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Wheelchair Ramps

Negotiating a ramp requires skill and practice to help you keep your balance and your momentum.


[Editor’s Note: This article is reprinted from The Manual Wheelchair Training Guide, © 1998 by PAX Press, a division of Beneficial Designs, Inc.]

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), a standard wheelchair ramp should have a grade no steeper than 1:12. This means that for every inch of rise (change in height), there should be 12 inches of run (change in length). This is sometimes referred to as an 8% grade or slope. Using this formula, a ramp going to a door with two 8-inch steps should be 16 feet long.

A standard ramp is gradual enough for many people to climb safely, but each individual's limits are different. Some people may not be able to manage a ramp this steep, while others can handle much steeper ones. Practice on ramps with railings in public places. Remember to lean "uphill" in the direction of the slope to maintain your balance.


Reprinted with permission from The Manual Wheelchair Training Guide, Section 2.5, Ramps, by Axelson P, Chesney D, Minkel J & Perr A; Illustrated by Clay Butler; © 1998 by PAX Press, a division of Beneficial Designs, Inc., Minden, Nevada; 775/783.8822; fax: 775/783.8823.

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