Mobility Company Provides Solution to ADA Lawsuits

LIBERTYVILLE, Ill. — Currently, many cities, municipalities and private businesses are facing increasing legal pressure from individuals and disability advocacy groups to make sidewalks and curbs conform to ADA requirements. Handi-Ramp, a manufacturer of ramps, lifts and other accessibility products, recently introduced the Handi-Curb Ramp, a temporary, low-cost solution to this critical issue.

From Delaware to Detroit and from Chicago to Oakland, dozens of cities are facing, or have settled, lawsuits for failure to provide or properly maintain curb cuts that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The complaints focus on the inconvenience and danger inherent in traversing sidewalks that require a step up or down at intersections.

"The plaintiffs in these actions represent only a small number of those affected by the lack of curb cuts," said Ted Woerthwein, of the law firm Woerthwein & Miller, which is representing the Council for Disability Rights, a Chicago nonprofit organization suing the city of Chicago. "We recognize that conforming to ADA requirements is not something that can be accomplished overnight, but we see a real lack of urgency on the part of many municipalities, and the potential for serious injury and even greater liability is constant."

The Handi-Ramp curb cut ramp allows cities to provide an immediate, affordable solution that conforms to the ADA Accessibility Guidelines Section 4.7. The ramp is sturdy enough to withstand the weight of traffic but light enough to be moved by city crews to wherever there is a need.

"The lack of curb cuts can be a real nightmare for the disabled," said Thom Disch, Handi-Ramp's chief executive officer. "Getting to work, going shopping or visiting friends and family can be extremely challenging and, in many case, dangerous."

In November, a 40-year-old St. Louis woman who uses a wheelchair was struck and killed by a car when she was forced to use the street because the sidewalk was impassable.

"The cost of making curb cuts at the hundreds of intersections in a city is significant and can take years to complete," Disch added. "We developed our curb cut ramps to meet the immediate needs of people with limited mobility as municipalities work toward a permanent solution."

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This article originally appeared in the March 2006 issue of HME Business.

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