Why You Need to Wear a Seat Belt in a Wheelchair

Reading time: 3 minutes

When I was in rehab, we were required to wear our belts and I didn’t like it. I don’t know exactly why, but I just didn’t want to wear it. I reckon it has something to do with being told I had to wear it.

When I was ordering my wheelchair, I almost didn’t get the seatbelt but I’m glad I did, I call it the adventure belt because, when I do have it on, it means that something awesome is going to happen.

I was once told about a guy who didn’t have a seatbelt or brakes for his chair, which is ridiculous, and hopefully, you don’t do that.

When I first got my chair, I strapped the belt below my seat and ignored it. I thought it was the dumbest thing ever and I was adamantly against it.

Then, I started to get into the Danger Zone, where things get exciting. Going up and downstairs, doing tricks, falling a few times, working out, doing handstands, falling some more, getting up ledges, and probably more that I can’t think of.

Imagine being in the car without a seat belt and hitting the brakes, your body moves forward. Think of speeding up quickly, you move back into the seat. Wearing a seat belt in my wheelchair keeps me locked in so that I don’t shift around while moving and gives me better control over the chair I’m in.

When I go into a door with a ledge, I do a wheelie, get my front wheels in, and then pull the rest of my chair up. Without my adventure belt locked in, I would likely pull my body out of my chair. Same for going upstairs. I haven’t made a video about how to do it yet, but it wouldn’t be possible without an adventure belt.

I’ve fallen a few times, at the time of writing, I’ve fallen six times. Each of them is a pretty good story and only a few of them I wasn’t wearing the belt. From experience, having a belt on helps big time with falling. Imagine you’re going down a fairly steep hill in the grass, you hit a soft spot and your front wheels dig in. You’re already tipping forward from going down the hill and so you fall forward. You could either catch yourself or at least keep the fall from getting too bad and use your hands to twist your chair to the side to avoid falling anymore.

If you weren’t wearing a seatbelt, you would’ve fallen forward and gotten dumped straight out of your chair, possibly caught yourself but more likely tumbled down the hill a bit and maybe even get knocked by your wheelchair falling after you.

When it comes to working out, the best example is doing pull ups. When I was in rehab, we tried many ways to do pull ups but never thought about keeping me in the chair. I’m here to tell you that staying in the chair is the best way to do it, and that’s accomplished only with the use of the adventure belt.

Even having the belt a little loose is all right, so long as you have it on.

There have been many times in the city where I hit a bump or crack that sticks out far too high and it brings my chair to a complete stop, I haven’t fallen yet, but I sure would’ve if I hadn’t had the adventure belt on.


Immediate actionable items: If you’re in a wheelchair, start using your belt. If you already do use your belt or you aren’t in a wheelchair, then I’m just preaching over here.

Summary: Wearing a seat belt in a wheelchair is important for those who want to do crazy things and avoid falling out of your chair.

Overdeliver: After a while of using your seat belt in your wheelchair, you may notice the clamp that attaches your belt to your chair moved. Mine moves all the time because of all that I do. You can easily find the right tool and loosen it, put it back to how it was, and then tighten it back up. For the chair I use, when the clamp moves out of place, it will hit the spokes of the wheel, which shouldn’t happen.