Back when Covid first arrived on our collective radar, there were lots of new ideas for ways to make door openings touchless. Most were focused on the use of body parts other than hands – feet, forearms, hips, etc. – to open the door. This application becomes more complicated when the door has latching hardware, and I saw several designs for foot-operated lever handles. No, not the method where you stand on one foot and raise your other foot high enough to turn the lever (although I have seen this done)…rather a pedal mounted at the bottom of the door which turns the lever/retracts the latch when pushed with your foot.
Ideally, a product like this would be able to be retrofitted on an existing door opening, although it’s possible that a day will come when doors are ordered for new projects with this type of hardware. As with foot pulls – stationary pulls that allow a door to be opened using your foot – the accessibility requirements are typically met by the hardware mounted at the standard height, and the foot operation is optional. One issue with a surface-mounted pedal on the push side of the door is that it would likely conflict with the requirement for a flush, smooth surface measured 10 inches up the face of the door on the push side (more about that here).
So here are my questions for you, and I’d really appreciate your feedback: Is a foot-operated lever release something the industry needs? How can a retrofittable pedal be made compliant with the 10-inch flush bottom requirement? What are your thoughts on this application?
The video below shows a product by Metiba that operates in this way but it is recessed in the door.