Uneven terrains, door thresholds, kerbs, changes in pavement heights and driving surfaces can pose some serious challenges for wheelchair users. A new ISO standard will measure the ability of electrically powered wheelchairs, including scooters, to safely climb and descend such obstacles.

“This new standard will help users select the most appropriate wheelchair where obstacle climbing is important for access and safety” says Dev Banerjee, Chair of the committee that developed the standard. “The tests included in this standard will provide very useful information for both operators and prescribers of wheelchairs, and will facilitate the comparison of products manufactured and sold in different countries.”

ISO 7176-10 is part of a series of standards on wheelchairs (ISO 7176) which addresses, among other topics, stability, effectiveness of brakes, energy consumption, dimensions, mass and manoeuvering space, speed and acceleration, impact and fatigue strength, and control systems.  

ISO 7176-10 was prepared by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 173, Assistive products for persons with disability, subcommittee SC 1, Wheelchairs. ISO/TC 173 has developed numerous standards for persons with disability ranging from aids for ostomy (surgical opening for discharge of waste) and incontinence to assistive equipment helping people with a visual impairment use pedestrian crossings, to hoists for transferring persons among others.

ISO 7176-10:2008, Wheelchairs, Part 10: Determination of obstacle-climbing ability of electrically powered wheelchairs is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details). It may also be obtained directly from the ISO Central Secretariat, price 48 Swiss francs, through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing & Communication department (see right-hand column).