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Old 10-14-2007, 12:03 PM   #1
DznyRulz
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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.
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Old 10-14-2007, 12:38 PM   #2
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This article disapoints me I wasn't aware using a wheelchair was "undignified"

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Old 10-14-2007, 01:07 PM   #3
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This has come up for discussion before, about 18 months ago and had a pretty thorough discussion of all the pros and cons.
Here is a link to the closed discussion of Segways for people with disabilities.


That thread (for the most part) stayted courteous and on subject, but it required a lot of moderator (mostly my) attention while the discussion was going on. It was closed when the discussion seemed to have run its course and I did not have the ability to put a lot of attention to it.
There was one misunderstanding about this board that some of the posters from DRAFT (Disability Rights Advocates for Technology) seemed to have when I read some posts on other boards where they were discussing that thread. I want to be very clear that:
This site is an independent, unofficial website. It is not owned or operated (or even connected) in any way to the Disney.
Posters for the most part are not Disney employees and even those who are Disney employees are posting on this board in a voluntary way and what they post does not necessarily reflect the thoughts of the Disney company.
I am not in any way connected to Disney. I am just a mom of a child with multiple disabilities who has visited WDW many, many times over the years with a child who uses a wheelchair.

I want to also mention that the DRAFT members who posted on that closed thread are very adament in their beliefs, but were courteous in expressing their opinions and some have even stayed around to post on other subjects.

All that said, on with the discussion.
Please play nice.
And I do reserve the right to close it (maybe temporarily, maybe permanantly, if it gets out of hand, the discussion has hit a dead end, or I just do not have the ability to monitor it anymore).
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Old 10-14-2007, 02:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DznyRulz View Post
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.
Actually the Segway tours are scheduled early in the day and the users travel around an "unopened" World Showcase for their tour. They recieve an hour of training and then tour the showcase before anyone else is there thus avoiding the crowds and toddlers. There is also an age limit for the tour. Granted not the same as training as someone who uses it daily but Disney does ensure the tour participants don't just jump on and go.

My DH and DS took the tour back in January.
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Old 10-14-2007, 03:01 PM   #5
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Old 10-14-2007, 03:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merryweather20 View Post
This article disapoints me I wasn't aware using a wheelchair was "undignified"

Yes, this was also the part of the article that I found most upsetting as well. I also do not agree with the suggestion that a Segway gives more freedom than a wheelchair, but maybe some feel that way.

I am also a little peeved that the targets they pick out as 'unsafe' to have a Segway around are "toddlers, the elderly and other people with disabilities". I tend to find these to be some of the more sensible pedestrians! It seems more often to be the able-bodied adults who wander in front of me in a world of their own!

Oh well, journalists will write what they will write. Hopefully this issue will be resolved peacefully and everyone will get their happily ever after (until the next issue comes along ).
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Old 10-14-2007, 04:48 PM   #7
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All I can say is;

teach your staff to use a Segway proparely or ban them for your own staff as well! The only incident I've ever had with a Segway -overhere they are only allowed to be used outside of ones own proparty if one is disabled and fits certain requirements- was at WDW, where a CM nearly ran me over. Luckily I've got footrests that were sticking out and I noticed him coming. By the time he hit me I was standing still, but he never once noticed me while coming my way.

I'm not out yet on what I think about the 'use segway or not'. While pedestrians also are a risk, they aren't moving at a fast speed. One thing I learned from my wdw-segway-incident is that if you hit, you'll hit relatively fast and therefor hard, with all of the extra risks.

And I can understand Merry. While I know aids can be a very touchy subject for some -hack, my powerchair was one for me not too long ago-, I don't think the word undignified is...... fitting. Might be me, but anyone stating to advocate my interest doesn't do that if he/she uses words like undignified when talking about these very standard stuff like a wc.
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Old 10-14-2007, 07:32 PM   #8
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12 MPH? Why would anyone let any vehicle that goes 12 MPH into a major theme park? Can they be programmed/locked to not go over a walking pace?
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Old 10-14-2007, 08:31 PM   #9
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12 MPH? Why would anyone let any vehicle that goes 12 MPH into a major theme park? Can they be programmed/locked to not go over a walking pace?
They have different keys that limit the speed.
The key that is used for the Segway Tours only allows a slow speed (if I remember right, beginner speed is a green key and is 4 mph). I've taken the Segway Tour 3 times and I know they made a point that the CMs monitoring the tour have a much faster key so they can catch you and confiscate your Segway if you try to 'race.'
I can't remember if they have the fastest (red) key that allows it to go up to 12 mph or it they have a middle speed, but I know it was quite a bit faster than the students got. ( I think they had up to 6 or 8 mph, not the full 12).

When you buy a Segway, you get a set of all the keys so you can practice and learn on one of the slower speeds and have the faster keys available as you get more experienced/have opportunities where it is safe to use them.

When this subject came up before, I did some internet searches. One thing I found was there were companies that would make keys to whatever specifications the person ordered. So, if you wanted to have a key that was colored green, but would allow you to go 12 mph, you could. I did find some forums where people were discussing having bought those keys so that they could show people they were using the 'slow' key, but were actually using a 'fast' key. To be fair, the people posting did not have disabilities - they sounded like people just out to have a good time, who were not afraid to lie or break rules to do it.
I also think the number of people like that going into one of the parks would probably be very small, but 12 mph is too fast for a theme park.
And I'm sure that possibility is one of the things Disney is concerned about.
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Old 10-14-2007, 08:37 PM   #10
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Speed is a red herring!

In actuality people can run 12 miles an hour for an extended period of time, the fastest speed of a human being has been clocked at 27 mph for a short distance.

Even a 325 pound NFL defensive lineman with full gear on can run a 40 yard dash averaging 17 mph. You don't see them banning those guys!

The need for a top speed such as 12 mph is as much a safety issue for the user of the Segway as it is for the ability to travel distances in a reasonable amount of time.

Anyone with a disability who has used a mobility device such as a wheelchair or a scooter can point out the danger issues crossing lanes of traffic, even with traffic lights. The ability to safely accelerate to 12 1/2 miles per hour to avoid dangerous situations for a person with a disability or others using a mobility device is not only acceptable and desirable but in all honesty a requirement.
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Old 10-14-2007, 09:17 PM   #11
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A Segway is not an approved medical device like a wheelchair or ECV. The developer of the Segway was asked to have it approved as a medical device and he did not wish to do so. So it is just a cool mode of transportation not unlike the Heelies. And we all know about Heelies.
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Old 10-14-2007, 09:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwinfred View Post
Anyone with a disability who has used a mobility device such as a wheelchair or a scooter can point out the danger issues crossing lanes of traffic, even with traffic lights. The ability to safely accelerate to 12 1/2 miles per hour to avoid dangerous situations for a person with a disability or others using a mobility device is not only acceptable and desirable but in all honesty a requirement.
I can see both sides of the argument concerning Segways in WDW. But this statement is a bit overboard. I've used a wheelchair for 30 years and often cross the street. I doubt I can hit 12 1/2 MPH except going downhill so I should be dead since it's a requirement. Crossing a street isn't a problem if you're traveling at a standard walking pace.
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Old 10-14-2007, 09:46 PM   #13
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Hmmm. I'm not sure about that myself. For someone on foot its never safe to run across an intersection. I'd have to say myself I've never wanted to race across an intersection any faster. There's certainly been plenty of times I've wanted to have a little more climbing action on hills though .

I'd imagine if a line-backer was running top speed through Disney (other than during a marathon event) that they might get some warnings and then "banned" if he kept at it?

I really do think its great that they are providing the Segways to vets though. I'd imagine there are many situations where its useful, I just don't think that high pedestrian situations like Disney or shopping malls are one of them.

Speed isn't my only concern though. Drivers in a Segway seem to take a very high line of sight. I've had enough people plough their shopping carts into me in Wal-Mart to know that regular pedestrians are mainly looking out for walking adults, when I add the height of the Segway, as well as the posture I do not get a warm fuzzy feeling about safety.

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Old 10-14-2007, 10:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillSears View Post
I can see both sides of the argument concerning Segways in WDW. But this statement is a bit overboard. I've used a wheelchair for 30 years and often cross the street. I doubt I can hit 12 1/2 MPH except going downhill so I should be dead since it's a requirement. Crossing a street isn't a problem if you're traveling at a standard walking pace.
well I use a wheelchair as well and I know plenty of people who can exceed 12 mph in a manual chair.

and clearance intervals ( the time it takes to cross intersections) are always issues whenever I've attended ADAAG design meetings.

This is simply a behavioral issue, nothing more nothing less. The Segway is as safe around others as any manual wheelchair and safer than power chairs and scooters. But you'll only be able to verify that if you do a little research, which that reporter seems to have done.

If you exhibit bad behavior using any device you should be held accountable.
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Old 10-14-2007, 10:23 PM   #15
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Not a Requirement under the ADA or the Rehab act

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deb & Bill View Post
A Segway is not an approved medical device like a wheelchair or ECV. The developer of the Segway was asked to have it approved as a medical device and he did not wish to do so. So it is just a cool mode of transportation not unlike the Heelies. And we all know about Heelies.
There are plenty of ECV's that aren't approved by the FDA, but there isn't any requirement that they be to be protected under the ADA. the U.S. DOT has already validated this with regard to public transportation and USDOJ has validated it as well.

There's a Yahoo ADA law group that is participated by lots of advocates, attorneys and government officials, it's a great place to learn and get questions answered, look them up.
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