Aluminum bleachers, and other portable bleachers are popular choices for special events because they are offer the needed seating, comfortably at an economical price. For any event, the organization wants to provide comfortable, seating options for everyone who desires to attend the event, but are bleachers accessible for those with disabilities?
The answer should be yes and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) works diligently to ensure that the answer is, in fact, yes. The ADA provides guidelines for bleachers so everyone can enjoy their favorite events with equal access. Older venues with permanent bleachers often have accessibility issues, but that is changing to accommodate people with disabilities and their families.
The ADA recommendations include designated wheelchair spaces with companion seats located in an area that is not isolated, but inclusive, and offers smooth, level, slip-resistant surfaces. Accessibility guidelines require a clear line of sight, spacious enough to allow users, companions, and guides access as needed. Ramps and hand rails are a part of the package, adhering to local building code specifications, for wheelchairs, scooters, strollers, and other forms of aid and assistance. In addition, accessible bleachers should contain visual indicators to make ramps, routes, and seating options clear.
Elevated bleachers are required to have an ADA compliant ramp to allow access to the seating areas for persons with disabilities. Non-elevated bleachers since located on ground level do not require any ramps or lifts, as the ADA spaces are located at ground level. The down side to this type of bleacher is the “line of sight” is lower which makes it harder to see if people or objects are in front of the bleachers or in between the seating and the event area.
While not all portable bleachers are required to meet the ADA guidelines needed for wheelchair patrons, there are companies who manufacture temporary bleachers which offer the option of specially designed wheelchair sections. These ADA compliant bleachers have transitional sections which can be transformed for those with wheelchairs, scooters, rollators, and other aids. When not needed, the bleachers transition back to traditional format.
ADA compliant bleachers afford everyone the opportunity to enjoy their favorite events, sports, and entertainment alongside their family and friends, in the midst of the excitement and a part of the crowd – exactly the way it should be!