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Stability of wheelchairs

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    Stability of wheelchairs

    I have been given Salsa mini electric wheelchair, which is compact and easy to manoeuvre around the house. However, when I get out on the pavement I am scared stiff of tipping over sideways when crossing a driveway in this hilly city. I am not sure how stable they are? Whether I am scared unnecessarily. Anyone else had this experience? x
    Diagnosed July 2020, ALS bulbar onset. PEG and ventilator (mainly at night), and pretty poor speech, but legs still about functioning!

    Hi Heather,

    Yes it does take some getting used to ……especially sideways cambers 😳😳😳

    I’ve had a quick look and I think your chair is rated up to 8° but can cope with slightly more forwards and backwards if you use the tilt in your favour, your instruction manual explains how to do this safely to make up-and-down slopes slightly more comfortable.

    Good luck and I hope you get out in this nice weather 👍

    Foxes Never Quit 💙


      JamesW Thank you for the useful info! Not that I'm any good at judging degrees of slope! I did ask for an instruction booklet when I got it, but was told they don't give you those, only one on the Quikie control system. I suppose I'm supposed to look on the net, lazy me! Didn't occur to me that it would give such info. God help those not on the net. 8 degrees doesn't sound much, how does that compare with other wheelchairs? Is falling sideways a common occurrence? x
      Diagnosed July 2020, ALS bulbar onset. PEG and ventilator (mainly at night), and pretty poor speech, but legs still about functioning!



        Here is a link to the owners manual for your chair (assuming I picked the right one)

        8° is not a lot but the chairs are very stable. Because of the weight of the battery and its low position on the chassis they are not so easy to topple over as something like a small power scooter which has far less weight. Your chair weighs around 100 kg and that’s without you.

        Have a good read of the owners manual and take your time with slopes until you get used to them but I’m sure you will be fine ☺️☺️☺️

        James x
        Foxes Never Quit 💙


          Heather R You will get used to the chair's handling with time and practice.

          If I'm faced with a steep hill to descend, I'll sometimes zigzag down it, particularly if the surface is wet, it gives me more control.

          Chairs with mid-wheel drive, such as your Salsa, are the most stable on slopes as they have castors both front and back. It's important too that your weight isn't working against the chair, for example, the backrest shouldn't be reclined if tackling a hill.

          Love Ellie.
          ​Diagnosed 03/2007. Sporadic Definite ALS/MND Spinal (hand) Onset.
          Significant bulbar impairment - No functional limbs - No speech - Feeding tube - Overnight NIV - Eye gaze user


            Hi Heather

            I had the same concerns with my chair when I first had it but gradually got to trust it’s capability. Just take it slowly and build up your confidence. If you have someone with you ask them to steady it until you are sure. You’ll soon get used to it. I love my chair now and go whizzing along.


              Many thanks all of you. Very useful and reassuring xx
              Diagnosed July 2020, ALS bulbar onset. PEG and ventilator (mainly at night), and pretty poor speech, but legs still about functioning!


                Hi Heather,

                Sorry for my belated reply. As others have said, you do get used to handling your salsa mini 2 chair.

                i used to worry on slopes especially sideways ones but the chair is really heavy and unlikely to tip.i also didn't likereversing out of our WAV onto unfamiliar ground but your sort of get a feel for where your chair is.

                Having said this I still manage to make holes and leave marks on our walls.😂🤗😘x


                  Heather R - I also have a salsa mini 2. On my first outing I panicked so much about a steep camber on a barrow bend that I ended up in the hedge instead! I could write a book on my mishaps (don't tell wheelchair services) but I haven't Tippett sideways (yet) but it does feel a bit unstable at times - cambers and massive tree roots through the pavement are my worst.

                  Good luck and enjoy the freedom xx
                  Diagnosis confirmed as atypical ALS Jan 2022 (age 46) after several years misdiagnosed.

                  Symptoms began in left foot 2017. Now widespread. Powerchair user, useless left arm and clumsy right hand but generally positive!