|10-14-2007, 11:03 AM||#1|
I owe, I owe, it's off to work I go . . . to finance our next Disney vacation.
Join Date: Apr 2005
Disney News - Advocates Fight Segway Ban at Florida Parks
I read this Disney News article today:
Advocates Fight Segway Ban at Florida Parks
Oct 14, 2007
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Advocates for the disabled want two theme parks to lift a ban on Segways, saying the scooters give people who can't walk a degree of freedom not afforded by wheelchairs.
Some employees at Walt Disney World use Segways, but officials at that park and SeaWorld Orlando said the two-wheeled scooters could be dangerous if used by visitors.
"We're not turning people away," said Disney World spokeswoman Kim Prunty. "We're turning away a particular form of transportation."
Disability Rights Advocates for Technology, which raises money to donate Segways to disabled U.S. military veterans and pushes for their acceptance, is asking the parks to lift the ban.
Many people who use prosthetics, and people who can stand but can't easily walk — such as many people with multiple sclerosis — find Segways offer more mobility and dignity than wheelchairs, said group co-founder Jerry Kerr, 52.
Disney has put many of its employees on Segways, but officials said they see serious safety concerns if untrained visitors ride the scooters on the same crowded walkways as toddlers, the elderly and other people with disabilities.
They also worry because Segways can go faster than 12 mph, they say.
SeaWorld spokeswoman Becca Bides said the park had similar concerns.
Messages left for Segway, based in Bedford, N.H., were not immediately returned Saturday.
Universal Orlando permits disabled riders on Segways on a case-by-case basis, park officials said.
I have to say that I am extremely ticked off with the statement, "...officials said they see serious safety concerns if untrained visitors ride the scooters on the same crowded walkways as toddlers, the elderly and other people with disabilities."
Excuse me, but isn't that exactly what Disney is doing with its Segway tours? Talk about untrained visitors. And in what way does Disney think its employees have more training and experience on a Segway than the disabled persons who use them in their daily lives?
I've only seen Segways used a few times at Disney and only at Epcot. One appeared to be a junior management type who was zipping across the main plaza at quite a clip and the others have been in the parking lot.
I am not disabled but I firmly believe in equal opportunities, rights and access for the disabled, especially when it comes to the men and women of our armed forces. I certainly hope Disney realizes that in turning away this particular form of transportation they are in fact turning away those folks who depend on it. Score one for Universal, at least they work with individuals on a case by case basis.
Chris & Michele
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