You may or may not notice the many uses given to handicap ramps in your town, but when you use a wheelchair, they suddenly take on huge importance in your life and in determining how you get around the place.
Wherever you see a building or structure or walkway that has steps, for most people they take very little notice and why should they? But when you are not most people and are restricted to using a wheelchair in order to get around, those steps take on a whole new dimension.
The first thing is that wheelchairs and mobility scooters simply can't negotiate stairs or steps without the assistance of other people and the whole affair can be embarrassing and in some case downright degrading. This is why we have simple devices sometimes referred to as handicap or wheelchair ramps that can be used to provide easier access in those places that would be inaccessible without them.
What are Handicap Ramps?
The handy and useful sloped or inclined platforms known as handicap ramps are essentially specially manufactured artificial inclines that straddle individual steps, groups of steps, or run up alongside existing stairways or are purpose built to complement staired building access specially for those that require them.
They can be used in public buildings, parks and public open spaces, walkways, for obtaining access to specially adapted vehicles for transporting wheelchair users as well as public transportation and also in the home.
What Kinds Are There?
The useful artificial inclines come in several types, sizes and modes of use. They are:
Permanent Handicap Ramp
Permanent ramps are the kind that are built in situ. These are generally constructed from reinforced concrete, molded steel or of wooded construction. They are often to be found at
- public building access points
- on public footpaths where there are permanent steps
- at railway and bus stations for access to the buildings and to boarding points, such as on train platforms.
It is also worth noting that not all public transportation depots or stations are thus equipped. Such places are often either due for an upgrade or they simply have not been earmarked for the additions if no one has complained about them!
Semipermanent Handicap Ramp
Semipermanent ramps are situated in or around public buildings that either don't have the budget for a permanent solution, or have not been fitted with a permanent incline for reasons of very low usage, or where the possibility if a retro-fit is unlikely. The semipermanent type are generally constructed from modular steel, aluminium sections or wood.
Portable Handicap Ramps
A portable ramp can be carried by a person in a wheelchair by themselves in a bag or handy container. They can also be carried by the people who accompany them. They are most often made from molded aluminum for its lightness and portability.
Vehicle Access Ramps
Vehicle access ramps provide easy access for wheelchairs to mobility vehicles such as vans, buses, coaches or trains. They are generally constructed from aluminum along with rubber matting for better grip of wheelchair tires.
RV Accessible Ramps
RVs are special vehicles that many people enjoy using to take on the kind of vacation that doesn't need any hotels or motels booking. These homes on wheels are ideal for families to get away and head off into the sunset wherever the open road takes them.
For folks with physical disabilities, there are handicapped RVs specially adapted and customized for their use. You can also get an RV ramp for the handicapped that are a combination of inclined ramp and powered lift so wheelchair users can easily gain access to the RV through a specially widened door or access panel depending upon the design.