Well the slick sales guy for the manufacturer selling his one and only product says "don't worry you can just walk around the rail or track that sticks out into the passage way". Just politely send him on his way he does not have the product you need.
You just know there has to be a better and safer solution. Time for you to approach a knowledgeably independent stairway chairlift distributor like us at Florida Stairlifts Inc..
Well there is a safe, reliable and proper solution to the stairlift rail or track blocking the walkway its the folding hinged track or rail.
It comes in two main versions manual or automatic and various user weight capacities ranging from 264lbs to 350lbs.
Manual Stairlift Folding Hinged Track:
The manual version is the least expensive option ranging in price from $300 to $800.
The key limitation on the manual folding hinged track is that someone must physically bend down and raise the folding section of track up once the stairlift is out of the way at the top of the stairs. Once you ride up the stairs on the stairlift how can you possibly fold the track so that it no longer becomes a tripping hazard for other people in the home?
Answer: You cannot so the track remains a major and unacceptable tripping hazard
Another concern with the manual folding hinged track is the lack of rigidity and stability of the lower or moving rail section when the stairlift runs to the bottom of the rail. Some of the budget stair lifts available are positively flimsy as the manuafacturer has removed as much metal from the track as possible to save on material costs.
These limitations make the manual version of the folding hinged track fairly unattractive as an electric stair lift solution in my opinion.
Automatic or Powered Folding Hinged Track:
This is almost certainly the correct solution for most people. Option pricing ranges between $600 to $1200 but provide a fully automatic solution. User weight capacities range from 264lbs to above 350lbs.
Operation of this feature is straight forward.
Simply start riding the stairlift down the stairs and the folding section of the track / rail begins to close powered by its own electric motor. The track / rail is fully down before the stairlift travels smoothly over it.
Once the lift has reached the lower level the rider can get off and use the remote control to send the chairlift back up the stairway. As the stairlift passes the joint in the folding hinged track the track will automatically raise leaving the corridor or walkway clear.
Some electric stairlift manufacturers have rightly decided that the manual folding hinged track is not a viable solution and will only offer a fully automatic version for safety reasons.
Check out the stair lift automatic folding hinged track operation video link below.
Other important considerations:
A folding hinged track of any type must never be used to resolve the blocking of an exit door that would be obstructed by the installation of a stairway chairlift. All fire exits and normal means of egress must be maintained with the stairlift in any position for obvious safety reasons.
If you need independent expert advice please feel free to contact "The Stairlift Experts" at Florida Stairlifts Inc. at www.FloridaStairlifts.com or call Toll Free 1 (888) 605 0174.