For health reasons, not everyone is able to transfer onto a motorcycle, into a sidecar or onto a trike seat and may be required to remain in a wheelchair.
For this reason, some motorcycles are required to be Wheelchair Accessible. A trike is an excellent option for a wheelchair occupant to ride while sitting in a wheelchair. Disability trikes can be easily classified into three options depending on the rider and the chosen motorcycle to be modified.
Side Entry – Access Option 1
This option would be necessary if the trike is driven by an engine and diff at the rear. Many of these trikes are driven by a Volkswagen or Subaru engine. Volkswagen engines are air-cooled and therefore do not require a radiator, which make them perfect to power a trike.
Entry From Footpath/Sidewalk
Depending which country you live in, parking on the side of the road will be either on the left or right. This will determine which side you will enter the trike. You do not want to be exiting your trike into the traffic flow, as this could be very dangerous.
The example below would suit Australia where traffic moves along the left hand side of the road.
Rear Entry – Access Option 2
This option is only possible when the trike has the engine behind the forks under the fuel tank. Having the engine in the front allows clear space for the wheelchair to enter the motorcycle. Independent Suspension removes the need for a diff and is therefore necessary to allow rear access to the bike.
Drop Floor or Fold-up Ramp
A drop down floor allows a wheelchair to access the motorcycle by lowering the rear of the trike floor to the road. When the rider’s wheelchair has been safely secured to the trike floor, the floor is raised to allow clearance between the trike floor and the road. Although this option is rare in wheelchair accessible trikes, it is sometimes seen in wheelchair accessible cars.
The other rear entry option is to have a fixed floor with a folding ramp. The rider will lower the ramp to the road, move the wheelchair into the trike, secure the wheelchair and fold the ramp up behind them.
An example would be a Ridan Nippi. The gallery on this website clearly shows the process of entering and exiting the trike.
Transfer From a Wheelchair – Access Option 3
The third option a wheelchair occupant has is to transfer from the wheelchair. This option is suitable for riders that do not require a wheelchair that has been specifically modified to suit their requirements.
If the rider can comfortably transfer from the wheelchair to a standard car seat, then they could consider transferring to a trike seat.
Example: Side Entry with Swivel Seat
The trike will either have been modified to suit a wheelchair or the rider will have to make an application to the Transport Authority to modify an existing trike. When the application has been accepted, the rider will then locate an Engineer to perform the modification.
Upon completion of the modification, the trike will be tested for safety and if approved will be certified for use on the road with a wheelchair occupant.
Which Option is the Best?
The best option will depend on whether you currently own a trike to modify, or if you will be purchasing a trike.
If you do not own a trike, and you have chosen your preferred method of access, you could meet with an engineer willing to modify a trike before purchasing.
Custom Trike Modification/Fabricators
There are some companies that will build a custom trike to suit your needs:
Wheelchair Accessible Trike Sales
Another option would be purchasing a trike that has been manufactured for wheelchair access.
Here are some examples:
Second Hand Motorcycles
You should check the following websites often to see if there are any secondhand motorcycles available:
The following websites provide a comprehensive list of manufacturers and conversions of Motorcycles, Sidecars and Trikes:
Together we can make this an accessible world.
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Thank you for visiting Ability Motorcycles. Dave