A wheelchair ramp is a welcome sight to someone whose disability limits mobility. A ramp guarantees safe wheelchair access for wheelchair users and others with mobility issues. Even if someone has difficulty climbing stairs or uses a cane, a wheelchair ramp grants safe access and allows that person to accomplish both important errands and the everyday activities that most people take for granted.
But finding safe access to public buildings should not be haphazard or just a fortuitous happenstance, it should be the norm because the law requires it. The Americans with Disabilities Act provides civil rights protection to all people with disabilities and includes specific regulations that govern the installation of wheelchair ramps.
The ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG) set out specific ratios for slope, width and length, as well as requirements for the handrails and surface integrity of wheelchair ramps (see details here: http://www.access-board.gov/adaag/html/adaag.htm#4.8). All public buildings must be in compliance with these guidelines. Public buildings include local, state and federal buildings as well as hotels, restaurants, office buildings, stores and other publicly accessible buildings.
Sometimes, an existing ramp may fall into disrepair, rendering it hazardous. Perhaps the surface is uneven or there are holes and cracks that compromise its safety. At this point, the building owner is no longer in compliance with the ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG).
If you find barriers to your access of a public building due to the lack of a wheelchair ramp, or because of a ramp that is no longer in a safe condition, you can contact us. At Access Advocates, we are experienced in accessibility issues and accessibility compliance. We will advocate with you to improve accessibility in your community and work to ensure buildings are ADA compliant. Let us help you remove the barriers in your life!
Image courtesy of Flickr, Dave Fayram