Segway rules are now affecting iBOTS..

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by BillSears, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. BillSears

    BillSears DIS Veteran

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    The only time I've seen an iBOT was when they used to have one in Inoventions. It was pretty cool seeing it climb stairs and stand up on 2 wheels. But it looks like the Segway rules have turned the Ibot into a problem at WDW.

    Personally I'd just keep it on 4 wheels except for when I needed to reach something or maybe see over a crowd. But it looks like this guy routinely travels on 2 wheels.

    http://thedailydisney.com/blog/2009/11/high-tech-wheelchair-causes-disney-ruckus/

    Myron Rosner, a paraplegic, has a fancy, high-tech wheelchair that allows him to elevate on two wheels. But two wheels are too few for Disney.

    On Sunday, security guards at Animal Kingdom told Rosner his wheelchair violates the parks’ ban against Segways. He heard the same thing the day before at Epcot.

    “I’m sorry, but this is not a Segway,” said Rosner, 49, who was injured eight years ago in a construction accident. “It’s an approved medical device.”

    Unlike the Segway, where the rider stands up, Rosner sits in his wheelchair – but at a higher level so that he is eye-to-eye with other people.

    Rosner’s iBOT Mobility System is like a Transformer wheelchair that can ride on two or four wheels, climb up stairs or plow through sand.

    Rosner said he was told to convert it to four wheels or he would be asked to leave the park. He refused.

    “I’m not a dog. I don’t want to be on all fours,” Rosner said.

    Disney officials said Rosner was informed of the park policy against two-wheeled motorized contraptions but was allowed to stay in the parks. Rosner said he was harassed and followed by Disney employees.

    “The IBOT vehicle is allowed in the park,” said spokeswoman Zoraya Suarez. “To ensure the safety of our guests, we ask that they be on all four wheels while boarding attractions.”

    Rosner, who is mayor of North Miami Beach, owns one of the few hundred iBOTs that were manufactured by Johnson and Johnson until production was discontinued earlier this year. The company cited the wheelchair’s $30,000 price tag, low sales and the inability to get Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements for the chair as the reasons for its demise.

    Rosner said he, his wife, and children have been coming to Walt Disney World for years and his two-wheeled iBOT has never been a problem before.

    But in 2007, Disney instituted a policy prohibiting the Segways, contending their 10 mph speed and balancing problems created safety hazards for other guests. The ban was protested by activists for people with disabilities and resulted in a lawsuit.

    “I’m not going down on four wheels, no way,” Rosner said. “They’re trying to push me down and I’ve already been there.”
     
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  3. Hook's Girl

    Hook's Girl Mouseketeer

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    I really really really should not be replying to this thread because of the knowledge I have of this situation and my role in the company.

    Just please know that the news story is providing one side of this story and that things did not happen as the guest described. Please take his quotes with a grain of salt.

    I also believe that the policy states all two-wheeled vehicles and is not just a ban on segways.
     
  4. Cheshire Figment

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

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    As the article says, there have only been a few hundred of the Ibots manufactured and they have been discontinued.

    They are certified as medical devices, however. And as the Disney spokesperson said, they are allowed in the parks but they do request that the people use them in four wheel mode when boarding attractions.

    It seems as if there were some overzealous Security people involved.

    I think we will shortly find that the Ibots are permitted. Note also that it cannot be used when standing, the person must be seated.
     
  5. goofieslonglostsis

    goofieslonglostsis DIS Veteran

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    I bolded the last part, as I find that particularly interesting. Or better put; I find the reason behind the not allowed to used when standing interesting. Is it because they do not want the Ibot to be on 2 wheels? Is it because they do not want the person standing on an aid to avoid them being mistaken for segways by somebody who doesn't look too closely? Is it because of the height the person is reaching?

    Reason that is has me intrigued is because there are enough powerchairs around WDW that have an elevation option on them. A function I've seen folks use when for instance watching a parade and not being able to watch over the person in front of you. Simply elevate the seat and you can now see something else than somebodies butt. Is there a sliding scale?
     
  6. KPeveler

    KPeveler Moderator Moderator

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    I am getting a powerchair with elevation, and i plan on using it! there will be 6 wheels on the ground, but i will be taller whenever i need to be (like at food counters, etc).

    i think security was just being a little overzealous... i am pretty sure they cannot stop people from using any feature on an approved mobility device, like the iBot.

    I do understand, though, that they will want them to have all wheels on the ground when boarding the attractions...
     
  7. dclfun

    dclfun DIS Veteran

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    My Permobil has an elevating seat and I do use it during parades or to see over people in theaters if I'm in the back row. As a safety feature this chair only moves extremely slowly if the seat isn't fully down, so I or anyone else could not drive this chair with the seat up. The IBOT mentioned above elevates with the device then going forward on 2 wheels. My chair and others with seat elevators do not raise up on 2 wheels, hence the difference. I believe the statement above that we do not know the REAL story behind this man's issue, and I find his position to be one of extreme arrogance if he refused to comply. I also doubt he was harrassed throughout the parks. ---Kathy
     
  8. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    I also agree that there is probably a lot more to this story.
    I remember seeing the iBOT at Epcot and I actually have seen one moving around once at Mall of America. They do move while balanced on 2 wheels and are actually quite stable while on 2 wheels (that was one of the things that Johnson & Johnson had to prove to the FDA before it could be approved as a medical device). I can certainly see the reason for requiring iBOTs to be on 4 wheels while boarding attractions. They do kind of 'wobble' when on 2 wheels and they are much taller on 2 wheels, so it would not be as safe on 2 wheels.
     
  9. BillSears

    BillSears DIS Veteran

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    I agree, there is always more to the story then what is reported in the media. I also think this guy should have just set it down on 4 wheels when moving around.

    It's interesting to see the 2 wheels thing being enforced. I wonder if this would apply to me popping wheelies? I often will pop a wheelie to take pressure off of my back while waiting for things. Or I'll pop one to go up or down a curb. But I don't just ride around on 2 wheels or do it in crowds.
     
  10. seashoreCM

    seashoreCM All around nice guy.

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    Isn't the Segway an extension of the iBot technology? Invented by the same person, Dean Kamen?

    So one might liken a person using an iBot in the two wheeled elevated position as "a person in a wheelchair and on a Segway" in the same manner as a person standing on his own two feet might get up on a Segway.

    I have also seen a (n ordinary) Segway fitted with a (non-wheeled) chair making for what you might think of as a two wheeled non-stair climbing wheelchair.

    I have not seen ordinary wheelchairs or ECV's where the person sat up higher.
     
  11. goofieslonglostsis

    goofieslonglostsis DIS Veteran

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    Have a good look around you during parades, shows etc. You'ld be surprised! ;)
     
  12. fla4fun

    fla4fun DIS Veteran

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    I would have to agree that we haven't heard the entire story yet. The press here in Orlando loves to jump on anything that can even remotely be considered negative toward Disney (to the point that things that happen at off property hotels receive a headline of something happening at a Disney hotel, until you read the fine print). I don't understand why they want to bite the hand that feeds them - but that's what they do.

    I've never seen an iBot in action before (only photos) but someone posted that they appear a little wobbly when running on two wheels. While they may be perfectly stable in reality, I can understand if Disney wishes to enforce a four wheels to the ground while in motion policy. I would be less concerned about the person operating the chair than all of the clueless people around them. After all, how many posts do we read about clueless people running into regular wheelchairs and scooters, when the chair/scooter isn't even moving? Or walking across in front of (or sometimes over) a chair/scooter? Or even knocking people down who are walking, and just continuing on their merry way? :mad: People just don't pay attention!

    As technology advances, policies will have to be reviewed and amended to keep up. I think one day two wheel mobility devices will be allowed at Disney - but they just aren't to that stage yet.
     
  13. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    segway and iBOT were both invented by Dean Kamen and use some of the same basic balancing technology, but they are very different.

    You might, but the Segway is designed to travel all the time on 2 wheels and (even though it has safety mechanisms ) it relies on the actions of the driver and their skill in knowing how to drive it to keep it from tipping over.
    The iBOT was designed to be up on 2 wheels at times, but not all the time. The person using it on 2 wheels stays seated, just up. In order to pass the FDA(the federal organization that regulates medications and medical devices) J&J had to prove it was safe and effective. It appears a little unstable on 2 wheels, but does not rely on the skill of the driver to keep from falling over. It is full of redundent safety mechanisms that ensure it returns safely to the 'all wheels on ground mode' if something goes wrong.
    an important point with Segways fitted with seats is that they have none of the safeguards and safety features the iBOT has to keep them in control. If a Segway looses power or gets into a problem, the user has a 10 second window of time to get off and avoid the Segway losing the ability to stay up. The people using those seats are betting they won't get into that situation. Segways also have a safety mechanism built in that prevents them from being operated/moving unless someone is standing with both feet on the platform. The seats have a piece that rests on that platform and 'tricks' the safety mechanism into detecting someone standing there. This bypasses one of the most important safety features of the Segway.

    there are no ECVs with sears that can rise up, but power wheelchairs with elevating seats are not uncommon. Unless they are in the elevated mode, a power wheelchair that can elevate looks no different than a power wheelchair without that option. There are some small differences, but unless you know power wheelchairs very well, it's hard to tell the difference between my DD's power wheelchair and her friend's that is the same model but has elevator and tilt.
     
  14. OneLittleSpark

    OneLittleSpark A Michaelmusophobia Sufferer (please don't hate me

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    As others have said, I don't think we're hearing everything here. All of the Disney security CMs I've met have been perfectly curtious and treated me the same as any other Guest; I can't see any of them 'harrassing' a Guest just for using this fetaure on their chair. Also, I feel slightly insulted by his connection between a four wheeled chair user and a dog - I can understand if he'd rather be at eye-level than butt-level to others (we can all relate to that), but he doesn't have to knock other disabled people to make his point!

    I hope they don't stop us from popping wheelies, they're pretty useful sometimes! I often wheelie to make it smoother getting up and down bumps, onto and off rides, and over the tram tracks down Main Street (I got stuck in these once or twice when I was new at it, and I don't fancy risking that again!). Besides, they're fun :rotfl:!

    But seriously, I doubt Disney will object to pulling a wheelie in a manual chair. For a start, they're a fair bit lighter than power chairs, and if you lose control of a wheelie in a manual, you'll be more likely to hurt yourself than anyone else. Also, as Bill says, you're not going to go around on two wheels all the time, so there isn't as much percieved risk to others. It will probably remain the same as it always has been, for all Guests - if you're behaving in a way that might cause you or others harm, you'll be asked to stop or leave. Now we just have to define what counts as dangerous :rolleyes:
     
  15. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    If you can travel any distance in a manual wheelchair, you have some seriously strong arm muscles!!!
     
  16. Justin Jett

    Justin Jett <font color=darkorchid>I will do my Elvis impressi

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    As I recently posted in the Podcast forum:

    If the guy was using the IBOT in "balance mode" then it does indeed fall under the Segway ban.

    The man should have entered the park in "standard mode." The quoted statement “I’m not going down on four wheels, no way,” is purely a guest not following cast member instructions.

    The IBOT Manual states:

    "While driving in a noisy, sunny environment, the audible
    tones and the display are difficult to hear and see, which
    may result in an automatic transition. To avoid this
    occurrence, you may want to consider transitioning out
    of Balance Function into either 4-Wheel Function or
    Standard Function when the environment prevents you
    from hearing or seeing potential caution and warning
    signals on the UCP."

    "Never transition into or drive in Balance Function on
    wet, uneven, unstable or slippery surfaces.
    The iBOT® Mobility System uses friction to maintain its
    balance and could slip on some surfaces. Personal
    injury or death could result. Always transition and drive
    on dry, even, stable, and relatively level, slip-resistant
    surfaces."

    "Allow for 9.2 feet (2.8 meters) of braking distance
    when traveling at top speed in Balance Function.
    Balance Function requires a greater stopping distance
    than other functions. Braking without considering the
    required stopping distance could result in personal
    injury. Always be aware of the needed braking
    distance. Reduce speed in congested or confined
    areas."

    I am speaking from my own IBOT experiences in the summer of 2007
     
  17. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    Thanks, Justin. I was going to hunt out an owner's manual online when I got home because I suspected something like that.

    It's good to have the perspective if someone familiar with the device.
     
  18. Leajess99

    Leajess99 DIS Veteran

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    I've seen one at the Columbus Zoo before and the young man using it would only lift while stopped and viewing the animals. I thought it was neat but worried about the safety as small kids were running around. Wonder if it has ever been involved in an accidental incident with a child involved.
    It really is a neat seat and I believe this was probably a misunderstanding but for him to threaten to sue seems ridiculous to me.
     
  19. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    I wonder if his situation/lawsuit if he does one will try to 'roll in' Segway users too. His comment about 'being treated like a dog' when down on 4 wheels really harks back to the major reason given in the Segway lawsuit about why the people during wants to use the Segway instead of an ECV.

    The excerpt from the owner's manual that Justin posted reminded me of a favorite line from the movie Jurassic Park - "Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD. "

    if he was operating his ibot in a manner that was unsafe for conditions, stopping him was no different than stopping anyone else using a mobility device in any unsafe way.
     
  20. OneLittleSpark

    OneLittleSpark A Michaelmusophobia Sufferer (please don't hate me

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    :rotfl::rotfl::rotfl::rotfl::rotfl:

    Or any different from stopping someone on foot from doing anything dangerous. Hopefully this will calm down without Disney having to fight another lawsuit over it.
     
  21. Justin Jett

    Justin Jett <font color=darkorchid>I will do my Elvis impressi

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