Mobility is a problem for about 3.6 million people in the United States over the age of 18. Many of those 3.6 million people depend on wheelchairs for mobility. Most people know what a wheelchair is and recognize its basic functions but there are a lot that you likely do not know about this mobility equipment.
There are some interesting facts about wheelchairs and mobility. Learning more about wheelchairs is a good idea for anyone whether you need one or not.
No One Is Wheelchair “Bound”
You may have heard the expression “wheelchair-bound” when referring to a person that uses a wheelchair. The fact is no one is bound to a wheelchair. A wheelchair is a mobility device. It is not a device that is binding, but a device that is liberating.
A Wheelchair Does Not Mean A Complete Inability to Stand
While many users are completely reliant on a wheelchair for mobility, some are not. For some users, the wheelchair assists with mobility even though they can walk. The fact is there are many reasons why someone would need a wheelchair part of the time. Do not be surprised if you see someone with a wheelchair stand up.
Wheelchairs Have Been Around Since 1595
The actual inventor of the first wheelchair is not known, but we do know, the first recorded wheelchair was built for Phillip II of Spain. We also know that George Klein built the first electric wheelchair during WWII to help disabled veterans take back their mobility.
In 1869 the first US patent was issued for a wheelchair. In 1933 the first foldable wheelchair was invented, this was a big deal because it meant that people that used a wheelchair could travel easier.
The Friendliest Wheelchair Countries
The United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada are the most wheelchair-friendly countries in the world. Mobility is easiest for wheelchair users in these countries.
About 98% of public transit in the US can accommodate wheelchairs. In the UK about 95% of public restrooms are equipped for wheelchair access.
Not All Wheelchairs Are the Same
Did you know that there are different types of wheelchairs made for different activities? For example, folding wheelchairs are great for travel, and quick trips. They are easy to store and highly portable.
Performance wheelchairs are built for comfort and for speed. High-performance wheelchairs are outfitted with a wide range of bells and whistles like off-road wheelchair tires. There are wheelchair alterations available for every lifestyle.
Next time you see a wheelchair remember there is a lot that people do not know about these assistive devices.