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Old 06-03-2009, 09:42 PM   #1
P.I. Squirrel
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Update: Segways at WDW

From The Orlando Sentinel:

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Disney World ban on Segways faces another challenge
In an Orlando courtroom this morning, disability-rights advocates are seeking to have a Disney-negotiated settlement blocked
Jason Garcia | Sentinel Staff Writer
5:10 PM EDT, June 3, 2009


Walt Disney World's ban on Segways is facing a new challenge.

Disability-rights advocates on Wednesday sought to persuade a federal judge to reject a proposed settlement between Disney and three disabled people that would allow Disney to continue prohibiting the two-wheeled scooters inside its theme parks in Orlando and Anaheim, Calif.

Critics say the ban and the settlement preserving it unfairly discriminate against disabled people who prefer to move around on the upright Segways rather than seated on scooters or wheelchairs.

"The objection really is to make sure that people with disabilities have the right to use the technology that helps them participate most fully in the activities of daily life," said Chris Black, spokeswoman for an organization known as Disability Rights Advocates for Technology, or DRAFT, which raises money to donate Segways to disabled U.S. military veterans.

The original class-action lawsuit, filed by a man and a woman from Illinois and a woman from Iowa, was initially dismissed in early 2008 but resurrected after the lawyers for the three disabled people reworked their complaint.

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, Disney would continue to bar Segways at its theme parks and would be released from future legal claims arising from the ban. The company would instead have to develop and deploy 15 of its own four-wheeled, upright scooters for guests disabled guests to use in its parks.

The company demonstrated one of the devices — an "electronic standing device," or ESV — during Wednesday's court hearing. Disney says it has built 26 of the vehicles, which look much like the sit-down scooters typically used at Disney World — except these models have a standing backrest instead of a seat.

Also as part of the settlement, Disney would pay the original plaintiffs' attorney fees — likely to be between $70,000 and $185,000 — and pay the three individuals $4,000 each, which, according to the terms, "may be applied by them toward a one-week stay for a family of four" at Disney World.

Disney itself sells guided Segway tours in Epcot and its Fort Wilderness campground, and some of its employees use the devices. But the resort says allowing "unrestricted" use of Segways — which require users to constantly balance them to keep them still, and which can travel faster than 10 mph — would create safety hazards for other guests.

The Disney ESVs travel at much slower speeds and are easier to stop than Segways. They also have longer-lasting batteries that can fuel a full day of movement throughout a theme park, though they require a wider turning radius.

"Our focus is on maintaining a safe environment for all guests and cast members while providing access for guests with disabilities," Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger said.

But opponents argue that the settlement terms violate the federal Americans With Disabilities Act and would unfairly bind other disabled people who do not believe Disney's ESVs are suitable substitutes for Segways.

They also object to Disney's plans to charge guests to rent the ESVs. Disney currently charges $45 a day, plus a $100 security deposit for the vehicle and a $20 security deposit for the key.

Black, the DRAFT spokeswoman, said ESVs can't replace Segways because users are likely to be less confident or comfortable being forced to use an unfamiliar device rather than their own vehicle.

Other individuals and organizations have also objected to the settlement, including the U.S. Department of Justice and a coalition of 23 attorneys general — including Florida Attorney General and likely 2010 Republican nominee for governor Bill McCollum.
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Old 06-03-2009, 10:38 PM   #2
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Thanks for the update.
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Old 06-04-2009, 06:15 AM   #3
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I'm really against people using Segways in crowded places - and Disney is right to be concerned that it is a safety hazard to have them being used in the parks. I'm glad that they came to a settlement, and I'm getting a bit sick and tired of people screaming 'discrimination' when they don't get something, even when it's based on safety issues. I believe first and foremost that we all have the right to be safe, and then all the other stuff gets weighed in. No one else has the right to something if it makes someone else less safe.
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Old 06-04-2009, 11:33 AM   #4
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I'm sorry the people who brought a lawsuit are getting a dime. Sorry, but I agree 100% with Disney on this one. They will have no way of knowing if someone using the Segway is trained to use it, will have no way of enforcing an age limit, and WILL have problems with safety issues. I have had numerous instances of being run into by people who are new ECV drivers and once had a lady knock off and break my feeding pump as she drove forward quickly into my power wheelchair. What if someone runs over a small child or hurts another guest, then who is liable? Disney would be as they allowed a guest into their parks using such a device. Those of us who use wheelchairs know how frequently someone will cut us off or jump in front of us and we have to be able to stop on a dime to prevent an accident. A Segway which is travelling much faster has the potential to do much more damage if there were to be an accident. How do they intend to secure a Segway on a bus? Disney isn't discriminating here- they're allowing ALL guests with disabilities to enter and enjoy their parks. I'm sure someone can tolerate being in a w/c vs. standing in a Segway during their visit, just as some tolerate using an ECV during their visit who normally wouldn't need one during their daily life and as such, have to adjust to a different means of mobility. Disney shouldn't have to build and supply a standing-type four wheel device either, nor should it be provided for free. No one has a "right" to such a device. I'm soooo tired of entitlement mentalities. ---Kathy
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Old 06-04-2009, 04:04 PM   #5
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I held off on saying anything because I wasn't sure which direction this thread will go.

I was a CM when the original decision was made and I support it 100%. I had an opportunity to use a Segway, they are not easy to use. Perhaps this is just ignorance on my part, but I honestly hav ea hard time seeing how a Segway could be successfully used by somebody with a mobility disability. They require good mgross and fine motor control and if you get tired or relax the wrong way you could end up losing control of it. I would think this would make them less than ideal for somebody with a mobility disability.

In the end, the convenience of one guest cannot impact the safety of another. If you have a service dog that is out of control we have every right to tell you to remove the dog from property. Well, Segways are much harder to control than ECVs. People have enough problem controlling ECVs which do not go nearly as fast or require nearly the same amount of control as Segways. I lost count of the number of people (guest and cast alike) I witnessed injured by ECVs when I worked there- myself included! I can't even imagine the kind of destruction an incompetent Segway user could cause.

I'm sorry, but these people need to put on their big kid pants and realize that you can't always get your way. There are many mobility options available at Disney or for rent off property that render Segway unnecessary and I wish the lawsuit would not have been allowed. I have a hard time believing these people are serious. Frankly, it sounds like they are after a quick buck.
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Old 06-04-2009, 06:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by article
Critics say the ban and the settlement preserving it unfairly discriminate against disabled people who prefer to move around on the upright Segways rather than seated on scooters or wheelchairs.
Not buying it. I'm a disabled person who would prefer to move around on my own feet - but I can't, for long distances/periods (such as touring a Disney theme park). I would actually prefer to move around on a motor scooter. Where's the lawsuit to require Disney to allow that? Where do I sign up? Heck, for that matter, I'd prefer to use an automobile.
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Old 06-04-2009, 06:48 PM   #7
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Segways are NOT approved mobility devices. the ADA does NOT protect them.

shopping carts, for example, are NOT approved mobility devices - disney has the right to say that a person must use a walker rather than a shopping cart. ATVs are NOT approved medical devices, nor are 2 wheel moped-type scooters. you notice these are also banned by Disney, because they are NOT medical devices.

I understand the desire to stand up rather than sit - I am short when standing, and during a wheelchair eval today (my first ever) I found out I will require a powerchair, as I can no longer operate a manual safely.

I get the emotion behind it, but I do not see how using a 4 wheel vehicle is somehow demeaning or less than a 2 wheel vehicle. I do not get the arguement, other than the cost...

Segways are NOT safe in a crowd, and that is all there is to it.
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Old 06-04-2009, 06:52 PM   #8
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I would love to be young, healthy and able to run and play like everyone else but for now am ecstatic with my blue bomber as she gets me places at speed I never imagined before. I cannot understand how Segways help a person but then again I said the same thing about seeing eye horses.
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Old 06-04-2009, 09:56 PM   #9
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That's it! If they allow those things in the park I am getting a service HORSE and ride it through the park. (It is the only why I would be able to see over someone standing up in one of those things). Maybe a nice Appy-Morgan horse, big enough to take the impact if one of those crashes into me. That same impact on me would be bad.

All joking aside, I think that lawsuit is silly. We don't always get what we want, just because we want it.
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:35 AM   #10
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Since Disney can not ask to see proof of a disability, what is to keep a bunch of healthy young 20 somethings from getting Segways (especially if Disney is required to offer them for free) and using them to get around in the parks?

Also the Segways that Disney currently uses for it's Segway tours go much slower than regular Segways. I've taken the Around the World on a Segeay tour twice and know how hard it is to avoid people who walk out in front of you. Regular Segways which go much faster would definitely be a menace in the park. Could you see some 20-30 y/o who has had too much to drink, trying to race them or trying to weave quickly in and out of the crowds? Most people think they are fun to ride, so I could definitely see healthy people getting them.
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Old 06-05-2009, 06:03 AM   #11
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if they want Segways protected, then their first step should be getting them as approved medical devices by the ADA/DOJ/insurance companies/someone!! THEN they can claim it must be protected.

I still don't get what is wrong with 4 wheeled standing devices - why would these be worse for the Segway users? Other than the fact they don't get exactly what they want?
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Old 06-05-2009, 02:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KPeveler View Post
if they want Segways protected, then their first step should be getting them as approved medical devices by the ADA/DOJ/insurance companies/someone!! THEN they can claim it must be protected.

I still don't get what is wrong with 4 wheeled standing devices - why would these be worse for the Segway users? Other than the fact they don't get exactly what they want?
Mobility devices do not require FDA approval to be covered under the ADA. Many scooters (ECV's) are not FDA approved. Neither are canes or crutches.

The 4-wheel standing device will not work for some Segway users. The hand controls are an issue for some as well as balance issues for others.

The unique design features of a Segway make it the best available product for a number of people with disabilities.
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Old 06-05-2009, 03:29 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Expert_Glider View Post
Mobility devices do not require FDA approval to be covered under the ADA. Many scooters (ECV's) are not FDA approved. Neither are canes or crutches.

The 4-wheel standing device will not work for some Segway users. The hand controls are an issue for some as well as balance issues for others.

The unique design features of a Segway make it the best available product for a number of people with disabilities.
If balance is an issue on a 4 wheel device, how is balance going to be improved on a 2 wheel Segway?
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Old 06-05-2009, 03:52 PM   #14
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The 4-wheel standing device will not work for some Segway users. The hand controls are an issue for some as well as balance issues for others.
I do not understand how balancing is better on 2 wheeled ones.

Also, I get that not everything works for all people. However, Segways as they are are unsafe for many of the people around them. Not only do they rock back and forth to maintain one position, which sounds like a nightmare in a mob, but they are difficult to maneuver for people who are not very good at using them. There is a reason why the people on them at Disney during tours have to wear helmets!

I also cannot imagine that theatres and shows would be easy for people with segways - i guess they would have to sit in normal seats, but do they park their segways outside and walk in?

Here is a question for people who know - can you move a Segway with minimal knowledge without being on it? Because PWCs and ECVs can, and CMs need to be able to move them...

Segways would not be able to be used for moving walkways, and i don't know how they handle very steep hills. Can a Segway go up the hill at IASW? What about the one at teh Land Pavilion? If they cannot, then they will have to be left at the bottom of the hill with the strollers - that cannot be good. SOMEONE will think it is fun to play on it.

I just don't see how they can be useful for so many things. They wont help with shows, i dont think they should be allowed in wheelchair view areas, since the point of them is so people in wheelchairs don't have to see over people in front of them, they cannot handle hills as well or very wet weather, they cannot go on moving walkways safely i would think, you have to transfer for everything... other than standing rather than sitting, i don't get how it is so great! perhaps someone who uses one for a disability can enlighten us.

Perhaps those who use them can get letters from drs, since they are not considered mobility devices so much as recreational devices, and allow their personally owned ones... but can you imagine a bunch of rentals from people who don't really need them, but always wanted to ride a Segway? There is a reason those tours are so popular!
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Old 06-05-2009, 05:59 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Expert_Glider View Post
Mobility devices do not require FDA approval to be covered under the ADA. Many scooters (ECV's) are not FDA approved. Neither are canes or crutches.

The 4-wheel standing device will not work for some Segway users. The hand controls are an issue for some as well as balance issues for others.

The unique design features of a Segway make it the best available product for a number of people with disabilities.
It would be the reverse for balance, if someone has trouble balancing on an ESV it will be worse on a Segway and could cause the rider sensors to malfunction. As for the hand controls they can do what everyone else does, without sueing Disney, find a safe alternative.

The unique design features might make it beneficial for a limited few, but these people are not the ones that sued. The line when they filed the suit was that wheel-chairs were demeaning, not what they needed or did not need.

I think I'm going to train an assistive snake and see how that goes over.
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