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Disney the segway and the ADA

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by tarkus, Feb 28, 2006.

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  1. tarkus

    tarkus I'm just here for the ride

    Hello, I'm a Florida resident who held a seasons pass so I could take "out of towners" to the Mouse, as is done down here.

    Through post 9/11, I dropped plenty of money at Disney World.

    My wife and I will no longer visit due to my recent spinal cord injury.
    Through hard work and the grace of God I am able to stand but not walk for any distance. My injury also makes sitting for long periods painful.

    My doctors at Mayo Clinic suggested a Segway as a mobility aid and it changed my life.

    Except Disney says NO SGWAYS despite what the protections provided by the ADA and others laws.

    The federal DOT, the only place a definition of a common wheelchair exists for legal purposes, has made a decision.

    The site does not allow me to post url's but a google search of FDOT SEGWAY will show the governments posititon.

    yet still a ban at Disney. It's sad that the "Happiest place " in the world sees no reason to follow the law.

    Epcot embraces new tech with their Segway Adventure but has no insight into the future.

    The number of disabled using the segway is growing.

    I would hope the mouse would a leader in new devices of "universal design" that can effect the lives of those with a mobility related problem.

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  3. Ambassador

    Ambassador New Member


    You may be an early-adopter of new technology. Perhaps you might advocate for Segway usage at your local or regional level. It is interesting that the Segway website marketing does not show any pedestrians or WC/ ECV anywhere nearby. http://www.segway.com/


    FHWA Researchers Study Segway® Riders

    Across the Nation, policymakers are looking for guidance on how to integrate a variety of sidewalk users and motorized and nonmotorized devices into the transportation system. In particular, policymakers want to know more about integration of the Segway® Human Transporter. This information is necessary given the possibility of Segways' greater use, as they are becoming a popular form of transportation for city tours and are carried in stores and shopping malls. To help provide this information, researchers at the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC) in McLean, VA, are conducting a two-part study to learn how Segway riders negotiate typical sidewalk conditions. Started in late 2005, both parts of the research are expected to be completed in summer 2006.

    FHWA researchers began the study by selecting 20 participants, including 10 people who had never operated a Segway and 10 experienced riders who own Segways and had ridden them at least once per week for the past year. For the first part of the study, all participants are riding Segways and navigating an obstacle course that simulates a real sidewalk. While the participants ride, the researchers collect information on several aspects of their performance, such as how they adjust their speed when they approach obstacles and pass other sidewalk users. The researchers then will analyze the data to compare the performances of the experienced and novice riders.

    During the second part of the study, which has not yet started, he participants will view a video of a Segway rider navigating sidewalk traffic. FHWA filmed the video at TFHRC, where students from the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology's mentorship program, along with FHWA employees and contractors, volunteered to walk, bike, and skateboard on a sidewalk along with a Segway rider. A camera mounted on the Segway rider's helmet recorded how the rider interacted with other sidewalk users and reacted to typical situations, such as low and high traffic volumes on the sidewalk, cross traffic, and loitering persons. After the study participants view the video, the researchers will ask them to rate the Segway rider's separation from the other sidewalk users, ability to pass other sidewalk users, and overall riding experience.

    The data from this part of the study will be analyzed to determine how experienced and novice Segway riders differ in their perceptions of the sidewalk ridability of a Segway and what factors influence these perceptions. The researchers are hoping that policymakers and engineers may be able to use the study results to better understand the behavior and requirements of Segway riders and develop pedestrian facilities that meet the needs of all users.

    This is FHWA's second study of Segway riders at TFHRC. For more information, contact:

    Ann Do
  4. SueM in MN

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

  5. tarkus

    tarkus I'm just here for the ride


    Thank you for posting the link from the FDOT.

    I fully understand the position of no Segs for the able bodied, but we are talking about folks with qualifying disabilities. The Segway holds the same position as a mobility scooter as far as the ADA is concerned.

    As far as working to get this new technology accepted, that's what I'm doing here.

    There is a great site for the disabled and the Segway. When I get my ears I'll post It.

    Thank you again for your response,
  6. tarkus

    tarkus I'm just here for the ride

    In fairness if you watch the videos on the Segway site you will see "Peds". Ok ,it's not N.Y.C. at rush hour I'll give you that !

    The answer is interesting as I ask about the ADA disabilities and the laws that govern and I read a story, a great research project, but off the mark of my point.

    It's about the ADA and what is "a public accommodation" under III

  7. Ambassador

    Ambassador New Member

    You may wish to contact Ann Do, and ask that your concerns, experience and advocacy to be included in the report. The report has the hallmarks of influence.
  8. tarkus

    tarkus I'm just here for the ride

    I will do !

    Thanks again,
  9. SueM in MN

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

    I know people with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) who have poor balance and love the Segway because it balances for them. There was a Segway users forum for people with disabilities that discussed a lot of these access issues. It used to be a public forum and I read it because it was interesting. I'm not sure why, but soon after I found it, it became a private forum.

    I think the article that Ambassador posted was pertinent (maybe not directly to your point), but a lot of places passed bans on the use of Segways on roads and on sidewalks soon after they came out. Probably mostly out of fear of the unknown. Until policymakers get some comfort level with them (which is what Ambassador's article was about), there won't be any place to ride them, whether or not the person using it has a disability.
    I do remember one of Disney's defenses was that because the Segway was not licensed as a mobility device, it didn't fall uner the ADA. It would be interesting to find out what their actual fears/concerns are, since they have a lot of experience with Segway use in the parks by well trained users and also novice users in the Segway tours. My gut feeling is that it's more to do with other factors (ie, storage while people are in rides, places to charge them and the inevitable companies that will spring up to rent them to guests for use in the parks with little/no training).
  10. tarkus

    tarkus I'm just here for the ride

    The site you refer to is DRAFT with a .cc after is now public again. Sorry for working around the url thing.

    The powers to be at Disney know all about the ADA ,where Segway fits and what Federal Govs. position as to what "FDA approval" means as far as the ADA.

    And at some point they will comply, they will have know choice, it's the law.

    Just thought they would be more cutting edge as they have always been in the forefront on these things in the past.

    And thanks again for the open discussion on this.

    Have a Good night,
  11. Schmeck

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

    If they could keep the Segways from going at top speed, which is way too fast for a place like WDW, I don't see why everyone wouldn't be allowed to use them if they wanted to?

    I can see it being a huge safety issue though - Segways are fast, much faster than the ECVs I've seen in use at WDW, and some people will abuse that speed. They depend on a battery pack to keep the machine balanced, and if that battery gets very low, won't the whole thing get very unstable? With an ECV, the whole thing isn't going to fall over when the battery dies, it's just going to stop. But if your Segway battery gets low, what are you going to do?
  12. tarkus

    tarkus I'm just here for the ride

    As a rule those with a disability are not know to be reckless, although I do tend to agree that the general population could be a problem.

    The result would be the same as if a power chair, some of those will go 6 mph, stroller or just people being reckless.

    Ejection from the park.

    The speed of a segway can be controlled to a max of 4,6 or 11.5 mph buy the key used to start it.

    The person with a disability checks in at guest services, leaves all key except the 4 or 6 mph key and pick up on the way out.

    Of course a small charge would apply.

    As far as the battery or danger of a fall the Seg has a warning that gives ample time to get off and a 20 mile range.

    A search of Segway deaths/injuries is almost nill. Injuries to others is impossible to find.

    you can fall off crutches or a walker or out of a wheelchair, all non FDA devices that have the same protections as the Segway.

    This is not about the able bodied on Segways at WDW, it's about the Segway at it's protections under the ADA.

    All have a safe day so you may avoid a chair !

  13. pooh4me

    pooh4me New Member

    My husband who is 70 years old and has very bad knees and myself, just returned from a two week stay at Fort Wilderness,he has owned a Segway for a year. We were disappointed when we found out that private Segways could not be used in the parks,so we did not bring our Segway with us.Disney must be considering changing some of these restrictions because we could of used it at Fort Wilderness.The "Safety Precautions For Carts and Other Recreational Activities" sheet that was given us when we checked in lists the use of Segways as acceptable on sidewalks,multi-purpose paths and exercise trails.The Segway is listed as a electric personal assistive mobility device.I hope this is a good sign.My husband is a member of Draft and the Segway has made a difference in both of our lives,it allows him to go for walks with me and our Chocolate Lab,which we both love.It would be wonderful if Disney allowed personal Segways in the Parks,but I do understand their consern. Any motorized vehicle can be dangerous.I was in the British streets back by the stage and had turned to go back to the main path in Epcot when four of Disneys ECV's came around the corner all riding abreast forcing everyone off the road.The EVC's can be dangerous in the wrong hands too. :worried: We all have to work to find a way to allow the use of Segways, possibly with some form of certification as to handling ability and a doctors ceritification as to medical need. If we all work together maybe we can accomplish this. :grouphug: :woohoo:
  14. BillSears

    BillSears New Member

    I was wondering if part of the problem with the Segway is that able bodied people also use it? I believe that Disney is not allowed to ask for any type of proof of disability because of the ADA. So if they allow anyone to use a Segway they'd be forced to allow eveyone to use it. There is a certain stigma to wheelchairs and ECVs that probably reduce the number of people who would use them just to prevent walking, however the Segway would not have this stigma attached to it.

    I'm trying to picture a very crowded day in the park with even 5% of the people using Segways. The extra speed, the additional space needed to store riderless Segways, the lack of precise control in crowds and the traffic flow problems all need to be taken into consideration.

    I believe Disney is just trying to avoid the day when a significant percentage of people may want to use the Segway. It's sort of like not allowing bicycles in the park. Bikes do make it easier to get around but would cause a huge problem.

    I guess the biggest problem is how do you limit the number of Segways once you allow people to bring them into the parks?
  15. tarkus

    tarkus I'm just here for the ride

    At least it's nice to hear that Ft. Wilderness allows them.

    I'll keep that in mind as it's a nice resort !

    I too am a member af draft and as you can see I try to present the facts about the Segway and the ADA.

    Disney knows a lot about Segways. They have a big fleet for both rental & business use.

    I believe in time that Disney , and to be fair other attractions, will comply with the law.

    Happy Trails to you,
  16. tarkus

    tarkus I'm just here for the ride

    You make many valid points. The biggest is that you are not required to disclose your disability per ADA.

    Yes, you could always have a "cheater", but if you require a big handicap sticker, as I use , on the Seg you would get little of that.

    If are are going to speak of the ADA than use of a Segway is fully protected, and WDW is required to comply, under the law.

    Thats the letter of the law. No FDA approval etc. Not required.

    Disney finds ways to accomodate wheelchairs , strollers (some two seaters) and power chairs/scooters.

    All take up far more space than a Segway.

    As far as the percentage of the population in the park on any given day, how many Segways do you see on the streets?

    Very few and thats not about to change anytime soon. It's a device that has a small niche.

    And one of the bigger ones is the disabled.

    My bet is on any given day there would be a hand full at best.

    I like WDW, like I said in my first post we came for years. I just don't understand how or why they would disregard the law. And it is the law.

    Hope your day is going well,
  17. BillSears

    BillSears New Member


    Yep I agree that there should be some way of allowing a Segway in. I'm just trying to figure out how to work around the problems.

    Maybe they can require a special GAC that you can get that would allow Segways only for those with the card. You still wouldn't have to verify disability but you would have to ask for one. That might work.

    Oh one thing I did notice above. You mentioned Fort Wilderness as a "nice resort". I wanted to make sure you weren't thinking of Wilderness Lodge. Fort Wilderness is the camp grounds. Just a clarification in case you decide to book a room at Wilderness Lodge.

    I hope Disney finds a way to accommidate your needs. Everyone should be allowed to enjoy WDW in thier own way.
  18. tarkus

    tarkus I'm just here for the ride


    I agree. I don't see such a big issue, for me anyway, to disclose or have certification in order the help the progress of new technology.

    It's just that the laws are there and this should not be so hard to get done.

    The horse people were not happy with the car way back when, but I digress !

  19. Talking Hands

    Talking Hands <font color=purple><b>|,,|/</b> DEAF DISNEY LOVER<

    Well it shouldn't be an issue if people that have disabilities brought their own. Disney doesn't have to rent them. Probably a good idea if they don't. Like Power Wheelchairs.
    Disney has to weigh the safety of the able bodied to the accessibility for those with disabilities. And sometimes the two conflict unfortunately.
  20. tarkus

    tarkus I'm just here for the ride

    I'm with you, private owners only.

    I think Disney already rents scooters.

    No conflict, just the law.

    Enjoy your afternoon,
  21. heatherfeather24

    heatherfeather24 New Member

    I'm curious as to which provisions of the ADA that you are relying on. I agree with you that it should be the law, but as a lawyer, I don't understand the ADA to be that cut and dried on mobility devicies. Just looking to become more informed . . .

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