While accessibility for those using a wheelchair has improved significantly over the years there will always be situations where a wheelchair user arrives at destination only to find they are faced with trying to get up a kerb. The most common problem is simply that someone has parked badly and blocked the ramp – in this case it may be possible to get the culprit to move. But failing this, and if you’re somewhere without a dropped kerb, then you need an alternative or face not getting where you want to be.
Lightweight travel ramps that can be loaded in the back of the car can prove invaluable in these situations. They also make access much easier if you’re visiting friends who have a step up to their front door, or who don’t have dropped kerbs conveniently placed outside their houses.
Chartwell Insurance, a completely independent insurance broker that offers a specialist, caring service for disabled customers, looks at what mobile ramps are on the market to help with kerbs and steps. Whatever design you choose it’s important to buy from a reputable supplier and check the strength, durability and width measurement of the ramp.
Independent Living features Bentley Fielden ramps. These lightweight travel ramps are supplied with their own carry bag. Suitable for both wheelchairs and scooters, they can be stored in the boot of a car, on the back of a wheelchair or carried by carers or family members to help get up kerbs or steps. Costing £140 (ex VAT and delivery) they are a relatively cheap option.
MobilitySmart offers a folding aluminium ramp that can be carried like a suitcase with carrying handle. Two location pins hold the ramp together while it is being carried. The ramp has plastic feet for use indoors and non-slip rubber strips under the top lip. Available in 5ft to 8ft lengths, prices start from £214 (ex VAT and delivery).
The Ramp People stock a folding ramp for wheelchair users. This double width track ramp has a wide, non-slip surface and a centre-mounted carrying handle. The two hinged tracks unfold and have an angled lip at the top of the ramp for added security. Prices start at only £38 (ex VAT and delivery) for a 2ft ramp with ramp lengths going up to 8ft.
Another alternative are ramps that roll up for transportation. Roll-a-Amp ramps can be unrolled and placed on the top of the step. They are constructed from high tensile anodised aluminium making them relatively lightweight. Available in either 12” (30.48cm) width pairs or single width ramps of 30” (76.2cm) wide, they are priced from £297 (ex VAT and delivery) for a 3ft x 30in length.
WelcomeMobility has a very simple threshold ramp. Basically an aluminium wedge, this ramp is lightweight, has a non-slip surface and a built-in carry handle. There are three different sizes with prices from £59.99 (ex VAT and delivery). WelcomeMobility also has threshold ramps supplied in sections. These can be fitted together with each section giving a 25mm rise to cope with differing height steps or kerbs.