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How To: Options for transporting wheelchairs and scooters

Aug 23, 13 • How-To, MobilityNo CommentsRead More »

Options for Transporting Wheelchairs and Scooters

When selecting a method of transporting a wheelchair in a vehicle the appropriate choice depends largely on the weight of the wheelchair and the caregivers or user’s ability to handle the wheelchair. Unoccupied wheelchairs and other loose accessories should be secured within vehicles, preventing them from becoming loose projectiles in a vehicle impact. A cargo barrier is recommended for station wagons.

RAMPS (Things to consider):

  • Will the wheelchair be occupied or unoccupied
  • Weight of the ramp
  • Load capacity of the ramp
  • Length of ramp required to ensure a safe slope
  • The width of the ramp compared to the width of the chair/scooter
  • Edge barriers
  • Surface of the ramp (non slip)
  • Ease of folding and carrying
  • Storage space available once the wheelchair is in the vehicle
  • Safe and secure attachment to the van/SUV surface

Ramps can be purchased in a free standing track or platform style, attached van ramps and hitch mounted ramps. The track style is more difficult to negotiate, however the weight of the platform style may be too great for some people. The track style tends to be easier to store as it has two separate parts. Generally a SUV, station wagon or van are the most suitable vehicles that can accommodate a portable ramp.

WHEELCHAIR LIFTS

  • INSIDE MOUNTED LIFTS (considerations)
  • Protection of the wheelchair and lift in bad weather
  • Storage capacity permanently reduced by the lift
  • Drilling required to install lifts
  • All lifts are powered by the vehicle battery

It is also important to ensure the wheelchair is strapped securely to the vehicle. This is because, in the event that the vehicle would have to brake quickly the load may be dislodged.

  • TRAILER HITCH MOUNTED EXTERIOR LIFTS
    • Able to lift motorized wheelchairs and scooters into the back of a vehicle
    • The seat may need to be removed, or the overall height of the wheelchair reduced, to fit into the rear of the vehicle
    • A boom lifting arm slots into the main body of the hoist, and the wheelchair or scooter is attached by a hook or strap mechanism
    • A push button control switch controls the movement of the lift
    • Powered by the vehicle battery

WHEELCHAIR CARRIERS (considerations)

  • Extra length – It adds to the car when parking and unloading
  • The ease of removal of the device
  • Protection of the wheelchair in bad weather
  • Tongue weight capacity of the hitch
  • The visibility of the license plate, lights and turn indicators
  • Access to the back of the vehicle
  • Protection of the wheelchair against theft
  • Suitable restraint of the wheelchair while the vehicle is in transit

There are a number of hitch mounted carrying devices available. Some have a fold down ramp to eliminate the need for lifting the wheelchair, while others require manual handling to lift the wheelchair in place. Some are fully powered and require no lifting of a ramp or wheelchair.

WHEELCHAIR TRAILERS (considerations)

  • Extra length – It adds to the car when parking and unloading
  • The ease of removal and storage of the trailer
  • Protection of the wheelchair in bad weather
  • Tongue weight capacity and towing capacity of the hitch
  • Protection of the wheelchair against theft
  • Suitable restraint of the wheelchair while the vehicle is in transit

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