I'm about to take my friend on a trip. This friend is in a wheelchair. It's mostly flat pavement with one exception. There is 15% slope I will need to climb up and down. It's something like 300 meters but it seems quite steep.

Is it reasonable to think this will be no problem at all? The wheelchair has brakes and is pretty light. The person does not have more than 65 kg. I would say I'm in good fitness form. The surface is asphalt.

Thanks, Endokr

  • 1
    Shouldn't you personally be the best judge of your abilities? It's hard for us to make such an estimate.
    – JonathanReez
    Aug 21 '18 at 15:56
  • 2
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not about travel. Aug 21 '18 at 16:01
  • I have worked as referee in wheelchair rugby. Your handicapped friend must know what (s)he can do or not, there is no way to give any reasonable estimation. Some handicapped people can climb quite impressive slopes (e.g. staircases, bike ramps) by themselves while others have trouble to move themselves on level roads. It's like asking: Can people run 2 km? Some can do 42 km, some give up after 200m. Aug 21 '18 at 17:38
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    I have voted to reopen this question because it is about "health and safety issues related to travel."
    – ajd
    Aug 21 '18 at 18:31

The ADA specs in the USA call for a maximum grade of 1:12 (8.3%) for ramps. But many disabled people who don’t have upper body strength find even this is too steep. So 15% for sure is too steep for most people to do by themselves. Your friend may be a wheelchair triathlete, it’s hard for us to know.

Furthermore, the ADA also calls for landings every few yards. These are necessary rest areas with a zero grade. They are especially important if the wheelchair brakes won’t hold on a steep grade because otherwise you might have a runaway chair.

It sounds like you’re pushing. 15% is quite steep and 300 meters is quite a long run. Try to consider what will happen if you lose your grip or fall while pushing your friend up or down. Do they have enough strength and control to bring themselves to a full stop on such a grade? I’d first practice with someone who is able bodied and able to leap out of the chair if it goes out of control.

Many tourism councils can refer you to a local power wheelchair or scooter rental office. Or can suggest an alternative route or hook you up with local paratransit options such as an accessible taxi service.

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