The new ADA rules were officially published today

Discussion in 'The DIS Unplugged Podcast' started by Justin Jett, Jul 26, 2010.

  1. disneyholic family

    disneyholic family <font color=teal>Wayne always catches me<br><font

    Jan 31, 2002
    i am so completely shocked by what happened to you....but at the same time i'm not all that shocked.....i saw more than a few CMs this trip who were definitely capable of this sort of behavior......and at least one demonstrated behavior very similar to this (and i did give him a piece of my mind at the time - which is a dangerous thing to do these days....i don't have much mind left :) )..
    i was really every case i remember, it was younger CMs who seemed to fall short of the sort of behavior i've come to expect at WDW...

    as for segways, they're actually quite dangerous for the riders themselves as well....and with so many people around, not to mention strollers, it's not a safe environment for segways - sure some CMs use them, but on a limited basis...
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  3. CR ESQ.

    CR ESQ. Earning My Ears

    Jul 28, 2010

    This topic has become of great interest to me. Until recently I had no idea that people with disabilities were using Segways.

    I still don't where I stand on this

    I went to read the thread that Justin posted and I will say this. This Tarkus fellow has an agenda and he's not afraid to say what he thinks. He is also transparent as he has no problem giving his name in his signature line.

    I also noticed that his signature line says he uses voice recognition software that might have something to do with spelling errors and he may use it because of dexterity problems with his hands. Just a thought.

    Do I think he is harsh, yes but it's not the people on these boards he's trying to convince it's the DOJ and it seems like he and his people gained a lot of ground.

    What's interesting is as I was doing my due dillagance I searched both Justin and Tarkus on the other board and to my surprise they have been civil to each other for the most part. Yes I read every post.

    Like I said I've become obsessed with the topic.
    So obsessed that I took a Segway tour this weekend as I have never rode one. It's an amazing machine and very misunderstood . Many of the claims of not stopping fast, ability to stay still, speed, size etc. much to my surprise were incorrect.

    So that led me to the next step, looking at the specs. Of many power chairs and scooters.

    First thing I found out is many of the scooters on the market and in use are not what has been has been refered to as "approved devices". Not that it matters.

    Now when looking at powerchairs it's a totally different story. They all have been designed for persons with disabilities . What I did find striking is the variety available . Some are what you would expect. Others where another story.

    I found many chairs that can move as fast as a Segway and are much heavier . Bounder makes a chair that is like a truck. Very neat.

    Then came the hard part. Looking for saftey studies.

    What made it hard is that I didn't want to use any Blogs, opinion articles or web sites with a horse in the race. Yes I did some digging into DRAFT and expected to find another "Access Now" type of group but that's not what I found. They seem to be sincere in what they believe and have worked carefully to get their message to those that matter. They also objected to any financial gain to the plaintiffs in Ault v Disney.

    Yes it seems they were in contact with the plaintiffs attorney but in the end they were a hindrance not a help. The losers were the attorneys as they have made nothing along with Disney and DRAFT who had to spend to defend or object.

    So after many hours of searching I found very little. Many cities, San Francisco and DC just to name two have made exceptions to their laws to allow Segway use by those with disabilities.

    Now the strange part. They safety studies I found were from Canada !

    Along with the FDOT Guidence referenced earlier I found this from the GSA.

    What I can't find is a definitive study that's says the machine is and of itself a danger. So what we end up with is behavior.

    Are chairs like the Bounder and others put under speed restritions, I would think not. I would imagine that if a person was acting in a dangerious manner they would be asked to leave

    So after all that I still don't know where I stand on this personally , no pun intended

    But I do think that the burden of proof will a tough one.

    One thing I know for sure is that as someone stated before the disabled community is fractured . I saw it many times at ADA seminars. It didn't matter if it was closed captioning or service animals there was always a battle within the ranks.

    In closing one thing I will say is apathy runs deep within the disabled community . People complain on these forums and that's great but the people that make the laws don't come to forums for decision making .

    There was a NPRM on this almost two years ago. The comment period has been over for two years yet now people act as if this is new or can be changed by comment now. It can't.

    Unfortunatly there will be a test case that will decide this, depending on the place of public accommodations choice to let them in or test the rule.

    Right now there is an Advance Notice of an NPRM on four issues. Even if these don't efffect you directly you should comment when the time comes.

    You should check here often:

    Get the vote out, that's what the Segway supporters did.

    So after all this I have some legal ideas how this will go but......I still don't know personally where I stand.

    Now that was just one big circle.
    I need a hobby !!

    Have a safe evening,
  4. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

    Aug 23, 1999
    I am not aware of any time they did not.
    My DD has used a power wheelchair since 2000. We have not brought her power wheelchair to WDW, but she has used a manual wheelchair at WDW since she was a toddler in 1987.
    From our first trip with the wheelchair in 1987, I saw people in power wheelchairs at WDW.
    Maybe we have just been lucky to live in places that are accepting, but I first met someone who used a power wheelchair in 1974 and he had no problems with acceptance or fear. His problems were the same problems we faced with DD's manual wheelchair:
    - stairs
    - lack of ramps
    - narrow doorways
    - inaccessible bathrooms
    - inaccessible transportation.

    From our first trip to WDW, we found everything to be pretty accessible and they have improved each year. The main difficulties we found were difficulty on transferring and some of the bathrooms not being accessible.
    WDW has made lots of improvements over the years and now have many attractions with wheelchair accessible ride cars.
    No, I have been on these boards since 1999, searching out wheelchair and ECV threads and I can truthfully say I have not.
    There are some individual posters who complain about how fast people go on ECVs (not power wheelchairs) and some people who complain about guests that the don't think are 'disabled' who they see using ECVs.

    I have also ridden a Segway. I have taken the WDW Epcot Segway tour 3 times and all 3 times someone wiped out enough to fall off - mostly just bumps and skinned knees, but still accidents. This was in World Showcase when it was closed and after an hour of class time spent riding inside.
    Besides the 'wipe outs', there were several Segways that got away from the rider, mostly going down hills when they picked up speed too quickly and the rider did not know what to do. That would have been very dangerous if it had been in an area that was open with guests.
    There was also one couple who keep taking their hands off the controls to take pictures while they were moving, even though we had all been told that both hands needed to remain on the Segway at all times and that we were only to take pictures when we were off.

    NOW, I am not saying that experienced users will have these problems, but if/once Segways are allowed in the parks, I do think that there will be off-site companies that rent them, the same as off-site companies currently rent ECVs.
    I'm curious what you mean by this.
    You will not usually find anything about approval in the specs or marketing for the power wheelchairs and ECVs. Some include it as a marketing point, especially the ECVs, but most do not. So, just because it's not in the specs doesn't mean it's not FDA approved.
    If they are being sold as a medical device, they all have to go through the FDA approval process, so there is no point in including it.

    For some, it is a LONG process; I think it took 3 years for the iBot wheelchair to be approved. Because it had a lot of 'novel' designs, the manufacturer had to prove that it was safe and effective. The FDA approval also comes up with lists of people who should not use the device. Here is a link to the FDA summary page about the final approval for the iBot.
    You will find information about the approval process for each power wheelchair or ECV by doing a search here.
    It's not the easiest process, but if you enter the name of one of the 'big players' in power wheelchairs or ECVs in the APPLICANT NAME, you will get a list of their products and can follow the link to find out when it was submitted for approval and when the final approval came.
    The biggest players for power wheelchairs and ECVs in the US are Pride and Invacare. Sunrise Medical (also listed as Quickie) and Permobile are other power wheelchair companies.
    Searching for Pride, brings up a list of their products; this is a link to the approval for one of their ECVs, the Victory XL (it was an update of an earlier model, and was approved quickly).
    So, ECVs also have to meet a large number of safety guidelines to be approved, including how quickly they stop, how well they deal with electrical interference, how stable they are when used according to directions.
    ECVs and power wheelchairs are aimed at and designed for different markets. People who use ECVs can generally walk, at least short distances, don't need any special seating modifications and have the ability to get on and off without much difficulty, plus have the strength and dexterity to operate the controls.
    The original FDA approval for ECVs would list the people who they are not approved for (since ECVs have been around for a long time, the majority of them just say "essentially equivalent" on the approval, meaning they are not different than other devices in that class of devices).

    Those who need power wheelchairs generally have more complex disabilities and more complex needs than those who use ECVs. Some users are similar to ECV users, but don't have the ability to use the ECV control and need a joystick. Those people often get the less expensive, less complex power wheelchairs (like the Hoverounds you see on TV commercials).
    Some users have MUCH more complex needs in terms of their ability to control the wheelchair, positioning needs, seating. The more complex the needs, the more complex the wheelchair. My DD's power wheelchair could be controlled with a simple joystick, a specialized 'goalpost' joystick, or even by a mouth switch or head touch switch if that was what she needed.
    All of these things are subject to FDA approval for how they operates, safety, etc.
    The Bounder gets brought up a lot in defense of Segway's speed, but it is kind of a red herring. Yes, it exists, but the company is a very small player in a fairly small field.
    The majority of power wheelchairs sold are in the slower speed group, not the fastest. And, even the fastest ones may not be SET to go that fast. My DD's has a top speed of 7.5 miles per hour, but we needed some of the other items (in her case, a feature called TruTrack) that came bundled with the speed. In order to get that, we had to provide documentation about exactly why she needed these features.
    Power wheelchairs like my DD's have something called the controller, which is actually a computer that has certain parameters set, like how fast the wheelchair accelerates when the joystick is activated - I think hers has 8 different parameters in each program and she has 4 separate programs. For example, if we are somewhere that is busy and requires a slow speed, we have program 1, which is set with a top speed of 60% of full (so 4.5 mph). She can control the speed by how far she pushes the joystick away from center position. In addition to that, there is a reostat knob that can be set to full speed for that program (so 4.5 mph) all the way down to hardly moving. That reostat works on all the programs.
    Her fastest program is set with a maximum speed of 85% of full (so 6.375 mph).
    From what we have been told by medical equipment people, this is fairly typical for how the settings are done, so just knowing a chair is CAPABLE of going that fast doesn't mean it CAN go that fast.
    Businesses DO have the ability to tell someone to slow down or even to leave if they continue to operate in an unsafe manner.
    The hardest part of safety studies is that none have been done in anywhere equivalent to WDW.
    Even the different WDW parks are very different from each other. MK is a very different place than EPCOT, in terms of the number of people, age/size of people and how congested it gets.
    There is one other piece besides behavior.
    The Segway was not designed for people with disabilities; it was designed for able bodied people who can get on and off without assistance and can operate the controls with both hands. The website and manuals do mention many times that a helmet should be worn at all times when the Segway is being operated. You will not find an ECV or power wheelchair manual that gives that advice. If my DD's power wheelchair loses power, it will just stop, it won't dump her off.
    If a Segway loses power, the user has 10 seconds to either come to a safe stop or step off. If they don't the Segway will fall over and the rider will fall off. That is a problem with something with only 2 wheels.
    The Segway "Getting Started" Manual does state:
    "The Segway PT has not been designed, tested or approved as a medical device. You must be able to step on and off the Segway PT unassisted, which requires physical abilities similar to ascending and descending stairs without assistance, and without holding the handrail."

    Some people have done 'work-arounds' like outfitting the Segway with things like seats. But, some of those modifications bypass safety devices - like the ones designed to not let the machine move if someone is not standing on the platform.
    It would be nice if the company could come up with a version of the Segway that is designed for people with disabilities, without compromising safety - but it would probably not be the same 2 wheeled device it is now.

    Having ridden a Segway, I can understand why someone with a disability would want to ride something like that. I can also see where it would be safe in some pedestrian environments (like shopping malls, or even zoos that I have been at, where people are generally moving in the same direction and it is not as congested as WDW).

    But, I am not sure that a place like WDW is a good place, with a lot of congestion and many children and people who are paying more attention to their surroundings than to who and what is around them.
  5. Justin Jett

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

    Feb 27, 2008
    Hi Sue,


    Sorry for being slow on posting here folks, but I've been away, getting etiquette lessons from Jimmy Leonard. ;)

    Belle, I want you to know that I am truly sorry and saddened to hear about your experience, and will write you a full response sometime in the next few days.

    Sue, you are fantastic at what you do.
  6. CR ESQ.

    CR ESQ. Earning My Ears

    Jul 28, 2010
    Thanks Sue and Justin,

    Thanks for the info.

    I should have been more specific, like the post wasn't long enough lol, with power chairs it was simple to find info on FDA approval. Either on the websites or a phone call made it became obvious that virtually all are FDA approved.

    With scooters not all were as forthcoming.
    The big players had no problem with info it was either in the adds or with a fax or email. Then anytime they would say they can get insurance to cover the cost no point in continuing. No know there business.

    I'm referring to many other scooters you see. Walmart, Pep Boys etc all had devices the contained little info. Companies didn't return calls etc. From my observation they all had markings that would lead one to believe they were made overseas. Based on that I assume there was no FDA approval.

    I checked into this only because I live in an over 55 community and see many scooters. I asked a few where they bought them and was surprised places like Pep Boys came up many times. Usually from those that went out of pocket to pay for them.

    Others scooter companies, we have all heard the names, made the info available if asked. Email and telephone .

    So that's what I meant.

    Safety studies I don't know what they prove.
    A lot of variables as you say.
    I think that the problem is that the Segway seems to have a use by people that can't walk long distances but can still walk or step up, not by a person that has to be placed on the thing.

    There is a growing population of people aging that could stand and walk some but not a distance. A large part of the scooter crowd could possibly use a Segway.

    Thats why I still don't know. Not enough info for me to make a judgement.

    As far as the ADA, it is and was meant to be a changing set of rules. Over the years the courts picked apart the ADA, hence the restoration act.

    Segway aside when I look at the new set of proposed changes I can't believe that some of this isn't already covered.

    Thanks again for the info, my wife told me to make my self useful and cut the grass so.........

    Have a safe day,
  7. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

    Aug 23, 1999
    If a ‘motorized-something' is being sold as a mobility device for people with disabilities, it does need to have FDA approval. It doesn’t matter where it was made; if it is being sold in the US for that purpose, it needs to be approved by the FDA.

    I looked on the Walmart website for scooters and found lots. Some of them are from familiar companies, some are not. That doesn’t really mean anything though - one ‘problem’ that comes up is that some companies sell items under different brand names.

    If an item is not sold to be used by people with disabilities, someone with a disability might use it, but since it’s not sold for that use, it would not need ADA approval.

    I have never figured out who makes the WDW ECVs, but they are made for use by people with disabilities, so they would have been thru the FDA process.

    Pep Boys, I’m not sure what they sell since they don’t have them on their website, but if they are made for people with disabilities, they would also go thru the FDA.

    My personal opinion is that Disney is concerned about the possibility of ‘off-site rental companies’ renting Segways to inexperienced users, people without disabilities using them and also all the logistics of how do you deal with Segways - where do you park them? How do CMs move them if they need to? What about the extra height? What about someone riding that high in a park with small children, who will be below their line of sight?

    Since none of us are in charge of Disney, we can only guess and we have no power to actually DO anything, so it’s kind of a moot point. But, maybe will help other readers understand or think a bit more.
  8. Justin Jett

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

    Feb 27, 2008
  9. jcb

    jcb always emerging from hibernation

    Apr 28, 2007
    The final rules (that were announced July 26, 2010) were published in the federal register today. This means that with some exceptions, they take effect March 15, 2011.

    The primary exception is for changes in rules about how hotels (etc.) are required to reserve accessible rooms. Some new construction/alteration standards take effect on March 15, 2012.
  10. cm8

    cm8 <font color=blue>Half of the time we're rushing ar

    Nov 20, 2009
    cool, thanks for the link!:thumbsup2
  11. dburg30

    dburg30 Ferb, I know what we're going to do today! Yes, I

    Jun 15, 2007
    I dont frequent this area often, I've never listened to a full podcast, but I've had to check out a couple of the posts here recently, and while many times I tend to play devil's advocate as far as "rude CM's" saying "hey they are humans, they make mistakes", well, no way in heck I can do this here. The shear thought that the word "hours" was mentioned here disgusts me beyond words. I'm so sorry you had to go thru this (I understand the post I quoted is a friend and not the person).

    I tend to overlook 'unfriendly' CM's but I'm starting to think differently about it now.

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