It is often overlooked that handicap ramps are an essential ingredient in wheelchair mobility and accessibility in places that were not originally built with wheelchair users in mind.
So in this article, we'll take a look at the kinds of handicap ramps that are in use, where they are used and how they are best deployed.
Public Buildings and Spaces
The first type of handicap ramp is the kind you probably see most of and that's the kind that are built up adjacent to existing stairways on public buildings and access points in public places.
Generally, they look reasonably in keeping with the buildings, but on many older buildings they can also look very much like they've been tacked on recently.
Some are built of permanent materials such as concrete or brick and these often seem in keeping with the general design of the building's access points to which they are attached. Others are built of more temporary looking materials such as aluminum, steel or wood and these often look exactly like they were added on as an afterthought.
Either way, these handicap ramps are a necessary addition to allow a more dignified and easy way of entering and exiting a building or public place.
In the home, handicap ramps allow easy access through front and rear doors as well as smoothing over any low steps on the ground floor of a house.
In addition to this, they allow full access to rear gardens if they happen to be on a much lower level than the rear of the house or its patio, terrace or veranda.
There are also portable handicap ramps that can be carried with the user, say in their vehicle for use in firstly getting in or out of a handicap van, then providing the means to go up or down high kerbs, or the single steps that you often find in park pathways.
There are many uses for the many different types of accessibility ramps that mean a wheelchair user or someone with limited mobility can get to places they may otherwise be prevented from accessing due to planning that did not take into account the needs of people with disabilities.
Originally posted: September 21, 2009
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