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Wheelchairs, Mobility Aids, and Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices -Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

posted Mar 10, 2015, 6:09 PM by Michael Braun

Assessment Factors

Reference: http://www.ada.gov/opdmd.htm

In deciding whether a particular type of OPDMD can be accommodated in a particular facility, the following factors must be considered:

  • the type, size, weight, dimensions, and speed of the device;
  • the facility's volume of pedestrian traffic (which may vary at different times of the day, week, month, or year);
  • the facility's design and operational characteristics (e.g., whether its business is conducted indoors or outdoors, its square footage, the density and placement of furniture and other stationary devices, and the availability of storage for the OPDMD if needed and requested by the user);
  • whether legitimate safety requirements (such as limiting speed to the pace of pedestrian traffic or prohibiting use on escalators) can be established to permit the safe operation of the OPDMD in the specific facility; and
  • whether the use of the OPDMD creates a substantial risk of serious harm to the immediate environment or natural or cultural resources, or poses a conflict with Federal land management laws and regulations.

It is important to understand that these assessment factors relate to an entire class of device type, not to how a person with a disability might operate the device. (See next topic for operational issues.) All types of devices powered by fuel or combustion engines, for example, may be excluded from indoor settings for health or environmental reasons, but may be deemed acceptable in some outdoor settings. Also, for safety reasons, larger electric devices such as golf cars may be excluded from narrow or crowded settings where there is no valid reason to exclude smaller electric devices like Segways®.

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.