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Ramp to ride up steps ?

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Ramp to ride up steps ?

Old 10-21-19, 08:50 AM
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CrankyOne
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Ramp to ride up steps ?

We are planning to build a ramp along the side of some steps to ride bikes up/down. The elevation difference between the two walkways is 18” (45cm) or three 6” steps so should be manageable to ride for most people. I could not find anything on this in the CROW manual.

The total width between two short stub walls where the steps will be is 6’ (1.8m). We’re thinking the ramp will be 20” wide (0.5m) along one side of the steps. This should allow enough width to comfortably ride a bicycle up/down and carefully ride a bakfiets up/down?

I assume that it’d be best for the ramp to be along the top edges of the steps (solid red line) rather than below (dashed red line)? Any thoughts if the ramp is slightly lower than the solid red line and the edges of the steps chamfered a bit?Does anyone know what slope the ramp can be for a bakfiets to clear? I believe the current steps are 6/10 (6” rise / 10” run) which I believe is about 30 slope IIRC. That seems too steep for a bakfiets to clear the top edge?Other thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks,

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Old 10-21-19, 09:04 AM
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Just MHO, but I'd think pedaling up a 20" wide ramp could be tough. I'm assuming there's some sort of railing on one side or the other. Take 12" of the ramp so you don't hit your bars. That leaves about 8" for the wheels. Assume some weaving as a rider pedals, and there's a 6"+ramp surface drop-off. I'd probably walk the steps and roll the bike; it's not much easier than picking the bike up and lifting it up three steps.
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Old 10-21-19, 09:15 AM
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I find the slope of steps tends to be pretty intense. Certainly some feathering the ends into the walkway would be nice.

You might look at wheelchair ramps (ADA compliant). That may well get you some additional funding and a better ramp overall, although you might well be cutting to the side rather than straight up. Although sharp corners become a greater problem for bikes than wheelchairs.
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Old 10-21-19, 10:17 AM
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Just ride up like this guy.
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Old 10-21-19, 10:58 AM
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50cm width would be plenty, if it weren't next to a wall. I'd say make it 0.80 m, which then leaves 1.00m for the steps which should be ok for two people to pass each other.

Regarding the steepness - as there are only 3 steps to clear, you could get away with a shorter and steeper ramp than in other instances, but the limiting factor in your case is the ground clearance of the bakfiets (it's not so much about the slope itself, as the upper edge). 1:5 or 20% slope should work fine, but that would mean the ramp has to be 5x0.45=2.25m long. I don't know if there's enough space available. If the space is very limited, you could probably get away with 1:3, that makes it 1.35m long, but check to see if the bakfiets can clear that.

Mind you, anything steeper than 1:10 is unsuitable for wheelchairs, at least by our regulations.
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Old 10-21-19, 11:49 AM
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Assuming you're here in the US, I wouldn't touch a project like that with a ten foot pole. What, with our litigious society and all. I'm no expert, but it seems you're opening a can of worms. Any number of things could go wrong and it would undoubtedly fall on the guy who cobbled together something on the steps. Hell, this could even be in your own backyard and it'd still be risky. For guys like you or me it would be drop-dead easy to maneuver and makes all the sense in the world, but there's always that one person... you know how it goes.


-Kedosto
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Old 10-21-19, 01:45 PM
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I'm not scared of the steepness per se. Not the width either, just because it's really short. The problem is transitions. That would be a hard transition at the bottom. You want to have a transition that's at least bigger radius than your biggest tire, but that would still be "sharp" at the axle... preferably more like 8 ft radius which is skate-ramp standard going into it. Or maybe like a 3:1 slope with a bit of steel right at the bottom for the transition. At the top the minimum goal is not to bottom out... if you are pedals level that's pretty easy but if you are pedal down or pedaling it's not much. I don't know what the high-center clearance is on a bakfiets, I would guess not much. On another piece of paper, to scale with your steps, draw two 27" wheels that are 40" center to center and a 15" circle between them that's 3" below centerline of the wheels for the pedal. Then "ride" that along your steps, see how it looks.

I've looked at building skate / bike ramps (for, uh, my kids, *cough*) and the "standard" construction seems crazy. They build with 3/4 plywood sides and the joists held to the plywood with screws. There's very little holding each joist up, it depends a lot on the strength imparted by the deck, which is two layered sheets of 3/8 plywood. The ramp is then finished with MDF if you're cheap or with a polymer material or some special outdoor paint if you're not. It's sort of half monocoque. If you compare it to how a house or deck is built to code with all the load from every point stacking into the foundation with no reliance on any other piece in the chain to take any weight, it seems wimpy. But at the same time it needs some kind of sideways strength, which a floor really doesn't, so it does make some sense.

Some sketching indicates 1:3 might be a good maximum pitch for a regular bike. That more or less matches a kicker ramp. Don't know about that bakfiets though.

Look here:https://diyskate.com/
and here https://www.ocramps.com/

Also... strollers and wheelchairs and walkers and even recumbent trikes are designed to fit through a 32 inch minimum doorway. That in turn requires a 36 inch wide ramp surface. And a 1:12 pitch. This probably supersedes your CROW manual...if you have room.
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Old 10-21-19, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Kedosto View Post
Assuming you're here in the US, I wouldn't touch a project like that with a ten foot pole. What, with our litigious society and all. I'm no expert, but it seems you're opening a can of worms. Any number of things could go wrong and it would undoubtedly fall on the guy who cobbled together something on the steps. Hell, this could even be in your own backyard and it'd still be risky. For guys like you or me it would be drop-dead easy to maneuver and makes all the sense in the world, but there's always that one person... you know how it goes.


-Kedosto
Good point.

There have to be standards for ramps, and probably full ADA ramps.

Anything less, and you set yourself up for legal issues.


This is what we have in Springfield.
Path is a very short railway siding that was converted to a bike path.



Simple gravel path that bikes take to the outside of the steps.

A few months ago someone came along and dug out the bottom of the gravel path, so it now has a 1 foot drop at the bottom.

And, of course, the gravel has eroded at the top of the path too.

Nonetheless, the city probably can't simply concrete in that short gravel bike path.

I have ridden it, but it is easier to simply get off and walk, either up or down.

I do think Springfield's solution would be to cut a diagonal down the slope. But, it would take some work. Perhaps a diagonal going each direction.
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Old 10-21-19, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
bakfiets
Cargo bikes?

I assume there are a variety of sizes and styles.

With inline wheels one can overhang a ramp a bit. With side-by-side wheels, it has to be a bit wider. I'd prefer about 4 feet, although 3 feet (1 meter-ish) might be a minimum.

Here are the ADA ramp requirements.

https://www.thebalancesmb.com/ada-ra...ruction-844440
https://www.adawheelchairramps.com/w...uidelines.aspx

They suggest 3 foot minimum width. Guard rails. And, a 1:12 maximum slope.
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Old 10-21-19, 03:48 PM
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I'd make it only steps and nothing more. If you put any sort of ramp then "that guy" will somehow hurt himself doing something stupid and sue you, not to mention all the ADA social justice warriors looking for anything out of compliance so they can sue you, not because they want to make the world a better place.

The only way I'd consider putting in any kind of ramp would be with all the proper engineers, lawyers, and whoever else weighing in on the design.
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Old 10-21-19, 04:30 PM
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A ramp at a residence does not need to comply with the ADA, for the same reason you don't need ramps inside your house or over your threshold. Building codes probably won't apply unless it's >30" high.

I am not a lawyer, but get a grip
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Old 10-21-19, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
A ramp at a residence does not need to comply with the ADA, for the same reason you don't need ramps inside your house or over your threshold. Building codes probably won't apply unless it's >30" high.

I am not a lawyer, but get a grip


Perhaps we need a better explanation from @CrankyOne of where the steps are going, and who will have access to them.

For personal use at a house, I either carry bikes up and down the steps, or walk them down the lawn without doing over-use.
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Old 10-22-19, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post


Perhaps we need a better explanation from @CrankyOne of where the steps are going, and who will have access to them.

For personal use at a house, I either carry bikes up and down the steps, or walk them down the lawn without doing over-use.
I would probably ride down the steps.
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Old 10-22-19, 09:09 AM
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I recall once reading that the maximum slope you'd want for a motorcycle ramp would 1 in 8; that is, for every 10cm up, you want to go 80cm forward. That seems quite flat-ish to me, but if you don't want to be struggling with transitions and so on, it might be a starting point.

How about one of those folding purpose-built motorcycle ramps? For about a hundred bucks, you might get everything you want without much effort.
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Old 10-22-19, 09:36 AM
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Are the steps required?

If there is space, perhaps a GOOD ramp and no steps with the proper slope.
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Old 10-22-19, 09:57 AM
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Thanks all!

I was able to get a shot of the steps roughed in to hopefully give a bit better idea what we're working with.

This is access to a number of residences but is on private property. Yes, some people will dismount and walk up/down but I think most would prefer to ride up/down if we can make it work.

I'm thinking I might have to mock something up and try different slopes with a bakfiets to see what works. I THINK it is short enough that a steeper slope is OK for most bicycle riders so bakfiets clearance will likely dictate slope.

Steps here are necessary. The ramp should have been separate from the steps and this was requested of the landscape architect but it didn't happen so we're having to retro-fit.

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Old 10-22-19, 10:09 AM
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Nice place! Is the gravel the shape of a shed?

Nice photo! Drone?

If the ramp was in his quote do you have any recourse?
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Old 10-22-19, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
This is access to a number of residences but is on private property.
That likely crosses the line between private/public. Just like your favorite grocery store is private, but for public access.

I'd really be careful with your construction.

Is that all new construction? It is a bit late in the planning process, but it is still time to get it right.

Elevations aren't entirely clear. Are the steps more for aesthetics than any practical purpose?

I'd just get rid of the steps and put in a sloping ramp. with the 1:12 (or so) max slope. You may be able to get around that slightly if it isn't exactly a ramp.

I suppose the other question is what alternative access is there around that? Can wheelchairs, and bikes simply bypass the steps?
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Old 10-22-19, 01:16 PM
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In the US, the American's with Disabilities Act (ADA) specifies a maximum slope of 1:12, complete with handrails (any slope over 1:20 to 1:12 requires the full ADA treatment unless the ramp is 6: in height or less): https://www.access-board.gov/guideli...and-curb-ramps
If you can get the slope to 1:20 or less, then ADA doesn't consider it a ramp and no handrails are required.
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Old 10-22-19, 03:44 PM
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Thanks all.

The gravel is all path. The area in the photo below the wall is parking. There will be a 9' wide No Parking area in front of the steps. Then the path goes straight beyond the top of the steps.

According to the architect this is treated as private residential from a code perspective.

The steps are needed as they are the main route for people parking and walking. There is an 18" grade change from the parking area to the path so three 6" steps. The run looks longer than the 10" shown on the plan. I'm hoping to go by there tonight to verify.

Wheelchairs have a separate route. Bicycles and bakfiets have to go this route.
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Old 10-22-19, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
...so three 6" steps. The run looks longer than the 10" shown on the plan.
It should be about a foot. A pretty standard formula is 2*rise + run = 24-25 inches.

It's also pretty common for steps to be 7in high and 11 in long, which is what you get when you make it out of 2x6

Of course this gets squeezed to fit and it's more ok to mess up or cheat with 3 steps than a stairway
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Old 10-23-19, 04:37 AM
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How high are the sidewalls? They look low enough to not interfere with handlebars, which would mean the ramp can be closer to the wall. If wheelchairs use another route, then the cargo bike is what limits the design.
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Old 12-09-19, 04:34 PM
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Back at this...

I believe the worst case bakfiets clearance is an 80" wheelbase with a 6" ground clearance. By my calculations (it's been a long time since I did geometry) then a 17 slope down from a flat sidewalk should be sufficient but for a bit extra clearance just in case maybe 16 max which would be a 28% grade or 1 in 3.5 rise/run. Does that sound correct?

Thanks,
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Old 12-09-19, 10:21 PM
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Is 6" for the box? Remember you need to pedal.
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Old 12-10-19, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Is 6" for the box? Remember you need to pedal.
Ouch. Good point. I'll have to measure for that. 6" is the kickstand which (other than a low pedal) is the lowest bit and most likely to scrape.

That may result in an impossibly shallow and very long ramp though so this might have to be a pedals always up or you'll be sorry kind of deal.
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