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Old 05-06-2009, 01:47 PM   #31
Expert_Glider
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[QUOTE=NWOhioAngela;31679073]It seems to me that it all turns on the fact that the Segway is not an approved medical device. Period.[QUOTE]

The Segway (or any other device or system) doesn't have to be FDA approved to be protected under the ADA.

Service animals are not FDA approved but are protected. Canes, crutches, walkers, etc... aren't FDA approved either. FDA approval and ADA protections are two entirely different things that are often confused.

At first, WorldCo used the "not FDA approved" reason for preventing access. When it became clear to them this wasn't going to stand up, they then switched to "not safe".

People with qualifying disabilities that own and use their Segway as their primary mobility device believe WorldCo is in violation of federal ADA laws by preventing them from using their device of choice that best meets their mobility needs.

This will be determined by the court system and not on this site. That said, I just thought the people here might want further information to help explain the issue from "the other side".

Last edited by Expert_Glider; 05-06-2009 at 03:05 PM.
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Old 05-06-2009, 02:24 PM   #32
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The "safety issue" is covered under ADA:

§ 36.208 Direct threat.

(a) This part does not require a public
accommodation to permit an individual
to participate in or benefit from
the goods, services, facilities, privileges,
advantages and accommodations
of that public accommodation when
that individual poses a direct threat to
the health or safety of others.

(b) Direct threat means a significant
risk to the health or safety of others
that cannot be eliminated by a modification
of policies, practices, or procedures,
or by the provision of auxiliary
aids or services.

(c) In determining whether an individual
poses a direct threat to the
health or safety of others, a public accommodation
must make an individualized
assessment, based on reasonable
judgment that relies on current
medical knowledge or on the best
available objective evidence, to ascertain:

the nature, duration, and severity
of the risk; the probability that the potential
injury will actually occur; and
whether reasonable modifications of
policies, practices, or procedures will
mitigate the risk.
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Old 05-06-2009, 02:29 PM   #33
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People should just use an ECV and enjoy the parks.

May the best MOUSE win this whole thing. I cannot wait until it just goes away!
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Old 05-06-2009, 02:34 PM   #34
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I find this topic very interesting, especially coming from the other side of the pond where disability law is different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Expert_Glider View Post
This will be determined by the court system and not on this site. That said, I just thought the people here might want further information to help explain the issue from "the other side".
Of course, we all understand we are all just putting out our views on our limited knowledge of the situation. Your extra information is great, but doesn't mean people are going to automatically agree with you.

I do think Segways are a good idea, if they can be modified to make them safe in the parks. Currently they are neither modified, nor are the parks modified, for their use. WDW does let you bring in your own mobility aids if they see them as reasonable, however currently segways are not reasonable and are a threat to park guests. WDW goes out of their way to make their parks as disability friendly as humanly possible, and they do a brilliant job. I can understand why a charity would go for Disney, rather than anyone else, because they have got the basics sorted, if they went for anyone else, it would be about fundamental access issues rather than specifically segways.

If segways were modified to a lower speed, with a decent breaking system which would allow an immediate halt, with the user having proper safety equipment, i would be the first to call it a brilliant idea. Until then, ECV's will have to be the way to go.
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Old 05-06-2009, 03:13 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wishspirit View Post
WDW does let you bring in your own mobility aids if they see them as reasonable, however currently segways are not reasonable and are a threat to park guests.
You state that Segways "are a threat to park guests". What is this based on? Could you please provide the supporting facts that back up this statement?

I'd specifically like to know of any reported instance(s) of a person with a qualifying disability injuring another person while using a Segway as their mobility device.

I look forward to your reply.
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Old 05-06-2009, 03:30 PM   #36
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This all sounds like "lawyer speak" to me.

What is considered to be a "qualifying disability?" If a disabilty has to "qualify" than a mobility device should also have to qualify.

The more I read about this.....the more it sounds like just some lawyer going after Disney's deep pockets.
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Old 05-06-2009, 04:06 PM   #37
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The definitions of a "qualifying Disability" and a "mobility device" are contained in the ADA - Americans with Disabilities Act.

You can find them there if you wish.

A "direct threat" based on safety has to be real and not perceived or imagined - ie: you have to have a factual basis for denying access because of a safety concern.

Find me an accident (any accident) caused by someone with a qualifying disability that has caused injury to another person while using a Segway as their mobility device.

Otherwise, please let me know what other factual basis a safety claim can be made to deny access.

I would really like to know.
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Old 05-06-2009, 05:53 PM   #38
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I think what causes the most consternation is that the Segway is a device used by folks who don't necessarily have a disability so it is somewhat difficult for those of us who do not have a disability to have the perspective of those who do. I would imagine that for folks who have been “confined” to a wheelchair as their only mode of personal transportation the relative freedom a Segway provides is a pretty emotional experience. I don’t know – but I imagine it dwarfs how I might feel if I were to lose 50 pounds overnight.

That said, not everything that makes someone feel better about themselves must be tolerated. Richard Bach had a great example using vampires in Illusions. Rex gives an extreme one with guns and bats. But the standard is whether the mode is reasonable and the courts and DOJ have established criteria to determine that even if they have not addressed this specific problem (yet). Safety is one of the concerns – as is the cost involved in making substantial modification to existing facilities. The issue here is how to balance the concerns.

I do know that in the legal documents WDW filed urging the court to approve the settlement, it asserted that the people suing acknowledged they had been provided with “a clear explanation of Worldco’s justification for prohibiting Segways at the Disney resorts.” While this is not necessarily a statement that the other side agrees with Disney’s reasoning, with all the effort that has gone into this lawsuit, it is probably close.

As for Segways actually causing an accident, it is pretty clear that is not the standard. No company has to wait for an accident to actually happen before its safety concerns are validated. I know of several accidents involving Segways but those have only injured the operator.

Turning to the status of the "Segway lawsuit" itself, the court has scheduled a hearing for June 3 and 4 to take evidence about the “fairness” of the proposed class action settlement. Meanwhile, WDW has filed a response to other objections to the settlement. It is too long to quote here but it is worth setting out WDW's reasoning for deciding why Segways are “inherently incompatible in a crowded theme park.” Without meaning to take sides (there is enough of that here already) and hoping I do not take WDW’s statements too out of context, here are WDW’s reasons:
  • the manufacturer itself warns consumers that Segways can cause serious injury or death because of “loss of control, collisions, and falls,” not simply because of excessive speed.
  • Worldco’s chief safety officer, Greg Hale, explained what causes such loss of control and falls:“the basic principle [of the Segway] is it is an unstable device” and that because of its constantly adjusting sensors which are connected to powerful twin motors, “[i]t will fall over unless it’s actively working properly.”
  • this unique combination of power and microadjustments can break down and cause accidents in certain circumstances because the Segway is incapable of recognizing danger: the Segway’s “extremely powerful twin motors [ ] can generate thousands of watts of power instantly” and its large wheels must “generate enough force and torque to move very rapidly, a hundred times a second,”
  • if the wheels of the Segway inadvertently contact an object, such as “a curb or [ ] a child’s leg,” then “the device doesn’t know danger” and “doesn’t know what it contacted.” As a result, it will “try even harder and ramp up to – it’s like flooring a car when it hits an object in the driveway rather than putting on the brakes.”
  • under normal operating conditions, failure to precisely control the self-balancing mechanism of the Segway and to avoid the wheels coming into contact with another object (even something as small as loose gravel), can easily cause the device to lurch out of control or throw the rider off the vehicle’s platform, posing an unacceptable safety risk.
I think WDW's fundamental point is that operating a Segway in a crowded theme park is enough of an unusual experience for even the most experienced Seqway user that it poses an unacceptable risk of harm.
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Old 05-06-2009, 05:58 PM   #39
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I think i side with Disney on this one... They allow other types of vehicles to accomodate people. The segways are capable of much faster speeds than most of the ECVs. So right there is a safety issue... if a person on a Segway hits someone, the potential for injury is greater, IMHO.
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Old 05-06-2009, 06:05 PM   #40
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Jack,

I have enjoyed your posts on this topic.

While I could dispute Greg Hale's testimony on this, I will not do so here.

But isn't it kind of ironic:

CM's use Segways everyday and Disney is one of Segways largest volume users.

They have a Segway experience type display at Epcot where you can try one out for a couple of minutes.

They offer a tour at Epcot (my understanding is it's before the park opens to the public).

They offer a tour at Fort Wilderness.

If the device is so dangerous, why on earth would they do these things that could pose undue risk (their claim, not mine) to their CM's or guests?
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Old 05-06-2009, 06:12 PM   #41
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The tours are cotrolled and supervised situations.

Segways are often sold to cities and towns for security and law enforcement. There is a special version of the Segway made for security and law enforcement purposes.
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Old 05-06-2009, 06:18 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yitbos96bb View Post
I think i side with Disney on this one... They allow other types of vehicles to accomodate people. The segways are capable of much faster speeds than most of the ECVs. So right there is a safety issue... if a person on a Segway hits someone, the potential for injury is greater, IMHO.
Segways have the ability to set a maximum speed limit (say 4-6 MPH) that is in-line with most other ECV's. Some ECV and power wheel chairs can reach even higher speeds than a Segway.

It is the riders responsibility to operate the device safely. If they don't, eject them from the park. But don't ban the device - a device that has given people back mobility and freedom that they thought was gone forever.

Disney has huge parking lots containing vehicles that are capable of exceeding 100 MPH. And they can and do cause deaths everyday throughout the country and the world. But most people act responsibly and those that don't lose their priviledges. We don't ban automobiles because some people don't follow the rules or because they are not 100% safe all the time. We deal with the individual and not the device.

I don't think the park rides have a proven 100% safety record either but they are still in operation.

My point is - deal with the person not being safe...don't blame the device.
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Old 05-06-2009, 06:27 PM   #43
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7 posts, all of them here... I smell troll.

at what point do you have a dog in this fight? I think I stated before, the folks that make segways know a lot about making mobility devices and they have stated repeatedly that the segway is not a mobility device for the disabled... the instructions caution you to always use a helmet. what disability mobility device should require a helmet?

my yamaha v-max is my mobility vehicle and it helps me over come my disability of not being able to run very fast. pretty sure no one is gonna buy that story either.
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Old 05-06-2009, 06:29 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Expert_Glider View Post

It is the riders responsibility to operate the device safely. If they don't, eject them from the park. But don't ban the device - a device that has given people back mobility and freedom that they thought was gone forever.

I have a concealed carry permit valid in most states, and yet there are places that ban concealed carry on their premises. hm, if I can't carry my weapon, you can't ride your toy.
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Old 05-06-2009, 06:40 PM   #45
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I have a concealed carry permit valid in most states, and yet there are places that ban concealed carry on their premises. hm, if I can't carry my weapon, you can't ride your toy.


A Segway is a WANT. It is not a "need."
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