For many wheelchair users, getting around town or traveling to far-off places such as another city for example, can be a daunting task. People with disabilities need to have their wheelchairs to make it easier when they travel. Traveling with a wheelchair, however, is not so convenient without a specialised wheelchair carrier.
Without a carrier for your vehicle, you will have to purchase a compact folding wheelchair while making sure that your vehicle's boot is spacious enough to fit a folded wheelchair along with the rest of your travel essentials. Or, if you are fortunate enough to have a pickup truck in your garage, you can just load up your wheelchair on the pickup bed.
Even if a folding wheelchair can fit inside your boot it may not be so convenient as folding and unfolding and fitting the wheelchair in the boot takes a few extra steps that you would otherwise not have to do with a wheelchair carrier. This is also the case with pickup trucks. In order to make sure that your wheelchair is securely placed in the pickup bed, you need to tie it down somehow to keep it from moving.
Luckily, specialised devices such as wheelchair carriers are now more widely available. Wheelchair carriers for vehicles are mechanical devices that ease the burden of loading and transporting wheelchairs. These devices are available in four main types: top-mounted, bumper-mounted, hitch-mounted and carriers designed specifically for pickup trucks.
Types Of Wheelchair Carriers
Top-mounted wheelchair carriers are driven by electric motors and operate with a switch or an optional remote. These types of carriers hoist your wheelchair, fold it, and keep it securely in place in a storage compartment on top of your vehicle.
Bumper-mounted carriers are mounted on your vehicle's rear bumper. There are two types of bumper-mounted wheelchair carriers. One version has the same working principle as the top-mounted model, but instead of a separate compartment, this devices make use of your vehicle's boot.
The other type of rear bumper-mounted carrier works in the same way as a bicycle rack and are also called hitch-mounted wheelchair carriers. They lift and fold the wheelchair and secure it on the rear bumper of your vehicle. They are easily removable to give vehicle owners easier access to the boot. Controlling a hitch-mounted carrier is usually done manually using release bars that will lower the rack to the pavement. This version is the least expensive option as it contains little or no electronic components.
Lastly, there are wheelchair carriers made specifically for pickup trucks. These electronic devices lift your wheelchair and secure it on the pickup bed with just a press of a button.
Before making a decision regarding a wheelchair carrier make sure that the carrier can accommodate not just your current wheelchair. Try to make the purchase of a carrier "future-proof" so to speak. You might, one day, replace your wheelchair with a different one.
With the wide variety of wheelchair carriers on the market today, wheelchair users can now travel more conveniently and can enjoy a greater degree of independence.