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Definition of "Personal Mobility Device" - One person's lack of compassion does not equal another's comfort.
One person's lack of comprehension does not equal another's consent.
fixx
fixx
Definition of "Personal Mobility Device"
Though the following entry greatly involves my dispute with the FSA, this post should be of interest to ANYBODY with two legs, regardless of their degree of disability or even if they do not have a disability at all!

It appears that my recent dispute with the "Fred Spirit Alliance" has raised the issue as to what constitutes a "Personal Mobility Device" as opposed to say a (faster) motorcycle or (less controllable) skateboard. I should not have to do such legal research in order to protect my rights, but hey, this is America, right?

It has been suggested to me today by an FSG staff member that in order to ride a "Personal Mobility Device" at a festival such as FSG, that I would need to provide medical records documenting my condition to officials of FSA (The same organization of which one official posted some confidential medical details in his LJ). I've recently been informed that this requirement itself is a violation of the law as it constitutes an invasion of privacy.

It is also my understanding that the FSA has a much more narrow (read wheelchair) view of what constitutes a "Personal Mobility Device", while at the SAME TIME permitting non-handicapped people to ride bicycles! It doesn't take a rocket scientist or a handicapped rights attorney to see that this narrow view is biased and unfair. So I've just spent most of my day doing research into what qualifies as a PMD.

While laws certainly vary from state to state, it is becoming apparent that there is a classification of vehicle which is actually called a "Personal Mobility Device" and my readers should find the list very interesting:

1) Heading the list should certainly be the BICYCLE. Yes, the classic pedal powered bicycle qualifies as a "Personal Mobility Device" even though it is not the least bit modern or controversial. [not recommended for people with asthma]

2) Next up, the SEGWAY! Considered one of the SAFEST (and most expensive) 2 wheel personal mobility devices available, it meets all the safety criteria and in most places it is considered the equivalent of a bicycle and is permitted to be ridden anywhere a bicycle is permitted, including bike path and any roads where bicycles are permitted. Very recently the manufacturer is trying to get the Segway special approval for use on sidewalks. Thought the reputation of the Segway makes me wonder why this is not already the case, I suspect that part of the resistance here stems from the possibly correct assumption that owners will ride them from the sidewalk into malls and stores.

3) MOST electric scooters! [edit: aka "electric kick-scooters"] Most, but *not* all, 2 wheel electric scooters also constitute "Personal Mobility Devices" providing that they meet the requirement of a maximum speed of 15 mph. I believe my older model Currie FS scooter tops out at about 12 mph. (not only is my Currie slower than newer models it ALSO has better brakes. Oh right, shut me down, mine STOPS too well!) It is very possible that a valid drivers license may be required in some states, but I've not looked into that as I already have a one.

[edit 3b) I've since become aware of yet another electric mutation that falls somewhere between the bicycle and the electric kick scooter. This link takes you to a PDF file detailing the "Federal Electric Bicycle Law"It is called the "low speed electric bicycle" and as such it sanely goes about twice as fast as my scooter and half as fast as a moped, having a max speed of about 20mph. Even if FSG could somehow ban little Currie brand scooters like mine, they'd have to allow these electrically assisted bikes. Crazy huh?]

4) Believe it or not, those micro-golf-cart like scooters that most of us related to the elderly and quasi-handicapped ALSO qualify and therefore are permitted on bike paths AND ROADS. (SCARY THOUGHT there! Imagine being late for work because you were having difficult safely passing one of those!) [It might help to point out that most states designate that to qualify as a PMD, the device must carry only one rider at a time. Golf carts would therefore not qualify]

5) Wheelchairs. It goes without saying that the classic manually powered wheelchair and all electrically powered familiar classic wheelchair designs are considered "Personal Mobility Devices" as well. What's offensive is that officials of a pantheist organization featuring DIVERSITY would attempt to impose standards for others based solely on what is most *familiar* to them.

In short, it is my contention that it is both unfair and illegal for the FSA to continue to insist that bicycles are OK at FSG (I would assume because they are human powered) and that "Personal Mobility Devices", such as electric scooters and Segways categorized legally as PMDs, are not permitted simply because they are not human powered. Even if they banned bicycles it would STILL be wrong simply because handicapped people would still be at a disadvantage in terms of "personal mobility" as compared to those blessed with better health

I am finding this campaign for fairness to be personally exhausting but I feel that someone must show them the light. I'd really rather that someone not be me, but I'm sincerely afraid that turning the case over to the ADA could be very costly for the future of FSG, which is why I'm willing to express a tiny bit more patience before going down that particular road. I'd feel bad if the result was a yet more highly priced FSG event (to pay off legal fees) but if the FSG has become so inconsiderate to its members as to be unable to see how what it is doing is wrong then I suppose it will be necessary.

If any of my readership is still reading, and, like me, has hopes for a bright future for FSG, could you please try to drive this simple concept through the heads of the applicable board members before this gets really ugly?

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Comments
browneyedgirl65 From: browneyedgirl65 Date: July 14th, 2006 06:02 am (UTC) (Link)
I fucking hate segways and I hope they're never allowed on sidewalks. The fucker who rides one around here fucking nearly runs me down, and I've filed several complaints cos it's not like I can fucking hear him yell out "gangway" behind me, the rotting sodding bastard.

Aigh.

Ahem.

Anyway, the ADA is *Federal* legislation, and would of course supersede any silly restrictiosn the FSG might think of putting up. Also, the ADA very explicitly prohibits the requirement of "proof of disability" (I have minor issues with that, as basically anyone can show up with a dog and claim it as an assistant of some kind, but in the main I'm pursuaded that's not *too* much of an issue).

I don't have too much to add otherwise, though.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 19th, 2006 12:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Let me preface this by saying that I'm not trying to attack you in any way. I have chosen to remain anonymous because I don't want to be involved in this any more than as a source of information.

That having been said, I think you should know that FSA isn't covered by the ADA since it is a religious organization. It is incorporated as such and therefore is not required to adhere to the ADA.

Furthermore, the PMD sections of the ADA have to do with roads, not accessibility to events, buildings and the like.

Also, the ADA specifically says that a person can be required to show proof of their disablility.

Oh, and one more thing: To be in compliance with ADA, all FSA would have to do is to offer you some kind of assistance. In other words, if you said you wanted to bring your motorized scooter, FSA could say "No, but we'll give you rides in a golf cart." This would bring them into compliance.

For more information:
http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/q%26aeng02.htm

Specifically look at the section on public accommodations.
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fixx From: fixx Date: July 19th, 2006 09:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Furthermore, the PMD sections of the ADA have to do with roads, not accessibility to events, buildings and the like.

That's a VERY good point. And the "roads" at Ramblewood are not really "roads"... They are privately owned by Ramblewood, and yet people drive cars on them. There wasn't a single day that I did not see at least one car or one van or one truck working it way along those crowded paths. I had no trouble avoiding them on my little scooter.

Those cars.. Did you happen to notice what they were doing? Well much of the time the were people who had just arrive and were _driving_around_ and *looking* for a place to camp. Not looking where they were going. One of these days someone is going to drive over someone and you will say, "That guy who brought his scooter to stake out a camp site with had the right idea"

And in case you weren't one of the people I spoke to, that was the original first reason I brought it. I correctly guessed that the scooter would not only allow me to cover more ground faster than my car but a heck of a lot safer in terms of those around me when driving the car, and with less strain on my hips than if I were walking.

I had other plans for the scooter as well, such as the solar storage batteries. Like you, I did not assume people would be cool with it. But then I did not think I'd see a man on a Segway, another on a bicycle or anyone on Roller Skates.

And in case you were not aware, the campground owner gave me permission the very first day to ride my scooter on his campground. If he were not authorized to grant this permission, why did he do it??

As I see it, if some non-staff people occasionally drive cars through FSG, and staffers constantly drive golf carts and bicycles, it stands to reason I should be able to ride an itty-bitty scooter.

Hey, for that matter, do you have ANY idea how many errands I ran for staffers while on my scooter? I don't know why I didn't think of that before? To think I had considered signing up for the staff next year. After all of this I can see that wouldn't go over very well. I'm some kind of scooter outlaw now. Oooh I'm bad, I drive a toy!

But now seriously. You are trying to tell me that the ADA only covers PMDs driven on roads??? I think you are mistaken there. Would you care to post me a link to that as well?
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