When transporting those with limited mobility in a wheelchair, it is paramount that the correct safety precautions are adopted to ensure the safe transit of both the passenger and wheelchair. Wheelchair adapted vehicles and transport vehicles for those with disabilities offer great help and independence to those that want to get around more, however, ensuring that the wheelchair meets compliance is imperative before travel. Here is our safety guide for therapists and healthcare professionals that require information on transporting a passenger in a wheelchair. 

Preparing a Wheelchair for Travel

One of the most important precautions to take while transporting a passenger in a wheelchair is to ensure the wheelchair is secured in place before transit. If the wheelchair has not properly been secured in place, injury can occur. To safely secure the wheelchair, you will need to:

  1. Remove any special controls, therapy tables or other removable wheelchair parts and stow them securely away from the passenger in a suitable place. A suitable place for these parts is one where they are secured and protected.
  2. Any height-adjustable backrests, leg rests, or tilted seats should be placed back in the home position.
  3. Tension belts should be attached to the designated areas on the wheelchair and vehicle – these points should be marked but please do seek information from the wheelchair manual to ensure the anchoring points are correct. 


Safety Guide: Using Wheelchairs During Transportation Momentum Healthcare
4. Attach safety belts across the pelvis and shoulder tightly but ensure the belts are not twisted and there are no objects between the passenger and belt.

5. Ensure that the headrest is secure and will not move about while in transit.

It is important to note that the vehicle engine must be switched off while safely securing the wheelchair. The appropriate restraints and belts should be used; these can be found in the manual for the wheelchair.

Keeping Sufficient Clearance

There must be a clearance area in the vehicle surrounding the wheelchair for safety.

These clearance measurements are as stated below:

Wheelchairs with shoulder and pelvic safety belt

Front: 650mm

Back: 400mm

Above: 1200mm (female adults), 1550mm (tall male adults)

Wheelchairs with only the pelvic safety belt

Front: 950mm

Back: 400mm

Above: 1200mm (female adults), 1550mm (tall male adults)

Safety Guide: Using Wheelchairs During Transportation Momentum Healthcare

Using a Wheelchair as a Seat in a Transport Vehicle for People with Disabilities

A transport vehicle for those with disabilities requires the wheelchair to be secured to the floor and used as a seat. Wheelchairs used in these types of vehicles must comply with the appropriate regulations. The wheelchair must meet the requirements of the ISO 7176-19 in connection with a four-point anchoring system.

The anchoring system must also comply with ISO 10542. If the wheelchair complies with these regulations, please follow the appropriate steps, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, to secure the wheelchair in place and keep a sufficient clearance area. Restraints for the transport vehicle must be authorised; appropriate equipment to use can be found in the manual for the transport vehicle.

Travelling via Public Transport with the Wheelchair

While using public transport to get around with the wheelchair, the passenger with limited mobility must be securely belted, with any adjustable features set to the home position.

Place the wheelchair in the designated area, usually marked on the floor of the vehicle. The wheelchair should face in the direction the vehicle is travelling in.  Please also ensure that any locking brakes are engaged and the wheelchair is secure, with no movement while in transit.

Wheelchairs, Accessories and Therapy Aids at Momentum Healthcare

Momentum Healthcare is Ireland’s leading wheelchair expert, providing a range of electric wheelchairs, therapy aids, mobility scooters and accessories for those with limited mobility.

We carry out a full assessment to take measurements and find out lifestyle requirements so that we can supply the most appropriate equipment for those in need. Get in touch with us today on (056) 771 2394 or email us through info@momentumhc.ie.