them together with the user, a battery
and motor (in the case of an electric wheelchair), or a second person
to push the wheelchair up the ramp... that can be a lot of weight.
Many wheelchair ramps have to be rated for a MINIMUM of a 500 pounds
and many try to build beyond the minimum!
So, between the size of the ramp and the material necessary to
hold the weight, a ramp is not easily portable. But slowly, efforts
are being made to improve the portability of wheelchair ramps so
that they can carried with the wheelchair user. There are a few
...A suitcase ramp is the most well known. When it folds up, it
is about the size of a suitcase but when it is unfolded, it allows
a rise of about 1 - 2 steps (depending on the manufacturer). Unfortunately,
they are still fairly large, weighing about 41 pounds. They might
be found to be more portable in a scooter rather than in a wheelchair.
...A rolling ramp. These are unusual looking ramps. They are fairly
light in weight and they roll in one direction. When you want to
use them, you unroll them on a flat surface and flip them over and
the ramp is very strong. These ramps are often stronger than the
suitcase ramp, but they can also be more expensive. As well, they
are very portable but again are probably more portable on a scooter
than on a wheelchair.
...A home made ramp. Home made ramps are not always recommended
because they don't have a weighted and tested strength, they are
often just made of wood, and they can be put on slopes that are
not advisable. Still, many wheelchair users use them because they
are very slim to carry around, fairly lightweight, and easy to use.
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