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Disney News - Advocates Fight Segway Ban at Florida Parks

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by DznyRulz, Oct 14, 2007.

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  1. DznyRulz

    DznyRulz I owe, I owe, it's off to work I go . . . to finan

    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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  3. merryweather20

    merryweather20 Mouseketeer

    This article disapoints me I wasn't aware using a wheelchair was "undignified"

  4. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN <font color=red>It's like combining the teacups wi Moderator

    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).
  5. ToriLammy

    ToriLammy <font color=3300FF>Proud mom of a computer wiz<br>

    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.
  6. livndisney

    livndisney DIS Veteran

  7. OneLittleSpark

    OneLittleSpark A Michaelmusophobia Sufferer (please don't hate me

    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 ;)).
  8. madenon

    madenon Member

    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.
  9. Schmeck

    Schmeck <font color=blue>Funny thing is now my 17 year old

    12 MPH? :eek: 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?
  10. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN <font color=red>It's like combining the teacups wi Moderator

    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.
  11. Gwinfred

    Gwinfred Earning My Ears

    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.
  12. Deb & Bill

    Deb & Bill DVC-Trivia Contest, Apr-2006: Honorable Mention

    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.
  13. BillSears

    BillSears Mouseketeer

    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.
  14. merryweather20

    merryweather20 Mouseketeer

    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.
  15. Gwinfred

    Gwinfred Earning My Ears

    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.
  16. Gwinfred

    Gwinfred Earning My Ears

    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.
  17. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN <font color=red>It's like combining the teacups wi Moderator

    The things you have brought up are red herrings too, though.

    An elete althlete in good shape may be able to sprint a short distance at 17 mph, but I don't believe the average American can run 12 mph for very long - unless they are being chased by a hungry bear;)

    The top speed that most scooters and power wheelchair can go is much slower than that.
    Most scooters have a top speed of 4-5 mph. The Pride Celebrity X is one of the newer (and speedier ones) and has a top speed per the manufacturer of 6 mph - not anywhere near 12.
    People complain all the time about the Disney park rental ones 'whizzing by' when they are actually set for about 2-3mph.

    Even when you talk about power wheelchairs, most sold are not able to go over 6 mph. And, just because they are capable of going that fast, doesn't mean they are programmed to go that fast; programming is not user changeable unless you also have a $300-400 optional program module, which insurance won't pay for. Here are some of the most common power wheelchairs:
    • Invacare TDX series, standard top speed of 6mph TruTrack package is optional on most TDX wheelchairs goes up to 7.5 mph, but it requires a lot of documentation to have insurance or medical programs pay for since it is more expensive. Most people get it for the ability to follow a straighter path on sloped surfaces, or because they need the heavier duty motor for bariatric (weight) though, not because it's faster.

    Maybe 12mph would be an important safety factor if you were crossing a busy street or trying to keep up with auto traffic. I don't think anyone needs to go up to 12mph in a park where there are few defined paths of travel and traffic consists of
    • a very few power wheelchairs that may have a top speed of 7.5 or an even fewer number at 8.5 mph
    • some scooters with a top speed of 6mph
    • many scooters with a top speed of 3-4 mph
    • many walkers who are cruising along at 2.5-3.5 mph
    • many people who are looking around, not really paying attention and frequently walk out in front of scooters and wheelchairs
    • small children who are excited and may dash away from their parents (and frequently do cross in front of the wheelchairs and scooters that are going much slower than 12mph.

    NOTE: My original post on speed did not say that I expected people with disabiliteis who wanted to use Segways would go 12mph or try to 'sneak' in with 'disguised' keys, just that was something Disney may be concerned about.
  18. Cheshire Figment

    Cheshire Figment <font color=red><marquee behavior=alternate>Friend

    I have a few comments here. Let's look at some speed numbers.

    2.0 MPH - This is the normal walking pace for most people visiting WDW. It is also the speed that WDW sets as maximum on the ECVs it rents to Guests. This can be a very reasonable speed as many users are paying more attention to the scenery and architecture than to the pedestrians around them.

    4.5 MPH - This is a very fast walking pace. You find it used by people from places like New Yorkwhere walking long distances quickly is common. It is also the normal maximum speed for many ECVs, including the off-site rentals. I will often drive my ECV at this speed when I am by myself in the parks. However, I am concentrating on the people around me, and in or near my path, and not sightseeing. I will not travel at this speed when I am with others or when I am in a crowded area.

    12.5 MPH - This is the maximum speed of a Segway with the "unlimited" (red) key. It is also the World Record speed for marathon runners. As mentioned earlier, the manufacturer of Segways has not asked for it to be certified as a medical device. If it is certified as a medical device, or Disney treats it as a medical device, then there could be no restriction on people bringing in ther own (or a rented) Segway.

    Even if Disney states the "green key" only, there is nothing to prevent people from playing games with the keys or having a red key in their pocket. And there are too many people around with a "me first" mentality to state that this will not happen.

    Guest Safety is instilled into Cast Members as the number one priority over everything else. Allowing Segway's into WDW will definitely be compromising Guest Safety. As long as they are not certified as medical devices they can be prohibited. Possibly there could be a justification on a case by case basis, but I am sure Disney does not want to open that can of worms.

    And Segways are not idiot-proof. At least with an ECV if you take your hands off the controls it will stop.
  19. Gwinfred

    Gwinfred Earning My Ears

    Well actually the top speed of a human is 27 mph, there are lots of people (albeit in good condition) that can run 12 mph for a very long distance.

    The top speed of a Bounder wheelchair is over 12 mph ( there are others ) but the point is top speed is irrelevant.

    What is relevant is behavior. People with disabilities visiting the park on segways would in all likelihood be with others afoot, wouldn't they be traveling at the same pace as their group?
  20. dizanimator

    dizanimator Has the Tag Fairy ever seen me?

    I think that the issue with the Segways might not with the people who use them at home and are good with using them. Those people would know how to safely move around other people and not crash into them often.
    The problem I can see is that once the Segways are allowed in the parks and used by people who don't work for Disney, what's to stop someone from renting them to people with no experience with them who would be more likely to cause problems with them? Sue already found places that will make a fast key in the slow color, so what would stop someone from using one in the parks, even if Disney did check the key color? Also, on a Segway, a person is taller than they are standing on the ground, how much less likely are they to see a child or person in a wheelchair, so I would think that accidents would be much more likely.
    I am not against those who are familiar with a Segway and comfortable using it having it in the parks. If it helps someone move around and enjoy their day at Disney, I think that would be wonderful. What I am against is the idea of someone who is not used to using one having one and bumping into me or someone else because that person is not familiar with it enough to watch where they are going while on it. Or even just making people get out of their way while rolling towards people, like the people who rent surrey bikes at the Boardwalk have done.
    I was on a Segway for a few minutes at EPCOT, and while I think it would be fun to have one and use it at the parks (and for me it would not be a necessary mobility device) I would not be comfortable trying it in the parks. Since wheelchairs and ECVs can be rented to use in the parks, if Segways could be used in the parks too, I could really see that some people would want to rent them and those people could cause problems. With the ADA, Disney cannot ask for proof of disability in order to have a Segway in the park, so there is no easy way to tell who is safe to use a Segway in a crowd, and who really should have more experience before using one around a lot of people.
  21. Gwinfred

    Gwinfred Earning My Ears

    Which law which that protect the rights of people with disabilities contains language which would lead you to this conclusion?
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