Traveling in an RV is a great way to spend your vacation without worrying about hotel bills. Even big rigs and campers are notoriously bad gas hogs, but you can save money by staying at an RV park. Many campers also come with luxurious amenities to make longer stays more comfortable. However, most RVs are not adapted for riders with disabilities. Here are a few ways RV drivers (and RV park owners) can add accessibility options for wheelchair users and other people with disabilities.
RV accessibility options
ramps and lifts
Wheelchair users can benefit from ramps or lifts installed in the RV. Lamps are usually the cheapest option, with wide models selling for around $550 on Amazon. However, ramps with guardrails and higher weight capacity can cost upwards of $1,000, Lynx explains.
Wheelchair lifts are even more expensive and you may need to hire a professional to install them safely. Despite the extra planning, lifts require less strenuous effort from wheelchair users than ramps.
Hand controls and swivel seat for RV drivers
You can also add accessibility features to your RV driver. Hand controls allow safe operation of the rig’s foot pedals. And the swivel seat gives you more mobility.
Lynx says many RVs have just one handbar, but you can add more for relatively minimal cost. These are commonly installed in his RV’s bedroom and restroom. Just like at home, railings and benches can also be incorporated into his RV’s shower area.
If the RV is wide enough, it may accommodate roll-in showers for wheelchair users. Larger rigs are more easily modified with a wheelchair accessible floor plan. You can create wider wheelchair aisles by rearranging fixtures and furniture.
Lowered control across RV
Regardless of the size of the RV, people with limited mobility may appreciate the low controls very much. Allow wheelchair users access to light switches and easy use of kitchen facilities.
Making RV Parks More Accessible
CurbFree With Cory Lee points out that many wheelchair users don’t want to risk damaging their expensive mobility equipment on rocks. RV campground owners can alleviate these concerns by offering wheelchair rentals.
It also provides reassurance to those who require a wheelchair with chronic pain or mobility impairment. Camping trips typically involve a lot of physical activity that can cause pain flare-ups in many people.
In addition, rental ramps and other onsite equipment help individuals with reduced mobility in and out of the RV.
In addition, accessible RV parks may include specific walkways for wheelchairs.
Important note about RV accessibility changes
Note that accessibility features such as ramps and lifts are not universal. Wheelchairs come in different dimensions, so not everyone can use the same accessibility platform. Similarly, some people lack upper body function to use handrails.
In some cases, RV manufacturers work together to install their own accessibility features in their vehicles. A custom-built wheelchair lift is the most convenient option for some he RV adventurers.
NewMobility reports that Canyon Star can offer an accessible RV. The first 3911 model featured a wheelchair-accessible dining area, roll-in shower, and low-positioned control switches throughout the vehicle.
Winnebago also manufactures several Accessibility Enhanced (AE) models, including the Inspire AE, Adventurer AE, and Roam camper van.
As the demand for accessibility grows, more RV manufacturers are likely to advertise such features directly.