Court wants Disneyland to justify Segway ban with study

Posted Thursday, July 19, 2012 10:38 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Disneyland lets visitors ride a tram, a monorail, a trolley and spinning teacups — but they can't use a Segway, even if they are disabled. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals told the theme park Wednesday that it was time "The Happiest Place on Earth" studied the idea.

Read more from The LA Times.

Thursday, July 19, 2012 10:42 AM

How about, "Allowing vehicles that go 12.5 mph in a crowd of people is a bad idea." There's your defense. Not only that, but you can't easily gauge the capability of the "driver." I've been on Segways several times, and on one tour group, I was amazed that even after three hours, some people just couldn't operate the thing.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012 10:51 AM

Here are two more points the defense can use:

Point 1

Point 2

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Thursday, July 19, 2012 10:51 AM

Exactly. These things are not safe in massive park crowds, and there is a reason why there were attendance thresholds at Epcot above which Segways could not be used by Cast Members (who had to take a day-long training course to be able to use one) in the park when they were available (that privilege was taken away last year). Yes, the argument can be made that owners of Segways are likely to have enough experience to navigate light to moderate crowds, but then you get into situations where attendance can change above and below a safe threshold throughout the day. What do you do with the Segway user then, outfit them with a radio device or call their cellphone to tell them they have to switch to a wheelchair or scooter every few hours? It is a big can that should not be opened.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012 11:43 AM

Why would riding a Segway be easier for a disable person than riding a scooter? If you can't walk around the park all day, what makes standing on and operating a Segway a better option? I just don't get it.

When I take my Mom to Dollywood every so often, she rents a scooter because she gets tired just walking around the grocery story. I assume that standing on a Segway would tire her out just as easily.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012 2:27 PM

"As new devices become available, public accomodations must consider using or adopting them to help disabled guests have an experience more akin to that of the disabled" according to Chief Justice Alex Kozinski on this case.

With the Segway being out for a few years, and the potential of a Segway improving accessibility, this couldn't be the first time this has came up. And, if it has, why is it on Disney's burden to be proving ground. Do restaurants, shopping malls, etc. allow disabled guests to use Segways?

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Thursday, July 19, 2012 2:31 PM

I've been rammed way too often by scooters at DLR on a busy day, and I can imagine what it would be like if they allowed a vehicle that has the capability of going three times as fast as the scooters.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012 2:37 PM

The problem is that, because we're talking about issues of disabilities and equality, the judge wants to apply different standards to the reach of the law than would apply to other areas. If we talk about driving a car, the law doesn't allow you to drive a monster truck on city streets. Why? Because it isn't safe.

I think he's wrong, and his opinion that it's not about access does not seem aligned with the spirit of the law, which is about access. Disabled or not, a Segway has no place in a busy theme park.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012 7:55 PM

This is a interesting issue.

Segways are not medical devices and have never been marketed as such. They were not designed to replace wheelchairs or scooters. They are not FDA approved for medical use. Why is there even an argument that Disneyland should have to accommodate them?

To complicate matters, a lot of cities have banned Segways on public sidewalks, but some have made exceptions for disabled users (Boston just last summer).

Segways are more like bicycles than mobility scooters. There is always going to be an inherent danger to using them in crowded areas.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012 9:45 PM

They should just cut out the middle man, convert the handicap lots in to upcharge parking, and let disabled people drive their cars right in to the park.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012 10:49 PM

The only study that Disney would need to do is to walk the Judge through Fantasyland on a moderately crowded afternoon. Experiencing a few strollers to the shin and ECV's to the heels there and the bottleneck around Tarzan's Treehouse to Pirates should be enough to convince any skeptic that Segway's in the park are a bad idea. Not to mention the complete gridlock of wall to wall bodies that happens nightly peak season between the Main Street Hub and the Rivers of America as people go from fireworks to Fantasmic and vice-versa.

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Friday, July 20, 2012 12:42 AM

Why not just show this video as the reason.

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Friday, July 20, 2012 1:34 AM

Why is the court looking at this? Because it's the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and they are famous for this kind of stuff. They have a reputation to uphold.

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Friday, July 20, 2012 3:42 AM

^^What's the point of the video? I kept waiting for the part where an out-of-control segway plows through those masses of people, but it never happened.

Now I'm bummed.

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Friday, July 20, 2012 4:37 AM

Jeff said:

The problem is that, because we're talking about issues of disabilities and equality, the judge wants to apply different standards to the reach of the law than would apply to other areas. If we talk about driving a car, the law doesn't allow you to drive a monster truck on city streets. Why? Because it isn't safe.

To me that's not the issue. The issue is that Disneyland is a private business that no citizen, disabled or not, is forced to enter. The company has every right to control potentially hazardous machines operated on its property.

This is a slippery slope, and is very similar to issues the disabled have with riding roller coasters and flat rides, in my opinion. Courts cannot legislate life to be fair, period.

Of course, this is a typically nonsensical "issue" that only the 9th Circuit would entertain.

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Friday, July 20, 2012 9:56 AM

bjames said:
Courts cannot legislate life to be fair, period.

Yeah, the Supreme Court kind of proved that a few weeks ago.

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Friday, July 20, 2012 11:05 AM

bjames said:
The issue is that Disneyland is a private business that no citizen, disabled or not, is forced to enter.

That doesn't matter at all. ADA requires they make reasonable accommodations, and I agree with it. That said, this isn't reasonable, Segways are not recognized as medical devices, and they create what I would say is an obvious danger in crowds.

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Friday, July 20, 2012 1:08 PM

Ninth Circuit is known for radical decisions. But they hail from the land of fruits and nuts so what does anyone expect?

In the end, is this decision that big of a deal? The park does a study which presumably will show the dangers and the Segway ban remains in place.

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Friday, July 20, 2012 2:10 PM

Why should the park have to spend their own money to prove the status quo?

Shouldn't those wanting to use segways be forced to pay for a study to show that it would be safe?

Last edited by Juggalotus, Friday, July 20, 2012 2:10 PM
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Friday, July 20, 2012 3:38 PM

Its not unusual for someone to have to spend money to prove that they have complied with the law. The ADA requires businesses to make reasonable modifications to allow disabled guests to get the same enjoyment as non-disabled guests. The court didn't require Disney to allow Segways. Just make a determination if there are actual risks not just speculated risks. The court noted that a recent Department of Justice regulation under the ADA discussed Segways at length. The law doesn't require that a business make any and all possible accommmodations; only reasonable ones. Issue is whether excluding Segways is reasonable. If it is, Disney can exclude them.

Would you have applied your same reasoning to motorized wheel chairs/scooters when they first became widespread? Should a business have been required to spend its own money to prove the status quo of not using them? Should those seeking to use them have been required to pay to prove they were safe?

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