How to push a wheelchair on ramps

Updated July 20, 2017

Wheelchair ramps provide access to buildings and spaces for people with mobility problems and people pushing strollers or carts. The maximum slope for a wheelchair ramp according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is 1:12. Though this 8 per cent grade may not appear very steep, there are still steps you can take to safely push a wheelchair up or down a ramp.

Put the anti-tippers down when ascending a wheel chair ramp. The anti-tippers are located on the back of the wheelchair and have either a pad or tiny wheels. They will keep the chair from tipping over backwards.

Lean uphill into the slope of the ramp. This will help you maintain balance as you move up the ramp.

Stay in constant contact with the person in the wheelchair. Let them know if you're having trouble and need a break. If you need to stop, place the wheelchair perpendicular to the slope of the ramp.

When pushing someone down a ramp, lean backward with the slope of the ramp. This will help you maintain balance. Also, watch your speed and bend your legs to slow the wheelchair. Use the brake if you get tired or if the chair gains too much momentum.

Zigzag down the ramp if the decline is too steep. Push the wheelchair in a zigzag pattern to reduce speed, being careful not to hit the rails if there are any on either side.

Use your legs rather than your back to push the wheelchair. Keep your back straight and listen to your body to avoid future back injuries from pushing a chair incorrectly.


Backpacks or other articles hanging from the back of the wheelchair may cause it to tip backward more easily. Anti-tippers may catch at the beginning of the ramp.


Check with your doctor to make sure you're physically fit to push a wheelchair. If you need to disengage the anti-tippers at the beginning of a ramp, use extra caution when pushing the chair and engage them as soon as possible.

Things You'll Need

  • Wheelchair
  • Ramp
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About the Author

Evan Town has been a professional writer and consultant in Los Angeles, California for over 5 years. His writing has been featured on HGTV's hit show, "House Hunters" and ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." Towne holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts and is an active member of the Writers Guild of America, West.