Advancing disability rights and leadership globally®

Inaccessible? Ramp it!

a portable ramp with handrails
a portable ramp with handrails

Ramps can be portable or temporary to provide access to public places and other buildings that are otherwise inaccessible.

The slope of a ramp should be no greater than 1:12, which is 12 feet (or meters) of horizontal ramp for every 1 foot (or meter) of vertical height. Some people with disabilities can use personal ramps that are shorter and steeper than 1:12. Before building a short ramp to provide access for a person with a disability, discuss whether a steeper ramp would work for that individual.

Portable ramps are around six or seven feet (1.83 meters to 2.13 meters) in length. They vary in weight based on the materials used and many fold for easier storage. Also ask about available carrying cases; some look like suitcases, fold and roll on wheeels or have bags for storing on the back of wheelchairs.

Standard ramps may not be sufficient for some types of wheelchairs or three-wheeled scooters, so sturdier ramps capable of supporting the weight of power wheelchairs may be needed.

People with mobility disabilities who do not use wheelchairs can benefit from ramps too, particularly if using steps is difficult. Handrails are helpful and should be placed on both sides of a staircase or ramp.

Portable ramps can be purchased or rented from medical supply stores, online businesses, and moving or delivery service companies. Homemade ramps or motorcycle ramps are also options. See related links for an example of portable ramps travelers with disabilities have used.

Mention of a resource should not be construed as an endorsement by MIUSA/NCDE nor is the list exhaustive.

This article is part of the International Education Professional Pathway.

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