The options available to load a wheelchair into or onto a vehicle, depend on the weight and size of the chair as well as whether it and if it has to be loaded from the driver’s door or the back of the vehicle. Unfortunately the options from the driver’s door are limited. Vehicles with large boot space, can fit a folding or small rigid frame wheelchair.
ROOFTOP hoists keep the wheelchair out of the vehicle, leaving maximum space for the passengers and luggage. They are only suitable for folding manual chairs. They add a lot to the fuel consumption of the vehicle, and the wheelchair is exposed to the elements.
The OMNIGO hoist is locally made by SWC Lifts (0828722290), and lifts the wheelchair from next to the driver’s door, up onto the roof of the vehicle. It is available through a number of agents.
LOADING THROUGH SLIDING DOOR
Where a vehicle has a sliding door, Shoprider can supply a hoist that pulls or lifts the wheelchair into the vehicle behind the driver. The door width should be 80mm wider than the wheelchair width, and 150mm higher than the wheelchair height. This depends on the door opening size compared with the wheelchair size. The wider the door in relation to the wheelchair, the closer the chair can be brought to the driver.
Wheelchair boot hoists function like a small crane to lift a wheelchair or scooter into a vehicle. There is a wide variety of hoists available and they are chosen according to the weight and size of the wheelchair and the size of the door opening. There is a choice of electronic lift and manual placement into the vehicle, or fully electronic lift and stowing. The disadvantage of these systems is the amount of space that is used inside the vehicle. They fit best in a hatchback or MPV which has a large boot opening and minimal drop down into the boot. Boot hoists are available from Shoprider (012 6531817), EZ Drive (0713629350), Easy Drive WC (021 851 9592) and Leda Medical (021 5576774 ext 1005), Barry Edy (0826573734).
RAMP INTO VEHICLE
There are a variety of ramps available which can be used to push a heavy wheelchair up into a vehicle to save having to lift it. Ramps are available from most wheelchair suppliers.
There are many racks available that fit onto the tow hitch of a car that can transport a wheelchair behind the vehicle. These can be a platform type rack for large electric wheelchairs, or a smaller frame that the wheelchair hooks onto, similar to a bicycle rack. See contact list for suppliers.