Use of Personal Mobility Devices for Individuals with Disabilities
The updated American with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility guidelines/standards for state and local governments as well post secondary institutions (Title II) and businesses/ entities that are open to the public (Title III) should consider the impact of a new category… “other power- driven mobility devices”. There has been an increase in the number and types of mobility devices in use by individuals with physical disabilities and/or medical conditions that affect mobility.
Additionally, there has been an increase in the number of individuals who have temporary medical conditions that result in limited/compromised mobility who may implement the use of “other power-driven mobility devices” for use in navigating the campus while temporarily impaired. It is prudent to consider key issues regarding general policies, appropriate use, storage, and responsibility for such devices.
Muhlenberg College recognized that the use of personal mobility devices can play an important role in facilitating the independence of individuals with certain types of disabilities.
Department of Justice Definitions and Terminology
The DOJ (Department of Justice) proposed regulatory changes via the NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking) related to Mobility Devices are as follows:
“Other power driven mobility device means any of a large range of devices powered by batteries, fuel, or other engines—whether or not designed solely for use by individuals with mobility impairments—that are used by individuals with mobility impairments for the purpose of locomotion, including golf cars, bicycles, electronic personal assistance mobility devices (EPAMD’s), or any mobility aid designed to operate in areas without defined pedestrian routes.”
“Wheelchair means a device designed solely for use by an individual with a mobility impairment for the primary purpose of locomotion in typical indoor and outdoor pedestrian areas. A wheelchair may be manually operated or power-driven.”
Muhlenberg College Policy on Single- User, Personal Mobility Devices
Use of a single-user, personal mobility device must be approved through the Office of Disability Services and be registered with Campus Safety including:
Name of individual operating unit
Make, type, and serial number of the device
Proof of insurance and/or liability, if appropriate
Designated/approved plan for parking and storage
Specifications and Identification
Only electric or battery powered mobility devices are permitted in or near College buildings. Gasoline powered mobility devices are NOT permitted in or near campus building
Mobility devices should be equipped with an audible warning device that will sound whenever the cart is placed in motion and/or be able to alert pedestrians that the device is approaching.
Muhlenberg College shall permit individuals with mobility impairments to use wheelchairs, scooters, or other similar devices designed for use by individuals with mobility impairments in any areas open to pedestrian use.
Muhlenberg College shall make reasonable and appropriate modifications in its policies, practices, and procedures to permit the use of single user, power-driven mobility devices by individuals with disabilities, unless the College can demonstrate that the use of the device is not reasonable or that its use will result in a fundamental alteration of the College’s service, program, or activity.
The operation of single–user, power-driven mobility devices should be permitted by individuals with disabilities when it is reasonable to assure access and participation in a service, program, or activity. The use of mobility devices is restricted to designated routes.
Use of a power-driven mobility device by an individual with a disability in specific campus venues normally prohibited to motorized devices shall be determined based on:
The dimensions, weight, and operating speed of the mobility device,
The risk of potential harm to others by the operation of the mobility device,
The ability of the College (student user) to safely stow the mobility device when not in use
Mobility Devices Parking
Parked devices in parking lots must display a valid permit. Parking is allowed only in specific areas and on hard, paved surfaces (e.g. asphalt, concrete, and brick). Devices are prohibited from parking on soft surfaces such as landscaping, unpaved surfaces, and natural covered areas to include areas covered by mulch, pine bark or straw
Mobility Devices are prohibited from blocking entrances to buildings, stairways, handicap ramps, or main thoroughfares
Mobility Devices are prohibited from parking on sidewalks in any way that blocks or restricts pedestrian traffic
Personal mobility devices should not be operated in a manner that may endanger its passenger, other individuals, or damage Muhlenberg College property. All devices must travel in the direction of the flow of traffic and obey all campus traffic regulations and signs. Pedestrians always have the right of way on campus sidewalks. University Police and/or Parking and Transportation Services will cite operators and departments for violations. Operators should not exceed speed limits for motorized devices & should reduce speed on walkways. In crowded areas, operators should slow speed and not ex ceed the speed of pedestrian traffic.
Personal Mobility Device users shall follow these “common courtesy” rules:
Always yield to pedestrians
Drive at an appropriate speed according to existing conditions, not to exceed the campus speed limit for all vehicles of 5 mph
Drive in an appropriate manner that does not interfere with pedestrians or campus facilities vehicular traffic
Do not ride in an acrobatic or stunting manner, i.e. activities causing one or more sets of wheels to leave the ground or other surfaces intended for pedestrian or vehicular travel
Do not ride on stairs; ramps, railings, vegetation, benches, tables, planters, or other surface not intended or approved for vehicular travel
Park device in pre-approved, designated areas on campus. Devices shall not be locked to trees, poles, handrails, buildings, fences, etc.