5 RVs Offering Wheelchair Accessibility
It’s estimated that about 1 in 4 Americans and 1 in 5 Canadians lives with a disability, many of which require them to use a wheelchair to get around. Here at Transwest, we believe that everyone deserves to explore the wide, open world, no matter who they are, where they come from, or what limitations they may have, including needing a wheelchair. So let’s explore some wheelchair-accessible RVs together, so you can hit the road on your own wheels, too.
Why does accessibility matter?
President George H.W. Bush (George Sr.) signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law in 1990, and Title III of that law states that all commercial structures are required to give people with disabilities equal access. The ADA was expanded to include new public spaces and technological advances in 2010 and again in 2019.
Although RVs are not required to adhere to the guidelines of Title III of the ADA, many RV manufacturers are still committed to providing opportunities to explore the wide open road to those who use wheelchairs. As popular RV attractions and destinations have grown to accommodate people with disabilities, people who use wheelchairs need a way to get to those locations, and RV manufacturers have risen to this meaningful challenge.
For example, the US National Parks system offers a free access pass to all National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands for US citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities. And while some lucky people may live close enough to a national park to take a quick afternoon jaunt over to the Grand Canyon or another park, most of us have to drive or fly very long distances to enjoy this wonderful aspect of our great country. It’s no secret that RVs are a popular choice for visiting remote or distant national parks and many other destinations.
In short, it’s a time-honored tradition for RV enthusiasts to visit as many National Parks as they can, and there’s no reason to exclude people who use wheelchairs from that journey!
What to look for in an RV built for wheelchair accessibility
Any RV that is wheelchair-friendly should include a couple of enhancements that give people who use wheelchairs more independence while living in an RV. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, so it’s worth considering your unique wants and needs for life on the road. Some wheelchair-accessible features include:
- Wheelchair lifts
- Countertops and cabinetry at wheelchair level
- Reachable instrumentation/control panels
- Built-in grab bars
- Upgraded electrical outlets and generators
- Hand control driving equipment
- Increased storage capacity
- Increased holding tank capacity
- Lowered handles or mechanical lifts for external storage
Like any other large purchase, you’ll want to consider your unique needs and goals when shopping for a wheelchair-accessible RV.
Newmar’s Mobility Lineup
As the world’s first and largest wheelchair-accessible class A motor coaches, Newmar now delivers three models specifically engineered for wheelchair accessibility with oversight from real-world wheelchair users. Their first foray into accessibility was with the Canyon Star 3911 in 2012, and they have continued to uphold their tradition of meticulous craftsmanship aboard the three models available in 2023. Today’s models all feature their updated flush step well cover to reduce falling hazards and adjustable bed heights for ease of entry and a better night’s sleep.
1. 2023 Dutch Star 4311
Featuring all the amenities and details you expect in a Newmar Dutch Star, the 4311 floor plan is also equipped with additional accessibility features, including:
- Power-adjustable kitchen table
- Roll-in shower
- Lowered switches and appliances
- Widened aisleways
2. 2023 Kountry Star 4011
The Kountry Star 4011 boasts all of the standard luxury features in Newmar’s products, but is also has additional wheelchair-accessible perks, including:
- Large dinette area
- Spacious kitchen with microwave below the counter
- 48” x 36” roll-in shower
- Expanded wardrobe size
3. 2023 Bay Star 3811
With all the amenities of a Newmar coach, the Bay Star 3811 includes updated wheelchair-accessible features such as:
- Standard BraunAbility electric lift on an oversized door
- 48” x 36” roll-in shower
- Larger wardrobe
- Floor-to-ceiling mirrored doors
Winnebago’s Accessibility Enhanced (AE) Program
Although Winnebago has built motorhomes that accommodate wheelchairs for many decades, they have recently announced a formalized lineup for accessibility in their AE program. The AE program begins with a lift, accessible bathroom, and a widened center aisle, but it also includes cabinetry and other standard features to accommodate the unique needs of people who use wheelchairs. Winnebago took special care when designing their AE RVs, making sure to include input from accessibility advocates alongside the classic details that make riding in a Winnebago an unforgettable adventure.
Winnebago’s class B Roam is available in 4 floor plans, all of which boast powered reclining sofa beds, under-vehicle wheelchair lift, tie-down securing for wheelchairs, lowered countertops and controls, bathroom grab handles, and clever storage solutions for other necessities. The U59RXP floor plan provides sleeping provisions for up to 4 people with its pop-top, and it is outfitable with third-party hand steering, if needed.
The Roam is among the smallest wheelchair-accessible options on the market today, making it the perfect choice for adventures of all sizes.
The Inspire is a Winnebago class A diesel pusher designed for a smooth ride with plenty of power and space for everyone. With a platform wheelchair lift and tie downs, wider hallways, lowered controls and countertops, a roll-in shower, and sleeping for up to 7 people, you can be sure to include everyone in this, well, inspired RV. ;)
Choosing the right wheelchair-accessible RV for you
Like we mentioned earlier, you’ll need to consider your specific needs and goals in RV ownership, whether you use a wheelchair or not. Consider the size of your traveling party, where you want to visit, and what you want to do when you get there when you’re thinking about buying any RV.
There are some really great motorhome options out there for everyone, including some offering wheelchair accessibility, and as always, we here at Transwest are here to help.