You must have come across ramps that are too steep for a wheelchair. Most establishments try to get around the law by just installing any wheelchair ramp. They don’t even think for a bit if the ramp can really be used! This is the reason finding very steep ramps is not unusual in various parts of the world. Wheelchair Ramp Ratio is the measure that defines how steep a ramp should be.
In most part of the world, Wheelchair Ramp Ratio is 1:12. This means that for one inch of rise, the ramp should be 12 inches long. In other words, one foot length for one inch rise.
Let’s understand the Wheelchair Ramp Ratio with the help of an example. Suppose, you have a doorway that is two feet (24 inches) high from the ground level. So, you would need to install a ramp that is 12×24 = 288 inches or 24 feet long.
Wheelchair Ramp Ratio (WRR) in Various Countries
- United States: the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires a WRR to be 1:12
- United Kingdom: the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and Equality Act 2010 also require the WRR to be 1:12
- Hong Kong: Barrier Free Access terms of Hong Kong dictate that the WRR should be 1:12
- Australia: the Australian Standards Council mandates 1:14 meters of Wheelchair Ram Ratio. This means that for every one meter rise there has to be 14 meters long ramp.
ALSO SEE: History of Wheelchairs!
Length and Width of Wheelchair Ramps
It’s not just the slope, but the length and width of a wheelchair ramp also matter. A too long ramp without rest platform may fatigue the wheelchair user. A narrow ramp poses the danger for the wheelchair to run over the edges.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in USA says that there must be a rest or turn platform after every 30 feet of ramp. This means that the ramp can be of any length but a single run of the ramp should not be longer than 30 feet. After every 30 feet or less there must be a rest or turn platform.
As per Australian Standards Council, the width of a wheelchair ramp has to be at least one meter.
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