A wheelchair ramp can provide vital accessibility for anyone confined to a wheelchair or scooter. There are several different kinds of wheelchair ramps.
Straight wheelchair ramps are the simplest type of ramp to construct and use. They have a straight line from the door to the desired street level. These ramps do not have any turns or angles, and so they are most efficient for individuals who often need to be transported in a portable or mobile bed.
An angled ramp may run the length of the side of a house and then bend around into the front or back yard. This type of ramp does not have the sharp angle of an L-shaped or U-shaped ramp, but needs special attention to the transition so that the angle is not dangerous and facilitates easy movement between the two sections.
An L-shaped ramp is probably the most common style of wheelchair ramp. This is also called a 'dog leg' shaped wheelchair ramp. It is easy to construct and use.
This kind of ramp is often installed from a front and back door. It has a long ramp from the door and then a single turn that leads to the lower part of the ramp. It has a slowly-rising slope, which makes it best for individuals who have chairs that must be operated manually rather than chairs or scooters powered by motor.
The U-shaped wheelchair ramp is also called a switchback ramp. This kind of ramp has a landing platform where the direction of the ramp changes in 180 degree turn. Usually, both sections of the ramp run parallel to each other. This kind of ramp usually requires less space than an L-shaped ramp, but may be more difficult to navigate for individuals who do not have motorized scooters or wheelchairs.
Ramp Turn Design
The design and width of the turns for either type of ramp is extremely important so that it can be used efficiently. Angles and turns should be wide enough to accommodate the entire width of the chair as it maneuvers around the corners. The best rule for this purpose is to measure the width of the chair and design the turns so that the chair is easily able to turn in an entire circle, including any space needed for an attendant who might be pushing the chair. Sharp or tight angles should be avoided since this may result in accidents for both the person in the wheelchair and the attendant