A special needs bicycle is a bicycle that has been modified to meet the needs of a person with disabilities. These adjustments make the bicycle easier to use for its rider. The term is used in North America and Australia. In North America, the term is used for bicycles that are customized for persons who have difficulty using standard bicycles because of physical disabilities such as short stature, amputation, paralysis or other medical conditions.
In Australia, this style of bike is known as a “handcycle”, referring to hand-powered cycles (as opposed to pedal cycles). In both cases, the same basic modifications are made to bicycles in order to make them accessible to disabled persons.
It typically involves lowering the handlebars and the seat so they can be easily reached by shorter riders. The pedals may also be moved closer to the rider’s seat. To allow riders with limited mobility in their legs or feet to power the pedals, hand cranks can be fitted to the bicycles or motors may be fitted that drive the pedals mechanically. The turning radius of these bikes can also be reduced by placing small wheels at the front and back of the bicycle and by using smaller diameter wheels than usual.
Special Needs Bicycles were developed for people with disabilities that prevent them from riding a traditional bicycle or riding a bicycle in the typical way. For example, certain conditions like muscular dystrophy may be helped by the use of an upright bicycle, while others like spina bifida may cause complications that can be avoided by using a recumbent bicycle.
Special needs bicycles refer to a class of bicycles that are modified to accommodate physical disabilities of the rider. They use a range of special features to accomplish this, including:
Ability to mount and dismount the bicycle independently; Ability to steer while using crutches or a wheelchair; Ability to mount and dismount the bicycle without the use of hands; Ability to mount and dismount with limited upper body strength; Ability to mount and dismount without assistance from others; Ability to mount and dismount while wearing a bike helmet; Ability to mount and dismount while wearing foot prosthetics such as artificial legs.
A Special Needs Bicycle is a bike that has been modified or customized to be easier and safer for a person with disabilities or other physical limitations to ride. A person’s disability might be chronic, temporary, or permanent. A Special Needs Bicycle may have been designed and built by an expert in the field of disabilities bicycles, or it may have been modified from a standard bicycle by a person who is not an expert in the field but has expertise in the specific needs of one individual.
The first type is for people with mobility issues who still have use of their arms and shoulders but don’t have full range of motion because of spinal cord injuries or other mobility issues. The person steers using hand controls and pedals using leg straps that attach to their thighs. These bikes can be outfitted with accessories like trays and baskets to help them complete errands on their own without assistance.
For example, people with paraplegia may be unable to control the pedals and cranks on a traditional bike or tricycle, or they may not be able to bend forward far enough to reach the handlebars. A Special Needs Bicycle would allow for greater independence for those with special needs who depend on bicycles for transportation.