Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) rules regarding Segway usage
Following, is a summary of the federally regulated ADA requirements regarding Wheelchairs, Mobility Aids and Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices (with each reference to the Segway PT highlighted like this). To download or read the complete Title II Final ADA Ruling Facts Sheet (in another window) click here.
People with mobility, circulatory, respiratory, or neurological disabilities use many kinds of devices for mobility. Some use walkers, canes, crutches, or braces. Some use manual or power wheelchairs or electric scooters. In addition, advances in technology have given rise to new devices, such as Segways®,that some people with disabilities use as mobility devices, including many veterans injured while serving in the military. And more advanced devices will inevitably be invented, providing more mobility options for people with disabilities.
This publication is designed to help State and local governments and businesses and non-profit organizations that serve the public understand how the new rules for mobility devices apply to them. These rules went into effect on March 15, 2011.
Covered entities must also allow people with disabilities who use other types of power-driven mobility devices into their facilities, unless a particular type of device cannot be accommodated because of legitimate safety requirements. Where legitimate safety requirements bar accommodation for a particular type of device, the covered entity must provide the service it offers in alternate ways if possible.
In recent years, some people with mobility disabilities have begun using less traditional mobility devices such as golf cars or Segways®.These devices are called "other power-driven mobility device" (OPDMD) in the rule. OPDMD is defined in the new rules as "any mobility device powered by batteries, fuel, or other engines… that is used by individuals with mobility disabilities for the purpose of locomotion, including golf cars, electronic personal assistance mobility devices… such as the Segway® PT, or any mobility device designed to operate in areas without defined pedestrian routes, but that is not a wheelchair". When an OPDMD is being used by a person with a mobility disability, different rules apply under the ADA than when it is being used by a person without a disability
People with disabilities have the right to choose whatever mobility device best suits their needs. For example, someone may choose to use a manual wheelchair rather than a power wheelchair because it enables her to maintain her upper body strength. Similarly, someone who is able to stand may choose to use a Segway® rather than a manual wheelchair because of the health benefits gained by standing. A facility may be required to allow a type of device that is generally prohibited when being used by someone without a disability when it is being used by a person who needs it because of a mobility disability. For example, if golf cars are generally prohibited in a park, the park may be required to allow a golf car when it is being used because of a person's mobility disability, unless there is a legitimate safety reason that it cannot be accommodated.
Based on these assessment factors, the Department of Justice expects that devices such as Segways can be accommodated in most circumstances. The Department also expects that, in most circumstances, people with disabilities using ATVs and other combustion engine-driven devices may be prohibited indoors and in outdoor areas with heavy pedestrian traffic.
Ongoing staff training is essential to ensure that people with disabilities who use OPDMDs for mobility are not turned away or treated inappropriately. Training should include instruction on the types of OPDMDs that can be accommodated, the rules for obtaining credible assurance that the device is being used because of a disability, and the rules for operation of the devices within the facility.