Discussion in 'The DIS Unplugged Podcast' started by jcb, Mar 25, 2009.
Have you listened to the discussions on past episodes of the podcast?
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I'll take the snarky high road... cause on the high road I am known as King Snarky.
I agree with WDW that allowing the general public to ride segways unregulated through the parks is a bad idea. Further, segways in their off the shelf form are a lousy transportation device for the disabled. WDW is very accommodating, in ways both seen and unseen... asking folks to not use a segway in a crowded pedestrian environment makes sense to anyone that has rode a segway and been in the parks when it is very crowded. You don't have to agree with me, and I am not going list facts and figures, or further this debate. You are trolling for disagreement, or a heated discussion. You do not ask logical questions, nor make poignant comments. I am sure JCB will keep us up to date with the legal details.
I challenge all the anti-Segway people to prove any pedestrian related accidents involving a Segway. Mobility Scooter (ECV) accidents involving pedestrians are numerous(including deaths) but they are allowed in WDW.
To those who say you cannot stop a Segway quickly, your wrong! They can stop so fast it's amazing. Go to you local Segway dealer and test ride one before you make unproven claims.
For me personally, it's not being "anti-segway." I am just very offended by all the talk about WDW "violating the ADA." That is just not true and very sad! WDW goes about and beyond the ADA. I dearly love WDW! That would not be possible if it were not for the care and attention they put into accessiblity. As I've posted before....I have day to day frustrations related to my disability, and WDW makes those frustrations disappear.
The fact that the ADA does not require FDA approval for mobility devices, does not mean that WDW is violating the ADA. If WDW was required to allow any "other powered mobility devices," that opens the door to cars, motorcycles, go-carts, etc.. Aditionally, the Segway is a spinoff of the IBOT Mobility Systems. The reason that the Segway was first to market is that the IBOT was required to go through FDA trials. Why does the FDA (a federal government agency) require approval for mobility devices, when the ADA (a law written by the same federal government) allows any "other powered mobility devices" which have not been the FDA trials? That part makes no sense to me. If the IBOT had to go through FDA trials, and the Segway did not, why should the Segway be allowed under the ADA? If "anything goes," then why does the government even have FDA trials for wheelchairs?
WDW provides wheelchairs and ECV's to accomodate the needs of disabled guests. Since they do provide the ECV's and wheelchairs.....how is WDW "violating the ADA?" ANYONE who can balance on a Segway, and also sit in a ride vehicle without special seating and posture supports, can sit on an ECV!
During the March 25, 2009 "DIS Unplugged" podcast, Kevin and John spoke of a man who has modified a Segway to function as a wheelchair. WDW allows him to use it in the parks. This shows that WDW is sensitive to the needs of disabled guests, and will allow reasonable accomodations to fulfill special needs.
Another part of this that I find offensive is post on disability communities by supporters of the lawsuit with pictures of Military Men on Segways chasing Mickey and Minnie around the hub on Main Street USA, with machine guns. The picture is captioned "D-Day Invasion June 6, 2011." I do not understand the meaning of the caption, by the picture offends me very much. Additionally, if the issue was just about allowing Segways in the parks for disabled mobility, then why is the group also asking for a financial award from WDW.
Again to clarify..... I am not against Segways used in public places. I just have very strong and passionate feelings about this lawsuit. It is totally unfair to WDW. They fo a fantastic job with accessiblity, and accomodations of a wide range of disabilities....and they are getting paid back with "a slap in the face." The silly lawsuit makes me very sad.
That was very well stated. I had not heard of the website you mentioned.
I seem to recall that the florida federal court was to hold a hearing on the settlement this week. I will try to find out what, if anything, happened, at the hearing when I can (hopefully this weekend). Sometimes it takes a bit of time before a transcript of the hearing is released. I'll update this thread when something is available.
So far as I have seen, the government has not released any proposed regulations on the ADA which would say whether and under what conditions Segways must be permitted in public areas such as malls and theme parks.
Thank you for your kind words. I PM'd you with the link to the website with the picture of the men with guns are chasing Mickey and Minnie. I dont know what "D-Day" is as stated in the caption of the picture. The date doesnt seem to have any meaning that I have found.
Looking forward to your future updates.
May the best MOUSE win!
I don't know either.
I suspect that the Segway is not an option for you.
WDW does allow virtually ANY other mobility device, everyday, without any verification of the device or the operators skill level.
You should do more research on the ADA before you make the kind of statements in the quote above.
What are you including in "virtually any". The mobility devices that Disney does allow are those that are safe to operate at the park for guests during regular hours. The Segway manual states that the user should wear a helmet. Given the speed and height of the wearer this isn't a surprise.
Disney allows canes, crutches, walkers, rollators, wheel-chairs, power chairs, special needs strollers and ECV's, none of these require the user to wear a helmet while operating them.
Segways are substantially different then actual mobility devices.
When I was in need of a new wheelchair, my parents and I did consider the IBOT 4000 Mobility System. The IBOT did not meet my seating needs. I use an Invacare TDXSP with Tilt in Space and posture supports to help me sit up straight.
While we were considering the IBOT, the sales rep explained the history of the IBOT and the Segway. My statements were partly based on that conversation. The rest of my statements are based on 12 years of learning about the ADA. I have also been asked to speak to Greyhound Adoption facilities about complying with the ADA. I find no basis for this lawsuit
A June 3, 2009 Associated Press article about the lawsuit states "Many people who can stand but can't easily walk prefer Segways to wheelchairs." The word "prefer" stands out to me. I read that as WANTING to use a Segway. To me, "Prefer" does not show an actual "need" for a Segway. That is just my opinion, based on what I have read.
The article also states that the plantiffs are asking that Disney pay for a $4000 family vacation for EACH of the plantiffs' families. If the issue is just allowing Segways into the parks, why is a free vacation part of the deal? The AP article is available on Google News.
On June 4, 2009, the Orlando Sentinel published the results of a public poll about the Segway issue at WDW. There are some great public comments in the article. The poll results are available on the Orlando Sentinal's website.
I am not against the SAFE use of Segways in public places. I personally feel WDW is being attacked for no valid reason. Here are the three questions I do not understand:
Are the Segway users able to operate an ECV?
Why are financial awards and vacations being saught by the group?
How is WDW "violating the ADA," when they are making wheelchairs and ECV's available to guests?
WDW makes REASONABLE accomodations for a very wide range of diabilities. I cannot find any fault or violation of the ADA. If anyone can give me a paragraph or section of the ADA that proves a basis for the lawsuit, please clarify it for me.
This needs to end! WDW does not deserve this lawsuit
Very good points
I posted the Orlando Sentinel article on my Facebook page, if anyone is interested.
I also sent the article to Pete.
On past episodes of the podcast, Kevin, Pete, and John have discussed people in the parks walking/running in front of wheelchairs, and cutting them off. The podcast crew has spoken repeatedly about how difficult it is to bring a wheelchair to a sudden stop when people cut them off.
This brought a question to my mind:
I have never ridden a Segway, but when I was learning to drive the IBOT 4000 Mobility System, the trainer told me that the IBOT needed 3-6 inches of clearance to come to a stop when in the Balance Function. Since Segway technology is based upon the IBOT, I have this question for Segway users in general.
If a child darts in front of a Segway, can the Segway come to a sudden stop?
BTW....I got my information reguarding the relationship between the IBOT 4000 and Segways from Independence Technologies, Inc.
I was finally able to look at the court filings in the Seqway lawsuit. Between May 6, the last time I looked, and now, there have been almost 50 filings. That means I probably wont be able to accurately cover everything that happened so I will simply try to hit the highlights.
The June hearing occurred as scheduled. More on this in a minute.
Before the hearing, the attorney generals of a number of states (Florida, Illinois, Tennessee, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia) filed a friend of the court brief urging the court to reject the settlement.
What will probably interest Dissers the most is that the state AGs brief cites (in a footnote) one of Petes recent news stories about Disney building resorts in other states as a basis for their concern about the impact of the settlement.
The AG's legal bjections are essentially the same as those of the U.S. Justice Department. State AGs enforce state laws, however, so they add that they are concerned the settlement would inhibit their ability or their citizens ability to sue for disability discrimination. In their mind, no settlement is better than the settlement under consideration. Their remaining objections are largely procedural.
As to what happened at the hearing, it is difficult to say because I dont have a transcript of the hearing, dont really want to read it and really dont want to pay for it. (Some of these transcripts can cost as much as a podcast cruise.) I can surmise some things the court filings.
Prior to the trial, WDW asked and was granted permission to bring to the hearing one Electronic Standard Vehicle (ESV), one Electronic Convenience Vehicle (ECV), one manual wheelchair, and two Segways. I dont know whether they did this or not. Court records reflect that WDW put on two witnesses, their safety official (Mr. Hale, mentioned previously); and another (Peter Axelson) who is apparently an expert on assistive and adaptive technology (if I have the right person).
The exhibits WDW offered included photos of the crowds at the Magic Kingdom and a 12/07 video of EPCOT, DHS and AK crowds (hey, maybe DD and I were on the video! the two photos WDW introduced appear at the end of this posting). Other exhibits included documentation about Segway safety and an article about suing Segway. It seems from this that WDWs tactic was to show it has a very sound basis for saying Segway use in the crowded parks at WDW would be unsafe.
Other exhibits were introduced by the folks objecting to the settlement (objectors). These included a video of the objectors using Segways at Universal and exhibits described on the list as training Segway for Disney employees (WDW objected to this exhibit), Disneyland Teamtalk 2-wheel vehicle for guest usage, and DVD of Noel Lee from Disney, California Hotel regarding Segway use. I'm not sure who all testified for the objectors.
As to when to expect a decision, it will probably be months. The parties have 30 days to submit what are called post-hearing briefs but that period doesnt start until they receive a transcript of the hearing. No telling when that will happen.
Please remember, I have no role in the lawsuit and I do not represent WDW or any of its companies. Im trying hard not to take sides. I just want to keep folks up to date on the developments in the lawsuit.
Here are the two photographs WDW offered as exhibits:
I don't know about that specific man, but I have looked at information on the internet about some of those Segways that have been modified to be ridden sitting down.
All of the ones I have seen involve transferring the weight of the user onto the mats, which have built in weight sensors as part of the balance sensing mechanism.
From page 67 of the pdf version of the Segway Getting Started Guide from the Segway website.
and from page 139:
and a stronger warning from page 68:
From what I understand the 'seat' adaptations put something on the mats to basically 'fool the Segway into thinking that the Rider Detect settings are depressed. So, they are actually a way to get around the safety feature that keeps the Segway from operating with someone not standing with 3 or more Rider Detect sensors.
From page 2 of the Segway manual I linked to above:
From page 75:
From the Segway "Getting Started Manual", page 21:
I don't know of any mobility devices that tell a person using it to wear a helmet.
From the same manual, page 55
From page 58
From page 61
many people with disabilities that limit their standing may have difficulty getting off in that short amount of time (specifically people with balance problems or amputees).
From page 63
from page 126
From reading the manual, it appears there are significant concerns even for experienced users.
But, if Disney did let them in, there would be nothing to stop off-site companies from renting Segways to anyone who wants to rent one.
Some of the inexperienced ECV drivers can be hazardous, but at least an ECV is stable (i.e. it is not going to fall down).
I rode a Segway last year for beginning lesson. It was fun and really cool, but you really need to have control over your weight shift, position of your feet, and your upright stance. It does stop quickly, but you then have to control yourself so that you don't restart it by accident. It doesn't just make you "standing height" - the one I rode made me far taller than the over-6' instructor who "spotted" me for safety. Getting on and off took some practice because the step up is a bit higher than you might expect, plus you must balance the Segway itself in the process.
My family and I got stuck in a fireworks crowd last December at the MK. It was really a bit frightening to see how tightly packed the crowds were and how jostled you were when the swarm started moving afterwards. Not to mention that it was dark and the curbs were hard to find unless you knew they were there.
People with strollers and wheelchairs were both dangerous and endangered. People were rushing up, thinking they saw a clear space just ahead of the person in front of them, only to find that the person was pushing a heavy-duty stroller. I saw one woman struggling with her motorized wheelchair because she didn't realize that there were trolley tracks and curbs on Main Street. I had to think that it would have been smart to find a safe spot to park until the crowds passed, but perhaps it was her first time at WDW. (I was across the sea of people, or I would have offered some assistance. She was all by herself.)
I can't imagine being on a Segway in that crowd. Even if the rider stopped before hitting the kid who stopped to pick up his Mickey ears, someone could bump him/her from behind, causing the Segway to start moving forward or backward or the rider to fall.
I also think that they should have put their resources towards validating a modified Segway for the disabled instead of filing a lawsuit against a disability-friendly company such as Disney.
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