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Old 02-28-2006, 08:46 PM   #1
tarkus
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Disney the segway and the ADA

Hello, I'm a Florida resident who held a seasons pass so I could take "out of towners" to the Mouse, as is done down here.

Through post 9/11, I dropped plenty of money at Disney World.

My wife and I will no longer visit due to my recent spinal cord injury.
Through hard work and the grace of God I am able to stand but not walk for any distance. My injury also makes sitting for long periods painful.

My doctors at Mayo Clinic suggested a Segway as a mobility aid and it changed my life.

Except Disney says NO SGWAYS despite what the protections provided by the ADA and others laws.

The federal DOT, the only place a definition of a common wheelchair exists for legal purposes, has made a decision.

The site does not allow me to post url's but a google search of FDOT SEGWAY will show the governments posititon.

yet still a ban at Disney. It's sad that the "Happiest place " in the world sees no reason to follow the law.

Epcot embraces new tech with their Segway Adventure but has no insight into the future.

The number of disabled using the segway is growing.


I would hope the mouse would a leader in new devices of "universal design" that can effect the lives of those with a mobility related problem.

Regards,
Alan
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Old 02-28-2006, 09:41 PM   #2
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Tarkus,

You may be an early-adopter of new technology. Perhaps you might advocate for Segway usage at your local or regional level. It is interesting that the Segway website marketing does not show any pedestrians or WC/ ECV anywhere nearby. http://www.segway.com/

SAFETY

FHWA Researchers Study Segway® Riders

Across the Nation, policymakers are looking for guidance on how to integrate a variety of sidewalk users and motorized and nonmotorized devices into the transportation system. In particular, policymakers want to know more about integration of the Segway® Human Transporter. This information is necessary given the possibility of Segways' greater use, as they are becoming a popular form of transportation for city tours and are carried in stores and shopping malls. To help provide this information, researchers at the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC) in McLean, VA, are conducting a two-part study to learn how Segway riders negotiate typical sidewalk conditions. Started in late 2005, both parts of the research are expected to be completed in summer 2006.

FHWA researchers began the study by selecting 20 participants, including 10 people who had never operated a Segway and 10 experienced riders who own Segways and had ridden them at least once per week for the past year. For the first part of the study, all participants are riding Segways and navigating an obstacle course that simulates a real sidewalk. While the participants ride, the researchers collect information on several aspects of their performance, such as how they adjust their speed when they approach obstacles and pass other sidewalk users. The researchers then will analyze the data to compare the performances of the experienced and novice riders.

During the second part of the study, which has not yet started, he participants will view a video of a Segway rider navigating sidewalk traffic. FHWA filmed the video at TFHRC, where students from the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology's mentorship program, along with FHWA employees and contractors, volunteered to walk, bike, and skateboard on a sidewalk along with a Segway rider. A camera mounted on the Segway rider's helmet recorded how the rider interacted with other sidewalk users and reacted to typical situations, such as low and high traffic volumes on the sidewalk, cross traffic, and loitering persons. After the study participants view the video, the researchers will ask them to rate the Segway rider's separation from the other sidewalk users, ability to pass other sidewalk users, and overall riding experience.

The data from this part of the study will be analyzed to determine how experienced and novice Segway riders differ in their perceptions of the sidewalk ridability of a Segway and what factors influence these perceptions. The researchers are hoping that policymakers and engineers may be able to use the study results to better understand the behavior and requirements of Segway riders and develop pedestrian facilities that meet the needs of all users.

This is FHWA's second study of Segway riders at TFHRC. For more information, contact:

Ann Do
202-493-3319
ann.do@fhwa.dot.gov
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Old 02-28-2006, 09:56 PM   #3
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Here's a link to information about Segways on buses and other means of transportation.
And this might be one of the articles the OP was referring to.
Since the Segway is still relatively new, it is going to take some work by people with disabilities to get them accepted.
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Old 02-28-2006, 10:24 PM   #4
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SueM,

Thank you for posting the link from the FDOT.

I fully understand the position of no Segs for the able bodied, but we are talking about folks with qualifying disabilities. The Segway holds the same position as a mobility scooter as far as the ADA is concerned.

As far as working to get this new technology accepted, that's what I'm doing here.

There is a great site for the disabled and the Segway. When I get my ears I'll post It.

Thank you again for your response,
Alan
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Old 03-01-2006, 08:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarkus
SueM,

I fully understand the position of no Segs for the able bodied, but we are talking about folks with qualifying disabilities. The Segway holds the same position as a mobility scooter as far as the ADA is concerned.

In fact, it does not. As shown by actions by the DOJ and decisions made by SCOTUS, it is highly unlikely that anyone having the stability and balance required to operate the Segway would qualify for protection of the ADA, which requires that a person be SUBSTANTIALLY limited in a major life activity (of walking, etc. in this application). The Segway requires balance, proprioception, and an occasional bit of fancy footwork to operate safely...none of which is required for the use of a "mobility scooter."

Anyone wishing to make a federal case out of this would be stopped in their tracks by the DOJ, which would dismiss the case on the basis that the complainant had no standing under the ADA.
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Old 03-01-2006, 09:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by videogal1
In fact, it does not. As shown by actions by the DOJ and decisions made by SCOTUS, it is highly unlikely that anyone having the stability and balance required to operate the Segway would qualify for protection of the ADA, which requires that a person be SUBSTANTIALLY limited in a major life activity (of walking, etc. in this application). The Segway requires balance, proprioception, and an occasional bit of fancy footwork to operate safely...none of which is required for the use of a "mobility scooter."

Anyone wishing to make a federal case out of this would be stopped in their tracks by the DOJ, which would dismiss the case on the basis that the complainant had no standing under the ADA.
With all do respect, I'm living proof !

If you like I will submit you both The Miami Project and Mayo Clinics reports to the contrary.

So "highly unlikely" leaves you a lot of wiggle room.

If you look at my links you will see Quads, double amps, paras all using Segways.

Would they be stopped in their tracks?

Regards,
Alan
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Old 02-28-2006, 10:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambassador
Tarkus,

You may be an early-adopter of new technology. Perhaps you might advocate for Segway usage at your local or regional level. It is interesting that the Segway website marketing does not show any pedestrians or WC/ ECV anywhere nearby.


Ann Do
202-493-3319
ann.do@fhwa.dot.gov
In fairness if you watch the videos on the Segway site you will see "Peds". Ok ,it's not N.Y.C. at rush hour I'll give you that !

The answer is interesting as I ask about the ADA disabilities and the laws that govern and I read a story, a great research project, but off the mark of my point.

It's about the ADA and what is "a public accommodation" under III

Regards,
Alan
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Old 02-28-2006, 11:35 PM   #8
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You may wish to contact Ann Do, and ask that your concerns, experience and advocacy to be included in the report. The report has the hallmarks of influence.
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Old 02-28-2006, 11:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambassador
You may wish to contact Ann Do, and ask that your concerns, experience and advocacy to be included in the report. The report has the hallmarks of influence.
I will do !

Thanks again,
Alan
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Old 02-28-2006, 11:40 PM   #10
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I know people with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) who have poor balance and love the Segway because it balances for them. There was a Segway users forum for people with disabilities that discussed a lot of these access issues. It used to be a public forum and I read it because it was interesting. I'm not sure why, but soon after I found it, it became a private forum.

I think the article that Ambassador posted was pertinent (maybe not directly to your point), but a lot of places passed bans on the use of Segways on roads and on sidewalks soon after they came out. Probably mostly out of fear of the unknown. Until policymakers get some comfort level with them (which is what Ambassador's article was about), there won't be any place to ride them, whether or not the person using it has a disability.
I do remember one of Disney's defenses was that because the Segway was not licensed as a mobility device, it didn't fall uner the ADA. It would be interesting to find out what their actual fears/concerns are, since they have a lot of experience with Segway use in the parks by well trained users and also novice users in the Segway tours. My gut feeling is that it's more to do with other factors (ie, storage while people are in rides, places to charge them and the inevitable companies that will spring up to rent them to guests for use in the parks with little/no training).
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Old 03-01-2006, 12:11 AM   #11
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The site you refer to is DRAFT with a .cc after is now public again. Sorry for working around the url thing.

The powers to be at Disney know all about the ADA ,where Segway fits and what Federal Govs. position as to what "FDA approval" means as far as the ADA.

And at some point they will comply, they will have know choice, it's the law.

Just thought they would be more cutting edge as they have always been in the forefront on these things in the past.

And thanks again for the open discussion on this.

Have a Good night,
Alan
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Old 03-01-2006, 05:27 AM   #12
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If they could keep the Segways from going at top speed, which is way too fast for a place like WDW, I don't see why everyone wouldn't be allowed to use them if they wanted to?

I can see it being a huge safety issue though - Segways are fast, much faster than the ECVs I've seen in use at WDW, and some people will abuse that speed. They depend on a battery pack to keep the machine balanced, and if that battery gets very low, won't the whole thing get very unstable? With an ECV, the whole thing isn't going to fall over when the battery dies, it's just going to stop. But if your Segway battery gets low, what are you going to do?
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Old 03-03-2006, 09:58 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SueM in MN
I do remember one of Disney's defenses was that because the Segway was not licensed as a mobility device, it didn't fall uner the ADA.
I am the person who initially added the FDA "licensed as a mobility device" into the mix here, so I thought I should respond to that.
I saw a response letter from Disney that someone posted on a disability forum that included the "it's not licensed as a mobility device" in the reasoning of why Disney would not allow Segways into their parks. That was probably more of a "delaying tactic" on Disney's part than an actual response; there are some people who would be likely to say "Oh, OK, it's not approved. I guess I can't use it then." Insurance companies use the same tactic in denying benefits for services they know they should cover; each time a denial is made, a certain percentage of people won't challenge the denial.

Power wheelchairs need to be FDA approved; not having approval was one of the delays in being able to market the iBOT mobility system (the wheelchair made by the same inventor as the Segway). FDA approval is important for being able to get insurance reimbursement and you can point at something like a wheelchair and say it is obviously covered by the ADA because it is recognized mobility device.

Consumer devices that are useful for people without disabilities and all also useful for people with disabilities (like Segways) don't need to be licensed to come under the ADA, but insurance is unlikely to pay for them b ecause they are "useful for ordinary people".
Many people who would choose to use a Segway would be disabled under the "old definition" of mobility disability (ie, unable to walk 200 feet), but the part that some people mentioned as disqualifying some people with disabilities from coverage is:
"Inability to walk without the use of or assistance from
a brace, cane, crutch, prosthetic device, or other
assistive device, or without assistance of another
person. If the assistive device significantly restores
the person's ability to walk to the extent that the
person can walk without severe limitation, the person
is not eligible for the exemption parking permit.
"
This is from the Florida State handicapped Parking Permit Application.

There is a stigma about renting an ECV or wheelchair that would not be present for Segways. I have been on the Segway tour at Epcot twice and on each tour, I was personally approached/asked at least 2 times to see where I rented it. If WDW allowed Segways to be used by anyone who brought one in there would be lots of them (and I do believe many people would pay to fly their personal one down or would rent one in Orland without being disabled - I am sure of it because there was even a black market in fake Make a Wish buttons. If people are willing to lie about that sort of thing, saying you are disabled to use a Segway at WDW is not a biggie).

Long ago (10-15 years), the only ECVs you saw in the parks were either Disney's own ones that they rented out or belonged to the person who was using it. WDW controlled theirs by making the top speed quite slow (I believe someone has posted the top speed is about 2-4 miles per hour).

They could not control the speed of the ones people brought in, but since most people were using their own, they were experienced drivers and the top speed of most ECVs is around 4 to 6 mph. (There are are a few "power scooters - maybe the kind for people who watch ToolTime and feel like Tim Taylor that go up to 9 mph, but most ECVs are actually more in the 4-5 mph range).
Someone had posted that power wheelchairs can go up to 12 mph. There may be a few specialized wheelchairs that can go fast (the fastest I've seen was listed as 8mph), the majority of power wheelchairs still have a top speed of 4-6 mph (my DD's can go to 7.5, but her computer controller is set to not let her go more than 80% of full power, so her "programmed top speed is still around 6mph).

So, unless Disney collected all the higher speed keys from Segways, you would have vehicles in the parks that are capable of going MUCH faster than any of the power wheelchairs or ECVs that people complain about in the parks. And, I have no doubt that some people would find ways around that and actually keep their higher power keys.

Aslo, one of the things I've noticed recently is a lot of rental power wheelchairs; you can tell they are rental ones because of the advertizing stickers on the back of them. You can tell the difference between a power wheelchair and an ECV because they ECVs drive with a tiller between the legs and the power wheelchairs drive with a joystick.

The actual full service medical equipment companies appreciate the fact that a power wheelchair with a joystick is not as intuitive and takes more practice to be able to drive safely than an ECV takes. The medical equipment companies will not rent power wheelchairs to inexperienced users.
The companies that only rent mobility devices used to only rent ECVs, but now many will also rent power wheelchairs to anyone. The high price of power wheelchairs was a disincentive before (they cost $6000 and up), but some of the companies have come up with much less expensive joystick controlled wheelchairs and (especially with all the ads for "Hoveround" wheelchairs on TV), there is demand from people who want to use these instead of "old fashioned" ECVs. So, even though a careful company would not rent the joystick controlled power wheelchair to someone without experience, there are less careful companies that will.

Only one of the mobility companies that I know of requires someone to be there when the ECV is dropped off or picked up (which allows the company to make sure there are no questions about operation). The rest will drop the ECV off at the front desk or bell services at the resort, without the guest being there. That's aok for experieced drivers, but a lot of the people who are renting ECVs that way have never driven one before.

I could see a big market of companies dropping off Segways at resorts and people going into the parks with no experience. Or even if the rental company required them to be there and receive some instruction, it would probably be very short and very basic. Even after over one hour of training in the Ecpot Segway Tours, I've seen people drive into lampposts and nearly run over pedestrians on the WS portion of the tour (when WS was essentially closed). I think it is not worries about what experienced drivers would do in the parks that is concerning WDW. It is all the inexperienced people who will rent Segways (whether or not they have a disability and rent one is immaterial, what is important is that they will not be experienced).
I think if there was some way Disney could limit the Segways in the parks to only ones they rent out or only to people who have demonstrated competence with it, they might be more willing to allow them. The tour guide on my Segway tour said that the WDW people who use the Segways in their job get 8 hours of instruction and certification before they can go "onstage" with one. But once WDW opens the gates to any, they loose a lot of control.
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Last edited by SueM in MN; 03-03-2006 at 10:18 AM.
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Old 03-03-2006, 11:16 AM   #14
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This is a really big thank you to SueM in MN the moderater of the disABILITIES forum. This thread has been a real pleasure for us to follow as my DH is one of those Segway users that does not feel disabled when he is on his Segway.We love WDW but must stop every 150 ft before DH can go on.He does not want to use a wheel chair or a ECV because he is not willing to give up yet,but will use a morale boosting Segway.Sue you have a great knowledge and way of putting all our thoughts in perspective.DIS is lucky to have you and so are we.
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