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Old 04-10-2009, 12:13 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by jcb View Post
Kate's comments intrigued me so I thought I would link to some of the comments that have been made to the U.S. Justice Department about the rule they have under consideration. I thought two were helpful in explaining the different perspectives on Segways in amusement parks.

First, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) has make extensive remarks about the use of Segways and the potential problems they pose. (I've seen enough to make me think that WDW is a member of this association but don't know for sure.) The full (55 page!) IAAPA comments (which goes into much more than Segways) is available here. You can skip to page 30 for their Segway position.

For a different perspective, I'll link to the page where the National Multiple Sclerosis Society filed its comments. They are shorter (only 19 pages) and the Segway discussion starts on page 8. The link doesn't go straight to the pdf - you need to click on the pdf symbol to read the comments. Here is a direct link to the pdf. Other comments concerning the Segway are at regulations.gov.
Thanks for that! I read the PDF for the NMSS, and found it interesting. Working with kids with special needs, I realise how important it is to be seen as 'normal', and Segways (in theory) take away that stigma. However at a Disney park EVC's are normal, where as a Segway would just draw attention to yourself, and from some of the comments made by people on these boards, not in a good way! Plus, although they do have the benefit of being able to stand and see, I am just not sure how easy they would be to stop at the same speed as an ECV. My parents did the tour round Epcot, and really enjoyed it, but said they only ever did nice, slow, gentle stops.

Still befuddles me why this lawsuit was ever really brought up. Segways are not common enough, or tested enough, to use in a crowded theme park. If they find some way of making them safe, and cost comparative to ECV's, then I will be all for them! I hope that Disney (who in general go above and beyond their requirements in disabled access) don't get victimised in this!
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Old 04-11-2009, 05:35 PM   #17
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On that premise, requiring guests to rent WDW provided "ESVs" as part of the settlement is OK, WDW says, because renting ESVs is an "additional accommodation" one that goes beyond anything required by the ADA.
That is correct.
All the ADA says is that they have to make things accessible so that someone who needs a mobility device can get in (ramps & elevators). The assumption is that if you need a mobility device, you will bring one with you. There is no requirement that any business provide one for you, either free of charge or for rent.

When places like Target, Walmart and grocery stores provide free mobility scooters, they don't do it because the ADA requires it. They do it because it makes good business sense - if people with mobility problems can use one in the store, they are likely to stay longer and buy more.
WDW provides them for the same reasons (plus, they get paid by people renting them).

The threads that I linked before discussed some of the difficulties people with disabilities who have been to WDW thought about. Some of us had taken the Epcot Segway tours, so had some experience.
  • Where would you put a Segway while the person is on a ride. Wheelchairs and scooters are self supporting. You can park them and they will stay where you put them. Segways need to be leaned against something and if bumped, they could fall over. A wheelchair or scooter might move a bit if bumped, but it won't fall over.
  • What about attractions that include theater seating. Would you need a leaning spot for the Segway plus a seat for the guest to sit in? Right now they have spots for wheelchairs and scooters to park (no close by walls to lean a Segway on) with a seat next to it for one member of the 'wheelchair party' to sit next to the person using a wheelchair or scooter.
  • Door and ceiling heights are made for the average size person, not the average size person standing on a Segway. To expect accommodations be made for Segways to go thru all those would be expensive and maybe not even achievable.

So, there are other things to think about besides whether or not it is safe for people on Segways to be mixed with the other guests.
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Old 04-11-2009, 05:58 PM   #18
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Not being a lawyer, and certainly not always P.C., my question is, how is WDW gonna let someone with physical limitations use a segway? how does segway feel about that? And free of charge?? thats just opening up a whole other can..Please excuse me, but I feel like putting someone who is not in full control of their body on a segway is a recipe for a hole other round of 'settlements'..
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Old 04-11-2009, 09:16 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by polineedyan View Post
how does segway feel about that?

"The Segway was not designed as a mobility device and has not been approved by the FDA as a medical device so we are not allowed to market it as a medical device," says Carol Valianti, a spokesman for Segway Inc.

http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll...80262/-1/ART06
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Old 04-11-2009, 10:27 PM   #20
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Sue,

I would hope no business is ever penalized for going beyond what the ADA requires. The difficult question the DOJ is having to answer is what does the ADA require in terms of whether places must be forced to allow the use of personally owned powered mobility devices (which I'll call Segways in light of the lawsuit's focus). If they must allow personally-owned Segways, they can't force individuals with disabilities to pay for using store-owned Segways.

I used the word "accommodation" though perhaps the more accurate way to describe this is to say that if WDW must make "reasonable modifications" to its policies IF DOJ ultimately prevails in saying places may not impose a blanket ban on Segways. As to the other logistical issues, I do not doubt they are significant. I can think of a few more. I simply meant to point out the reason (and only reason) WDW gave in the lawsuit. Frankly, I think the safety issues are pretty significant but as I implied, I am not so sure they justify a blanket ban as opposed to some less onerous safety regulation.

polineedyan,

As to whether there will be other "settlements," if federal law required WDW to allow Segways within the park, no one could sue WDW because it complied with federal law. That isn't complete immunity. WDW would probably still have to train its employees on how they should act if they observed unsafe Segway use - by anyone.

Justin Jett

The fact that Segway has not sought or obtained approval to advertise (or sell) its product as an FDA approved mobility device doesn't necessarily mean the people who use them are prohibited from treating them as an ADA mobility device. Perhaps I'm wrong and someone will correct me.
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Old 04-11-2009, 11:35 PM   #21
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Hi Jack,

Thank you explaining things in plain English. I am following the lawsuit, but I do not understand the legal language. I disagree strongly with the lawsuit overall. However, the explanations Jack is giving are helping me understand the details better.

You are absoluteky right, as the ADA is written. Although, Segway Inc. does not suggest them to be used as a medical device

The accessibility at the Disney parks and resorts is a very passionate subject for me. Since I have begun to make friend have fun on these boards, I will not get too serious here, other than to say the lawsuit itself really bothers me.

I would like to close with a bit of humor if I may. Please know this next statement in meant to be very light hearted, even though I have very strong feelings about everything that is going on.

How many times has someone in the park said "Oh, I've been on my feet alllllll day. I wish I could sit down." Now, there is a lawsuit that is basically for the right to stand up.

Skip

PS.....I am very sorry if I offend anyone. This is a very emotional subject for me.
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Old 04-12-2009, 11:26 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcb View Post
Sue,

I would hope no business is ever penalized for going beyond what the ADA requires. The difficult question the DOJ is having to answer is what does the ADA require in terms of whether places must be forced to allow the use of personally owned powered mobility devices (which I'll call Segways in light of the lawsuit's focus). If they must allow personally-owned Segways, they can't force individuals with disabilities to pay for using store-owned Segways.

I used the word "accommodation" though perhaps the more accurate way to describe this is to say that if WDW must make "reasonable modifications" to its policies IF DOJ ultimately prevails in saying places may not impose a blanket ban on Segways. As to the other logistical issues, I do not doubt they are significant. I can think of a few more. I simply meant to point out the reason (and only reason) WDW gave in the lawsuit. Frankly, I think the safety issues are pretty significant but as I implied, I am not so sure they justify a blanket ban as opposed to some less onerous safety regulation.
One interesting thing WDW has done in the past -
when people brought in wagons (which are not allowed by WDW) and large jogging strollers with non-swiveling front wheels (which were not allowed at one time), WDW held those items at the stroller rental area and gave the people who brought them in a park rental stroller free of charge.

I imagine that it what they would do plan to do with Segways.

Quote:
polineedyan,

As to whether there will be other "settlements," if federal law required WDW to allow Segways within the park, no one could sue WDW because it complied with federal law. That isn't complete immunity. WDW would probably still have to train its employees on how they should act if they observed unsafe Segway use - by anyone.
They do that already with mobility scooters (although the CMs are not always perfect at it).
Quote:
Justin Jett

The fact that Segway has not sought or obtained approval to advertise (or sell) its product as an FDA approved mobility device doesn't necessarily mean the people who use them are prohibited from treating them as an ADA mobility device. Perhaps I'm wrong and someone will correct me.
It mostly means that the company that makes them can't advertise or sell them as an FDA approved mobility device.
It also makes it harder to get insurance coverage to pay for them.
In addition (and I think this was one of the points in the IAAPA document), things that are FDA approved mobility devices have been designed so that they fit into the spaces that have been designated in the ADA guidelines as spaces that fit "common wheelchairs".
Having something like a Segway that needs its own different type of space makes it much more difficult to accommodate.
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Old 04-13-2009, 02:18 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Jett View Post
"The Segway was not designed as a mobility device and has not been approved by the FDA as a medical device so we are not allowed to market it as a medical device," says Carol Valianti, a spokesman for Segway Inc.

http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll...80262/-1/ART06
yeah... that was the question I was asking as I read this thread. The guy who invented the Segway also invented some pretty high end wheel chair esque devices and are ADA mobility devices. It is not like they don;t have experience in the matter. If the inventor, designers and manufacturer don't intend for the segway to be a mobility device... how does any of this lawsuit make sense? If you need a mobility device, get something that is intended to be a mobility device? And according to the company that makes the segway (that also makes mobility devices) this is not one of those.
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Old 04-13-2009, 11:45 AM   #24
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Rex,

The explanation I have seen is that canes are not an FDA approved "mobility device" but places like WDW (public businesses) must permit them.

There are obvious differences between a cane and a Segway. The cane is generally less of a "danger" to the user and those around him/her than the Segway (unless the cane user gets upset, of course). But in term of whether a mobility device must be F.D.A. approved before a public business must make a reasonable modification to its policies to permit it, the analogy seems to be appropriate.

A similar issue arises with service animals. Many businesses had policies that only allowed "certified" or "licensed" guide dogs. That is not permitted: "you may not insist on proof of state certification before permitting the service animal to accompany the person with a disability." If in doubt, all a business can ask is "if it is a service animal required because of a disability."
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Old 05-05-2009, 09:16 AM   #25
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White Paper - People Who Have Difficulty Walking & the Segway

The members of this forum may want to review the following white paper - Universally Designed Technology Solutions - People Who Have Difficulty Walking & the Segway:

Since I cannot post links yet, go to DRAFT (dot) ORG in the Education and Advocacy section (documents and links) to view the PDF.


A couple of passages from the white paper to consider:

The Segway is an electrically powered, self
balancing, non-tandem two wheeled device, and
classified as a consumer product. With its
introduction people who had difficulty walking
but could stand now had an option available to
them which would allow them mobility while
allowing them to remain standing. This includes
people who have conditions such as multiple
sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson's disease,
amputations, COPD, spina bifida, traumatic burn
injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and many
neurological conditions.

For those having the ability to use the Segway as
an assistive device it offers them mobility more
consistent with that which they enjoyed prior to
becoming disabled. They are able to reach things
from high shelves, move in and out of tight spaces,
including closets and even move about the kitchen
in a manner consistent with their pre-disability
movements. They are able to better see and be
seen when interacting with others. The mere act
of passive standing has dramatic physiological and
psychological benefits.

Individuals with disabilities who have a substantial
limitation in their ability to walk require an
assistive device, its use is not a convenience or an
option - it is a fundamental necessity for their
activities of daily living. It would be a rare case
indeed for an individual with a disability not to
own the assistive device which best met their
unique and specific needs.

The class of people who have a "substantial
limitation" and those who rent or use "electric
convenience vehicles" for occasional use are
distinctly different in their needs, their operational
experience, and their rights under the law. It is
not devices that are protected under the law; it is
an individual’s substantial limitation.

For some operators of large amusement parks the
electric convenience vehicle has become a source of
income often times renting at daily rates that
exceed those charged by automobile rental
companies to rent an automobile.

As a result many are encouraging guests who are
not disabled but who may have concerns about
their stamina to seriously consider using a
wheelchair, personal scooter or electric
convenience vehicle while visiting the venue. They
are also advised that they are available for rent on a
first-come first-served basis.

While ECV rentals have become a very lucrative
market for corporate America, they have become
very problematic for people with disabilities who
rely on an assistive device for their basic mobility.
Users of electric convenience vehicles are typically
inexperienced in their operation creating an
increased risk for injury to others and they are
oblivious to mobility device etiquette when
interacting with others.

Most people with disabilities are supportive of an
atmosphere where people who have mobility
challenges will be accommodated in the most
appropriate way possible. They're also aware of
the fact that, with electric convenience vehicles
already becoming ubiquitous, merchants, mall
operators and the operators of large amusement
parks should make every effort to make them only
available to those who have a reasonable need.

In 1991 in publishing the first regulations
implementing the ADA U. S. Attorney General
Richard Thornburgh consistently made reference
to the fact that there would be no exhaustive list of
devices and services because any attempt to do so
would omit the new devices that would become
available with new and emerging technology.

The 1973 Rehabilitation Act as amended in 1998,
in the definitions contained in that act, applicable
to every section of that act, including section 504,
defined an assistive technology device as "any
item, piece of equipment, or product system,
whether acquired commercially, modified, or
customized, that is used to increase, maintain,
or improve functional capabilities of
individuals with disabilities."

It is an all encompassing definition and includes all
items from Segways to wheelchairs. There is
absolutely no definition or mention of any other
type of assistive device, including a wheelchair or
scooter in the entire 1973 Rehabilitation Act as
amended in 1998, nor does there need to be.


There is much more contained in the white paper and I encourage people to review it carefully.

The bottom line in the lawsuit is "WorldCo" is taking the position that Segways are not safe. They have not provided any evidence to support this position (that I'm aware of).

Disability rights groups (such as DRAFT) argue WorldCo is in direct violation of the ADA.

To see some of the people DRAFT is fighting for, go to Segs4Vets (dot) ORG for further information.

I hope this helps shed some light on the issue.

Last edited by Expert_Glider; 05-05-2009 at 09:21 AM.
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:39 AM   #26
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Interesting.

Thank you expert_glider for the post. I see that there is a purposeful vagueness in the definition of mobility devices in anticipation of improvements in technology.

I also found the passage interesting that referenced the occasional user. It is not devices that are protected under the law; it is an individual’s substantial limitation. But who is to make the decision?

Sorry but this bothered me:

For some operators of large amusement parks the electric convenience vehicle has become a source of income often times renting at daily rates that
exceed those charged by automobile rental companies to rent an automobile.


While they do rent them the implication that this is a "source of income" is not substatiated. The liability insurance (which rental companies offer but is usually declined), gas, storage, etc would be proprietary information know only to those "large amusement parks". That comment sounded like a cheap shot at a big bad company that has always done what it can to provide a pleasant diversion for it guests. Just MHO.
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Old 05-05-2009, 02:51 PM   #27
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The whole lawsuit is very disheartening. It is a shame that WDW is having to deal with this. The whole thing is just plain silly.

I am very thankful to Disney for what they do for the disabled. I am very much against this whole lawsuit.
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Old 05-05-2009, 03:07 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Expert_Glider View Post

The bottom line in the lawsuit is "WorldCo" is taking the position that Segways are not safe. They have not provided any evidence to support this position (that I'm aware of).

Disability rights groups (such as DRAFT) argue WorldCo is in direct violation of the ADA.

To see some of the people DRAFT is fighting for, go to Segs4Vets (dot) ORG for further information.

I hope this helps shed some light on the issue.
safe? a car, a gun, a ball bat, a golf club, a pocket knife, etc. is only as safe as the person that uses it. Can it be reasonable expected that someone that goes to WDW and rents a segway from a third party to use in the parks knows how to safely operate the device? In time with more widespread use, perhaps. 4 wheel mobility vehicles are common, and it is not reasonable to expect someone to fall off and bang their head. I have rode a segway many times, a helmut is a good idea.

If I follow right, WDW has to allow anything that can be reasonably understood to aid with a disability, but cannot question the disability. Well, my ball bat and my pistol help with my anxiety issues... but is it reasonable that I carry them in the parks?

there has to be agreement on what is reasonable at some point, so far that hasn't happened
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Old 05-05-2009, 03:27 PM   #29
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It seems to me that it all turns on the fact that the Segway is not an approved medical device. Period.

The ADA allows that there are many different devices, but has to draw the line for accomodations somewhere. For example, a public transit system can deny boarding to a wheelchair user, if the chair doesn't meet the ADA definition of a common wheelchair ( A common wheelchair is defined as any three or four wheeled mobility device up to 48 inches long by 30 inches wide and weighing no more than 600 pounds (including occupant)). It can be very difficult for a service provider to secure a non-common chair safely.

It seems to me that the petitioners would be better served working on legislation to make Segways approved devices rather than suing the deep pockets of Disney.
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Old 05-05-2009, 03:29 PM   #30
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It seems to me that the petitioners would be better served working on legislation to make Segways approved devices rather than suing the deep pockets of Disney.
Very well said!!!
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