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There has been a problem with links from this article to web sites selling wheelchairs. This is a distasteful attempt to profit from a combination of generosity and disability.

Folding vs Rigid[edit]

This is an absolutely incorrect statement: "Almost all manual wheelchairs can be folded for storage or placement into a vehicle." In fact, many active wheelchairs are rigid or non-folding. Rigid wheelchairs have many advantages over folding wheelchairs and this should be detailed here. This article and in particular, the section on manual wheelchairs needs improvement.

History ?[edit]

Looking through this article I find absolutely nothing on the history of the device, when it began being used. Surely this information is around somewhere ...

I agree. (Lord Vader 20:45, 25 July 2006 (UTC))

History of the wheelchair:

I've been researching this on the web today and will post some links. I would edit the section to include more information myself but I'm not comfortable with making such a large edit to an article (I am a new/mostly inactive user and this section would benefit from a large edit)
(Potential problem on the "seating" section though, it's section is about changes in the 18th century but is placed after a section on the 19th century, possible unspotted mistake? Also the graphic seems a lot closer to the modern wheelchair than the models of the first half of the 19th century (but I have no proof that this is wrong.) I found an article (can't post the link, it's blacklisted, it was on ezinearticles) that I suspect used this as a source and seemed to think the "seating" was actually a type of wheelchair, I'm not an expert on wheelchairs or the 18th century but I cannot find another source for a wheelchair named "seating" unless this is what the first link intended by the section "seating".)
I'm not sure how many of these sources are unique, they read like they've all been copying from each other.
I think replacing the line "Later dates relate to Europeans using this technology during the German Renaissance." with information about King Philip II of Spain (Or a link to, Stephen Farfler's hand powered wheelchair and the "Bath Chair" would be a good start. It couldn't hurt to include dates and inventors of the different parts of modern wheelchairs to show how they have evolved over time (metal wheels, spokes and push rims for example). If you intend to keep it brief, perhaps say nothing more than a year and a key/interesting fact about wheelchair history. That would at least give the reader an idea on what to search for in order to get more information.
Here's hoping the information was useful. Xxcv (talk) 04:17, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

I noticed that the hand-drawn rickshaw is a type of wheelchair. (It is a seat on wheels, which is the basic definition of "wheelchair", and this definition can potentially be extended to some small varieties of horse-drawn carriage as well.)


The article needs work to improve flow and style. When I have some time I'll work on it, in the mean time the note should stay in case someone else can do it. Exploding Boy 02:04, July 22, 2005 (UTC)

Also, try to avoid debatable artifcats like "Rascal is a leading manufacturer"...qualify this! I'd say there are a good 10 manufacturers of scooters that "lead" more than Rascal (Pride, for example). Having said that, mention of manufacturers probably doesn't belong in an encylopedia article anyway--keep in mind this is an encyclopedia...keep writing technical and on task.

Stair climbing?[edit]

I came here to find some info on the stair climbing wheelchair I keep seeing on TV but it doesn't even mention it.

Well it probably should, as they could make "adaptions of the built eviroment to wheelchairs" a thing of the past. I don't know that they will make low-floor busses, trolleybusses and trams obsolete due to their advantages for even able-bodied people.

Yes, this should probably include a reference to the iBOT which can "walk" up and down stairs. There are also attachments that can be fitted to "normal" wheelchairs to facilitate stair climbing which may be of interest; I would have to look up references. It may also be worthwhile commenting that the risk management aspect of stair climbing is challenging: electrically operated devices like wheelchair controllers may have to shut down quickly due to various reasons, e.g., excessive temperature in the control electronics. While a shut-down is normally not problematic for a wheelchair on level ground, it would be catastrophic on stairs. --Hwalle 22:21, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

Wheelchairs in Books[edit]

There should be something about how any children's book, television show, or schoolbook has at least one disabled person in a wheelchair. Lol there's always a hugely disproportionate number of wheelchair people in children's media when compared to real life. I can see having people of different races in such things to promote equality, but is it really necessary to include a disabled person? Do people really treat disabled people as second-class citizens? Maybe the government is trying to get kids ready for a polio epidemic or something.

Do people really treat us as second class citizens? 1) My wife is not allowed to go above ground floor level in her place of work as she is a "fire risk" 2) My wife and myself are unable to go on buses together as there is only room for one wheelchair user on a bus. 3) People frequently talk to my able bodied friends and ignore me when they are talking about me or asking questions such as "does he take sugar in his coffee". 4) The laughing stock that is the disability discrimination act is almost totally ignored by many shops, services etc.

You decide.

"Do people really treat disabled people as second-class citizens?"
Unfortunately, yes. Both directly & indirectly. Without trying to sound negative, true equality is something that is very rarely encountered. This is partially a legal/policy issue but largely a function of social attitudes.
For example:
Legally (in AU, post 1993), a wheelchair user must have the option of an accessible room type when staying at a motel. This is what the law (& the majority of society) classes as equality.
In reality, the accessible rooms are almost always the lowest quality room type & no choice is offered in configuration or level.
True equality would be having a choice of room type (single, double, deluxe, suite, penthouse), not having to pay extra for necessary items (separate bed for carer instead of one bed shared etc). This is just an example of indirect treatment as a 2nd-class & certainly not an isolated instance. Kyebosh (talk) 23:00, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

Developing world wheelchairs[edit]

This site was just added to the Appropriate technology article:[Whirlwind Wheelchair International].

This looks excellent to me, and I'd like to see an article or section/subsection on wheelchairs of this type. Probably an article so it can be placed in the Appropriate technology category. As I know nothing about wheelchairs, perhaps someone could suggest a general name for this kind of wheelchair so we can use it as a title; also point out other info on this.

I'm happy to work on the article but if someone beats me to it I won't complain :) --Singkong2005 04:56, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

I will start the article at Whirlwind wheelchair. It will just be a stub for now. --Singkong2005 03:47, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Manual vs. powered, and users[edit]

I'll add this to my own list of "things to clean up when I have time". Things seem a bit slanted towards the manual user and spinal injuries; we have little mention of temporary wheelchair users, no mention of Mobility_scooters or comparison versus powerchairs, and no mention of standing frames, stair- or curb-climbing wheelchairs, or other fancy new technologies in development. There's no link to the iBOT article. The Buildings section doesn't cover ramps, handrails, powered doors, or portable ramps.

I'm also not sure if Wheelchair should be listed under Human powered vehicles if it includes powerchairs and scooters? Should powerchairs have their own entry?

Feyandstrange 05:28, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

Electrically Powered Wheelchairs[edit]

There are some technical points that should be tidied up here: while "Power chairs" is a very commonly used term, there is a standard (ISO?) stating that the technical term for these vehicles is "Electrically Powered Wheelchairs" (EPW).

Regarding batteries, the article here reads "Power chairs use electric motors to move the wheels. They are usually powered by 4 or 5 amp deep-cycle rechargeable batteries, similar to those used to power outboard boat engines. These are available in wet or dry options; currently dry cell batteries are more popular[citation needed]." This is not very accurate: there are power chairs using a combustion engine; the batteries on EPWs are not "4 or 5 amp", but rather in the range of 40 to 50 Ah (Ampere-hours) capacity; normally two 12-volt batteries are connected in series to form a 24-volt system. The reference to outboard boat engines does not make too much sense, as most outboard engines are using a combustion engine, a more common application of the same type of batteries would be electric forklifts. These batteries are called traction batteries, as opposed to SLI (starting, light, ignition) batteries used in cars to start the combustion engine. The technical difference is that traction batteries can be deep-cycled without damaging them, which SLI batteries can not, while SLI batteries can deliver higher currents at the same battery size. Today, the batteries used on wheelchairs are almost exclusively sealed lead-acid (SLA) batteries; these are also sometimes called valve-regulated lead-acid batteries (VRLA). --Hwalle 22:38, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

Sport wheelchairs[edit]

Ok, I decided to shift a few items around in this article, and to add a section for sport wheelchairs. There is a big difference between a racing wheelchair and and electric wheelchair, I cannot understand why they were both under the same heading.

That example pic is a racing chair from the early 80's. It looks dated and frankly gimpy. You should check online sources for a more up to date picture, manufacturers (Quickie, Top End, Eagle, etc.) or on line sales such as Same with the pic of the everyday chair. That one is directly embarrassing. The chair has changed so much since the 1950's style hospital chair you have in the image. I'm begging you, please change that one ! ;-)

Tre T

GastelEtzwane 21:15, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

Blow-driven wheelchairs[edit]

How do you call wheelchairs that drive by blowing in a tube (as seen on Terms of Endearment (Drawn Together episode)) and how do they work? --Abdull 09:44, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

This is an alternative drive mechanism frequently called Sip N Puff. --Sthayashi 07:46, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Wheelchair Bound?[edit]

I hate this term, and stumbled upon it in a number of articles today. Then went on a one-man-crusade to rid wikipedia of it. I notice this article makes no mention of it - is there concensus to remove it from other articles? Disablity groups prefer terms like "wheelchair user" and "wheelchair enabled". (The second of which seems a tad over the top, but "wheelchair user" seems to hit it right on target.) Comments? Photomikey 23:31, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

As a wheelchair user myself I entirely agree. I am not "bound" to my wheelchair, I get out of it to go to the loo, go to bed, have sex........(actually you know, there is a case for binding to a wheelchair whilst having sex, but thats a story you dont wanna hear!!) Jcuk 15:06, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

While I'm not one to get involved in political correctness, I've found that "wheelchair user" is the easiest & most accurate term I could use, especially when talking to able bods... they seem to be more comfortable thinking in terms of a person who makes use of a wheelchair than in terms of a person with a disability. No idea why, just an observation. Kyebosh (talk) 23:00, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

It is one of my pet hates too. Saying someone is "wheelchair bound" implies that their use of a wheelchair is the problem when in fact it is the solution to their actual problem. Just imagine how "bound" such a person would be if they need but do not have a wheelchair. For the record; I am a fulltime wheelchair user. Roger (talk) 13:31, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
Educating the "shoe bound" :P Kyebosh (talk) 09:18, 16 December 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

New section - advanced technology[edit]

Added some information about HiTech weelchairs such as the balancing iBot that can also climb stairs and go over rugged terrain PLEASE EXPAND WITH FURTHER INFORMATION

More cleanups[edit]

Cleaned up style, language, flow and so forth, made some additions, and removed most if not all mentions of specific manufacturers. Also finally linked to scooters.

Please note that that [IBOT](the 'stair clinbing wheelchair' lots of people are looking for) and [mobility scooter]s have their own pages.

Feyandstrange 04:30, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

Flow and Style[edit]

I'm with you on most of this comment, but your idea that power chair (2 words not one) is some how less "correct" that powered wheelchair is wrong, at least as far as my (American) experience. The one you don't want is electric wheelchair, which sounds like mobile execution. "Powered" from a writer's perspective is faulty 1. because it is passive and 2. it begs the question, "powered by what?" Power is much more descriptive and less gimpy, in my opinion.

T Trefethen

I've got to say, I've been keeping my eye on this article for more than a year and it is just going nowhere. There is absolutely no flow to the article whatsoever. How about a history, discussion about the design and evolution, components, etc, up to today's world of "high tech" powered wheelchairs. I shutter when I see the word "powerchair". The term is "powered wheelchair", let's refrain from the feels like any moment that man with the southern accent is going to come on TV at 2:00am and tell me he'll work hard to get me a "paworchair". Ugh! Having said all this, I could and am willing to rework the thing, but know I'd just get 100 reverts and ticked off contributors with egos yelling "Don't take my section about the iBot away!". This is not an informative encyclopedia article, but a hodge podge of random bits and near-facts here and there. Why would we mention one brand from one manufacturer (iBot) and not the other dozens of wheelchair manufacturers out there? If you're going to mention iBot then you've got to start listing Invacare TorqueSP, Invacare TDX3, Invacare Pronto M71, Permobil C300, Jazzy 600, Quickie Zippie TS, I mean we could be here for years. There is actually a whole section at the beginning of the article devoted to "stairs"??? Are you kidding me? Should the first section not be "what is a wheelchair" or "history of the wheelchair"? We've got to focus on terminology here too,'s a pneumatic interface, not "that kind of wheelchair you blow into". Yikes. So many things to clean up, so little time. And before the backlash the disclaimer on the bottom of every Wiki page...If you don't want your writing to be edited mercilessly or redistributed by others, do not submit it. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 00:17, June 21, 2006 (UTC)

Well, I'm no expert but the IBOT is something really special compared to the others

Ugh Again.[edit]

...and this quote from the article...

"The high end of the market contains ultra-light models, fancy seatig options and accessories, all-terrain features, and so forth, but most insurance providers (including Medicare) will not fund these more advanced models."

I mean, yuk! "Fancy Seating"? Define that for me. I'd like to order me some fancy seating for my fancy wheelchair. Maybe I'll get me a new-fangled titanium chair like them there sports guys. I am yet to see fancy seating on a wheelchair. Complicated seating...involved seating...supportive seating...even custom seating, but fancy, no.

And then the worst of all blunders... MOST INSURANCE PROVIDERS WILL NOT FUND THESE ADVANCED MODELS. Spoken like a true 3rd rate medical equipment provider with absolutely no clue how to process a wheelchair claim through a funding source...and I GUARANTEE that is who wrote this. This is the guy that sits next to me at a conference and keeps asking if "Medicare pays for...." Study a local medical policy article from your DMERC once in a while. Furthermore, the statement is as false as it gets and should be completely removed from the article for two reasons...1) Medicare policy has no place in an encyclopedia article about wheelchairs. Why don't we include MDA's medical equipment loaner policies? How about Blue Cross's supplemental policy as it relates to crutch holders? Seriously. and 2) Medicare, and every other funding source I've ever seen certainly does "fund advanced models", so long as the advancedness, for lack of a better term, can be medically justified.

I'm done. Let me have it. --unsigned comment added by User:

Feel free to improve the article to your heart's content. Exploding Boy 01:17, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Repeated Vandalism of this and other disability related pages[edit]

Is there anything we can do about the idiot(s) who keep putting an external link to one company and putting various stub things on here? Jcuk 19:41, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

We can request that this page be semi-protected, (WP:RFP), which will prevent anonymous users and newly created accounts from editing the page. I haven't made that sort of request before, but I'll submit it soon. - Justin (Authalic) 19:58, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
Update: I submitted a request, but it was denied: "There is not enough recent activity to justify protection at this time. Just watchlist and revert." - Justin (Authalic) 20:09, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

And more repeated Vandalism of this and other disability related pages[edit]

Just reverted more vandalism, though this time by what I presume was a teenager. For the record :( Altairah 08:28, 3 June 2007 (UTC)


Hi, I didn't see any section about the concerns of the handicapped, think that would be necessary to fit full article needs.--Andersmusician $ 04:03, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

  • Of the Handicapped what? Lifts? Chairs? Tables?? OHHH!! You mean disabled people!!

Suggest splitting/forking articles on Manual Wheelchairs and Electrically Powered Wheelchairs[edit]

There is certainly enough information out there to warrant giving these two topics their own wikipedia article, and there may even be enough content as is for their own articles. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sthayashi (talkcontribs) 07:27, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Merge with Wheelchair (hydrogen)[edit]

The Wheelchair (hydrogen) article does not present sufficient information to stand on its own. As it is a subset of wheelchairs, it should be merged into this article. Neelix (talk) 14:53, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Argument supported Gregorydavid (talk) 15:14, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Oppose, the article is waiting for the outcome from the Hychain mini-trans project, in that sense its more importantant for the hydrogen section than for wheelchairs in general. Mion (talk) 18:48, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Oppose. The only real difference between those chairs and conventional powered chairs is that they (would) use hydrogen fuel cells rather than conventional batteries. Not really a notable difference in terms of the subject of wheelchairs per se. They are at this stage really just a curiousity of more relevance to the Fuel cell article than this one. Roger (talk) 16:43, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
Oppose. Concur with Roger. RivGuySC (talk) 21:15, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
Wow its been a whole year and nobody has canned the merge template - I'll do it now. Roger (talk) 14:24, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Photo of EPW[edit]

Is that really the best available photo? No offence meant, but it is a photo of a large woman sitting on what might possibly be an EPW. Hardly any of the wheelchair itself is visible! In fact this article really needs many more photos showing the different types. Just for the record I am a manual wheelchair user. Roger (talk) 16:22, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

-Ugh, yeah. I thought the same. I'll look for someone else, in a viewable wheelchair. Altairah (talk) 09:00, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

WikiProject Medicine[edit]

Why is this article in the Medicine WP? Physical disability and mobility impairment is not primarily a medical issue, it has as much relevence to human rights, politics and sociology. Roger (talk) 17:15, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Quite right; disability and mobility impairment are primarily social issues. However, this article is about a mechanical device used as a medical aid. It would be like putting pacemakers under religion. Altairah (talk) 06:01, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

Power Assisted Chairs[edit]

Just putting PA chairs on the agenda, as these are becoming more common & will likely be a permanent fixture to the wheelchair landscape. Does anyone know of good articles or links to this tech? Kyebosh (talk) 23:06, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

Discussion about terminology for wheelchair user[edit]

There is a discussion going on at the Village Pump page[[1]] about the correctness or otherwise of terms such as "wheelchair bound", "wheelchair user", etc. in biographical articles. Please join in the debate. Roger (talk) 08:02, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

The word 'spastic'[edit]

I'm dismayed to see the word 'spastic' in this article, and I suggest it be replaced by a more up-to-date and more neutral word. It may an OK word in the USA, but in the UK the word 'spastic' has negative and derogatory connotations. Bandekafsh (talk) 22:53, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

So what word would you propose? AFAIK "spastic" and "spasticity" are perfectly acceptable medical terminology. Just because some people abuse it doesn't make it illegimate. Roger (talk) 18:16, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Your reasoning here is faulty. It is precisely because the word 'spastic' has been abused in the UK over many decades that its use has become unacceptable. In a medical context, 'spacticity' is neutral and does not have derogatory connotations. In UK English, however, 'spastic', referring to a person, is an extremely rude term of abuse, and as a result the word has largely gone out of use in every serious context, including the medical one. So the use of the word 'spastic' here to refer to a person is nowadays no more acceptable than the use of the word 'coon' - in the UK, at least. The situation in America may be different, as the marketing of the 'Spazz' wheelchair has shown ('spaz' is a UK abbreviation of 'spastic' as a term of abuse). Bandekafsh (talk) 11:51, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
I don't agree that my reasoning as such is faulty but I will admit that I have only now actually looked for the word in the article. I found only one instance which was clearly vandalism using the derogatory form of the word (describing a person rather than the condition). You could have simply fixed it without kicking up all this fuss. I have now fixed it. The next time you see such a clear cut case of vandalism - just fix it already, there is clearly no need for discussion. Roger (talk) 13:44, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad that by seeing the word in its context you have also seen my point. I didn't intend to, or expect to, kick up any fuss with my original two-line observation. Bandekafsh (talk) 00:04, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

Powerchair football[edit]

It should just be mentioned under sport with a link to the main article. Giving it an entire section is undue weight. As far as I can tell standard powerchairs are used, not a specialised type. Roger (talk) 09:15, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

Merge Wheelchair support surface here[edit]

I found a stub article that I believe should be merged here. Wheelchair support surface would be better as a section in this article - which in any case needs more detail about design. Also "wheelchair support surface" seems to be a rather arbitrary title - "Wheelchair seating system" on the other hand is a widely used standard term of art. Roger (talk) 07:48, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

When I wrote this article initially my goal was to have a broader "support surface" article which covers all surfaces that are used to prevent and treat pressure ulcers, including beds, mattresses, specialty application cushions, and wheelchair backs. It should not be deleted as a separate article because wheelchair seat cushions are very different than wheelchairs, even though they are used in conjunction with wheelchairs. The article is still in the beginning stages and will have more information provided at a later date. Danielle (talk) 13:34, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
The phrase "wheelchair seating system" is the standard term for the subject of the article - it's not just about cushions - it covers every feature of the chair that supports the user's body. So if this proposal does not result in a merge the article should be moved to Wheelchair seating system anyway. The exact phrase "wheelchair seating system" gives over 50 000 Google hits. Many of them are a gold mine of useful information for expanding the article. Take a look at a few of the hits - [2] [3] - [4] - [5] - [6] - [7] Developing it into a more comprehensive article may be an alternative to merging. As it is now it isn't really a viable independent article. Roger (talk) 19:38, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

Definitions and redirects[edit]

I suggest providing a definitions section that includes 'transport chair', 'transport wheelchair', 'companion chair', and 'rollabout chair' along with a link to 'rollator' in the 'walker' article. I further suggest redirecting these definitions (e.g. 'transport chair') to this 'wheelchair' article. SpinLife, a transport chair vendor that I came across in searching for a definition of 'transport chair', provides the following definition at their site at:

"A transport wheelchair is designed to only be propelled by another individual and is sometimes referred to as a companion chair or rollabout chair. Transport chairs have four small wheels instead of two small and two large. They come in different widths and weight capacities and are usually the same basic frame as a standard manual wheelchair."

Since I'm fairly new to this field (I'm assisting a family member research mobility aid options) I can't vouch for the accuracy of this definition.Pegordon (talk) 20:06, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

There already is a definition/description of a transport wheelchair in the "Types" section which is expanded on in the "Manually powered" subsection. The definition in the article is basically the same as in the website you have cited. Roger (talk) 21:59, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, but there's no redirect for 'transport chair' or 'transport wheelchair' to this 'wheelchair' article. Also, the existing 'Types' section doesn't particularly well align with the definitions that neophytes such as myself would be seeking. For example, based on my research this afternoon (the results of which I posted to my blog at ) I wouldn't combine user-powered and companion-powered chairs under one "Manually powered" heading since the design and use of those two types of chairs is quite different. Also, I still recommend the links to the rollator section of the walker article given that there are a number of dual-purpose rollator / transport chairs on the market (and that rollators and transport chairs have a more common wheel configuration than do transport chairs and manual wheelchairs).Pegordon (talk) 00:08, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Complete Restructuring[edit]

I've restructured the article to remove duplication and more logically group the different varieties of chair - at least in a way that makes sense to me as a chair user. There are now separate sections for self-propelled manuals, attendant-propelled manuals, and powerchairs. Similarly all other types of wheelchair are now grouped at the same level. I popped the iBot out of the technology section to make it its own section as, looking at previous comments, it's something people seem to come looking for and we should make it easy for them to find.

I've also added a brief section on wheelchair etiquette, an area where there seems to be a lot of ignorance. Every chair user I know has had someone grab their chair and start pushing them in directly the opposite direction to the one they wanted to go in, most have had their chair damaged by unwanted 'help'. There's no shortage of wheelchair users saying similar stuff online, I've ref'd one and it could as easily have been half a dozen, so I don't think it falls under original research. I do think the section could use further work, but encyclopaedic tone may be a difficult ask. OTOH it is actually a safety issue directly related to the subject of the article, so I think it needs to remain even if the tone isn't perfect. (talk) 20:47, 5 November 2016 (UTC)

One other specific change I made in this rewrite was to delete almost all references to 'patients' and standardise the article on 'wheelchair users'. 'Wheelchair users' is the preferred terminology, and 'patient' is only applicable if you're specifically addressing use in a hospital setting. (talk) 21:08, 5 November 2016 (UTC)