Scooters causing more lawsuits, accidents as Disney parks attendance grows

in Disney, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Entertainment, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Theme Parks, Travel, Walt Disney World

ECVs, Scooters causing more lawsuits, accidents as Disney theme parks attendance grows

Credit: Trip Advisor - Global Mobility Scooter

For some, scooters are a necessary means for maneuvering around the Walt Disney World Parks. However, as Disney theme park attendance continues to be on the rise, new reports show that more lawsuits and accidents related to Scooters and ECVs have followed.

$50 a day is the going rate for on-property scooter rental and for some guests, the increase of mobility the machines grant these visitors makes it more than worth it. However, according to a new report by the Orlando Sentinel, it was found that 11 lawsuits filed last year were all due to allegations revolving around injuries caused by scooters on Disney property. And according to an Orlando Sentinel analysis of Orange Circuit litigation, this is the highest number of scooter related incidents in the past five years. As we move into 2019, we’re already sitting at four lawsuits in connection with the use of scooters on Disney property.

Scooters
This photo of Gold Mobility Scooters is courtesy of TripAdvisor

One lawsuit currently waiting for trial in 2020 comes from Zachary Corn, a Walt Disney World visitors from Tennessee who says he was clipped by a scooter from behind while at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival in 2017.

“He never saw the guy coming,” said his attorney, David Heil, who has noticed more calls coming into his law firm dealing with scooters since around mid-2017 and into 2018.

Most Disney fans who visit the parks often can probably speak to the fact of having to dodge a scooter or EVC at one point or another. However, in some cases, it’s the scooter drivers who fall victim.

Eugene Teto, 62, said he felt like he was driving his scooter blind as he went backwards down the ramp to get off the Monorail. Still, he was following proper Disney protocol as theme park workers directed him, the Connecticut man said in court documents.

According to the lawsuit Eugene filed in 2018, it says ““Eugene felt his (scooter) begin to tip backwards, then–suddenly–it flipped violently backwards, slamming Eugene’s head onto the concrete platform and twisting his neck in a way that nature never intended.”

Gold Mobility Scooters
This photo of Gold Mobility Scooters is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Another victim, Susan Purell, who suffers from asthma, sat on her scooter she’d brought from home while on a Disney Bus. But when the bus driver quickly hit the gas at a yellow light in hopes of making a sharp turn, it resulted in her scooter tipping over, slamming her on the bus floor, according to her lawsuit.

“As soon as the driver brought the bus to a stop, passengers jumped up to try to assist Mrs. Purcell,” according to the lawsuit filed in March. “But Mrs. Purcell was stuck in the seat of her [scooter], and no one could free her or lift the [scooter] upright. Mrs. Purcell lay on the floor of the bus, helpless and stuck, until fire rescue finally arrived.”

Seeing these lawsuits, one might ask if a quick fix could be done. Possibly a regulation on their usage by park guests? This is possible. Although, it would require the U.S. Department of Justice’s approval.

As unfortunate as these situations have been for some, the scooters have been a “godsend” for others.

Craig Belke, 64, who worked physical jobs for decades on a volunteer fire department and with machinery at a school district in New Jersey used to be “in terrible agony” from his back pain, which generally came by the third day of his family Disney vacation.

Gold Mobility Scooters
This photo of Gold Mobility Scooters is courtesy of TripAdvisor

According to Orlando Sentinel, Belke hated the idea of using a wheel chair, which forced his wife to push him around, making him feel helpless. Although, Belke finally gave in and rented a scooter three years ago and now he won’t go to a theme park without one.

“It turned out to be one of the best trips I’ve ever had. I wasn’t in pain anymore,” Belke said.

Even with Belke’s happy ending, it still rings true that as Disney’s attendance keeps rising, so does these scooter related lawsuits telling of unfortunate tales, which for most, ruined their entire vacations.

According to Orlando Sentinel, Disney plans to widen paths at the front of Epcot and charge more for busier days in the hopes of easing congestion. But even with these attempts at a possible solution to the problem, in some circumstances, these incidents will more than likely occur again.

Source: Orlando Sentinel

45 Comments

  1. Cookie Wright

    Some of the problems arise from people misusing the scooters and not following the rules. Some people race on them through the crowds. No scooter should be able to move faster than a normal walking speed. Other problems arise when there are multiple adults on them or when adults allow young children to steer and blow the horn. I know there are legitimate reasons for their use, but regulations should be stressed, followed, and enforced when not followed. If people do not abide by the regulations, then they should no longer be allowed to rent scooters or bring their own into the park.

  2. Rebecca

    No one gets out of your way. They walk right in front of you hop over the front. Really you don’t mean to be angry but even when pushing a stroller people don’t care. Its them first you next.they dont even move when you say, excuse me.

    1. Kimi

      Rebecca, I fully agree with you. My daughter has a physical disability and has used both a wheelchair and a scooter. Either way we have issues with people consistently walking in front of her like they don’t notice her at all (note she is an adult herself). Extremely frustrating.

  3. Jana

    The solution is simple. Put lines in the road in the middle for scooters only so people don’t walk in that space.

    1. Fran S.

      As I said, people are walking and on their phones instead of watching where they are going.

    2. Jen F

      Easier said than done. People don’t even pay attention to how to stand in line. People get to Disney and truthfully believe they’ve entered a Fantasyland where no rules apply to them.

  4. Ken reid

    Force the scooter people to buy a insurance voucher to be in the park . Giving each individual circumstance it’s own liability. Not Disney.

  5. Bruce

    While I definitely see scooters as a method to provide an opportunity for visitors of all capabilities to enjoy Disney parks, the ‘drivers’ must also give consideration for all of us walkers and use a bit of common sense. During a recent midweek visit, we frequently encountered 2-3 scooters riding side by side in some of the narrowest pathways – showing no concern for the walkers or stroller pushing walkers. After witnessing a number of near misses in some of the most popular (crowded) areas of the parks, I could not help to wonder if the scooter drivers were given some sort of safety breifing or was there any “policing” of scooter drivers who bulled their way around the parks with little regard for others.

    1. Sicilian Gardener

      This was my first visit in 11 years and was shocked by the number of scooters last December 2018. Before our vacation, my daughter suggested I get a scooter, I said, no, when I need a break, I will take a break as I too experience pain with RA. Even with meds, I’m stiff and have limited mobility.

      However, as I wait for bus transportation, many for long periods of time, scooters and their entourage would show up and got to cut in line. I think this is rude and they should wait as others do.

      Additionally, I would see scooter people get up and take a seat on the bus. One scooter family had two scooters and about 20 people accompany them. All cut in line. That is ridiculous. Even if scooters have to cut, they can meet their entourage at the next location.

      Lastly, the busses are over-packed. This is too dangerous. There was a bus accident with injuries shortly after my visit but it didn’t make a lot of press. I think Disney owns Orlando. They can do better.

      1. Fran S.

        This isn’t how it is. We are not cutting in line, but are told by the bus drivers to do this including the party we are with. I have also been told by the bus drivers that we must take a seat and not stay on our scooters for safety. There have been times I had to wait for another bus because there wasn’t room for my scooter. I have even sent my family ahead of me. Believe me, it’s not an advantage to have a scooter.

        1. Sicilian Gardener

          Which is it, waited for a bus and sent family ahead or do as the bus driver demands which is entourage and scooter first.

          During the 8 days in Disney, never, ever, did I witness to a scooter or entourage that was left behind. Never.

  6. Fran S.

    I have had to use a scooter on our last 2 trips to WDW. A lot of people nowadays are walking through the parks looking at their cell phones instead of where they are going. They walk right in front of the scooters and sometimes narrowly miss getting hit because a scooter driver can’t stop no matter how slowly they are driving. With so many people using the Disney app while strolling through the parks it makes it impossible for people to watch where they are going.

  7. itsbvb

    Disney continues to build more resorts inviting thousands more to visit the already crowded parks. Now they want to charge higher gate fees to discourage crowded situations. Guests must pay for Disney’s greed ? They need to “put a lid on it”.

  8. marilynxa

    No. If you require insurance for one type of visitor, you must require it for all. Thus, every single visitor to Disney must buy insurance.

  9. will never happen abled bodied people dont care about lines

  10. Fran S.

    Just a side note to my comment. You happened to post photos of scooters from Gold Mobility Scooters in your article. They are the best company with the safest newest scooters around!. They don’t just drop off your scooter at your hotel, but actually deliver to you personally and explain all the features and make sure you know how to use it. I felt safe and confident on their scooters. Their extra features are far superior to other companies.

  11. Dean C

    First of all break them into 2 different categories 1. electronic wheelchairs and 2 scooters. As someone who has a disabled spouse and have to use Scooters at the park, I find one problem with them is that they are too fast, specifically the ones from outside vendors. The one time we rented a scooter from Disney we noticed two things, the first is they don not go very fast, and second they have 4 wheels. Most of the rented scooters have 3 wheels. 3 wheels on anything make them less steady. Also scooters rented and those electronic wheelchairs are not the same and cast members need to have a little more training on how to handle an electronic wheelchair with a low turning radius that are tall. They will fall if not secured properly and will fall over on steep inclines. you can put guidelines on scooters and still keep the electronic wheelchair rules the same as today.

  12. John L

    RIGHT !

  13. John L

    As one who absolutely needs an ECV to enjoy WDW find that many folks simply don’t pay attention when walking. They are either using their recording devices while walking and are oblivious to their surroundings. Children are left unattended and let to constantly run where ever and of course not looking. Now children are children and excitement takes over our sense (me included) but overall I feel courtesy and civility NO LONGER exist in our society. I can honestly say I NEVER misuse my ECV and take particular care when using it within the Parks. There have been times that I can be perfectly STOPPED do to the crowds and PEOPLE walk directly into me then give me the look, I’M STOPPED mind you. As for the transportation issues those are WDW rules, they have designated spots to board the busses and as SAFETY concerns Drivers want to load ECV user first. I am instructed to then take a seat once on which I am perfectly good with sitting on my ECV so not to take another seat, but once again those are not my rules. I further have NO problem with waiting on ride lines as long as they are handicapped accessible and I can make the turns. I am very respectful of others and unfortunately have to accept my limitations, this is just they way I was raised. I will continue to visit WDW regardless of the crowds and will take the most safety precautions when using my ECV, I forgot to mention I maintain a CDL license and have constantly taken Defensive Driving Courses so this comes as second nature. I would like to state that folks you’re on vacation, so relax, enjoy yourselves and your children, respect others as you would have them respect you and be an example.

  14. snekers999

    I don’t think this would fly with the ADA

  15. snekers999

    People are attacking those that use scooters, however everyone needs to be aware of their surroundings. It is not only the drivers of these scooters, but people pushing strollers who “plow” through as if they own the road or path. Families walking 5 or more across so people cannot go by. I have been hit byt strollers more than people in scooters.

  16. Susan

    Won’t work, there is a handicap lane coming out of Soarin the land pavilion. People walking that lane without handicap all the time. Doing a separate lane will not work.

  17. Prisila

    This is tough. Both of my parents who are getting up in age definitely get great use from these. We travel monthly up to Disney and they would not be able to walk all of the park without them. We have often encountered issues like these but most times by people who purposely run or try to beat the scooter coming their way. My niece who also uses one when we are there, suffers from MS and we had tried to use a regular wheelchair but when we noticed people purposely throwing themselves all over her to beat the crowds and stepping on her legs, the scooter was the best option. I think as a whole, we all need to be patient. Patient to wait for those who use scooters and those who use them have to equally be responsible and not take advantage. I don’t agree with raising prices and punishing those of us who have no choice but to rent them due to certain conditions, but that’s just Disney I guess. Lol.

    1. jflomaga

      agreed !

  18. Lisa Vasi

    We were at the Magic Kingdom in August, 2018. My daughter & I were standing outside of Casey’s waiting for the rest of our family. An older woman came zooming around the corner on her scooter- it appeared a teenage girl was seated sideways on her lap. As the took the turn, the scooter tipped over pinning both of them underneath. I’m sorry this happened & 911 was called quickly by Disney cast members but this particular accident could have been avoided.

    1. John

      ECVs’ are NOT to be a “DOUBLE” rider in this case that’s how folks who respect their use get “BAD raps”. I’m sure a lawsuit is pending !

  19. Linda Quible

    I also use a scooter due to chronic pain issues. I have had to leave venues because they were so crowded I couldn’t get through. I try to stay to the right when moving with the crowds walking. The bus thing is embarrassing to me, to be singled out to get loaded onto the bus first. The drivers ask that I take a seat. Only once have I been allowed to stay on my scooter with a seatbelt. People are rude and children run in front of me. These scooters don’t go fast nor do they stop on a dime. Our last trip was in the Fall 2017. We have decided that, as senior citizens, the crowds win. We probably will not go again.

  20. Rose

    At WDW, there are only two spots for ECV’s on each bus. I was there in February. I broke my ankle and was not allowed to walk. I chose to stay on my ECV so I would not take up a seat on the bus. Once, the darn thing started tipping badly due to the driver and how the turn was taken. We did have to wait on more than one occasion for the NEXT bus, my companions would not leave me. We all planned this trip together, months ago before my last minute accident- so we all stayed together following Disney’s rules. In the parks ppl are on their phones, excitingly scurrying to their next ride, and seem to think it doesn’t matter if they cut in front of the moving scooter to get past quicker. I did leave unscathed and as a careful person did not clip anyone- but it really was not a “magical” experience overall. I hope I NEVER will have to use an ECV or wheelchair (when I was on chemo) at WDW again!

    1. John

      It’s NOT YOU ! folks though excited are oblivious at times.

  21. Nina Denice Banish

    Same happens to my family. My son’s wheelchair is invisible it seems. They don’t pay attention and walk in front of him, when one woman walked into his chair she yelled ” they just run you over”. I got angry and told her “lady you walked in front of us INTO the wheelchair”

    1. John

      Walkers don’t realize that they can stop on a dime, not so with wheeled vehicles.

  22. Jim

    this happens all the time where the bus is full and you have to wait for another to get on with a scooter. I think most of you were tired when you see it and blame anyone you think is having an advantage. Having a scooter for most, is a need not a want.. If you think it is one, try using it for a day a see all the people that walk in front of you like your not there, and all the looks you get when you hit them when they do!!!

  23. Beth

    Maybe only people that truly need scooters should be allowed to use them. Over the years usage is way up. People that are just lazy should not be using them in the parks period.

    1. Rosa

      Agreed 100%. Those double strollers are another major hazard. Thought they were banned but saw many recently. Those parks get too crowded for such big vehicles as many of us know sometimes there is hardly walking space furthermore scooter and double stroller space. Disney better get geared up like mickey and the roadster racers for all those inevitable lawsuits when people get hurt. Such a shame.

  24. B Dennis

    I find the comments blaming walkers for not paying attention funny, especially when I think of the number of times my wife and/or I have been run into by scooter riders while we were standing still. Not walking, not stepping in front of a scooter, not looking at a cell phone, but literally standing still and get hit from behind by these poor scooter riders. Sorry, i have no sympathy for most of them. Disney can ban them for all I care and return to wheelchairs.

    1. John

      I understand your feelings, now you may understand how I feel when I’m stopped and walkers walk into me.

    2. Prisila

      Yes there are some who abuse and I find it annoying as well but this world is also full of a generation of people who dont have patience. They are always in a hurry to get somewhere and have no regard for anyone. If they see a scooter or even wheelchair, they try to run and cross in front instead of politely waiting or allowing the person to cross first. Hopefully the day won’t come where people who want to ban scooters will need to use one and no one is willing or is able to push them in a wheelchair. For my family, it is a physical impossibility to push our family members in a wheelchair for an entire vacation. It is also very uncomfortable for them at times to be stuck in a wheelchair with no padding all day. It isn’t easy for those of us who really need them or have family that depend on it to move about the park. You can’t punish everyone based on the actions of a few people. There are people with disease, fractured or broken bones, elderly folks, pregnant women, etc, who need it and use them with care. They want to enjoy vacation just as much as you do and have the right to do so. For 30 years that I have been visiting these parks, I am positive that Disney “banning scooters” wouldn’t even cross their mind. It is just completely unethical and nonsensical.

      1. John

        Very nicely said. You understand the plight of those who just may not have a choice.

  25. Loretta

    It is partially cause Disney allows to many people in park at once but the big thing isn’t so much the scooter but the people around you don’t care they shove around and step right in front of scooter cause it is so massive crowded and we people on scooter can’t go any faster then people in front of us so people just get in hurry and step right in front not giving any thought they do the same with wheelchairs so don’t blame us with scooter s it’s the unmannerly people and Disney over crowding the park and it takes the fun out of the whole thing just to get the dollar

  26. John

    I hear you ! but you know something I’ve gotten to the point when visiting the Parks I’m in NO HURRY. Being a DVC member and visiting so often I enjoy just the visit and watching people. If I make it on a particular ride, so be it. I become totally immersed in my vacation and refuse to let the “little stuff” to disturb me. That’s unless if I’m standing still in my scooter and you walk into me. LOl !

  27. It is quite normal to see rising traffic around the world but seeing looking at the Disney’s name there is really shocking. I hope they come out clean soon.

  28. Fran S.

    There wasn’t room for my scooter because there were 2 other scooters already on the bus. I sent my family ahead because they had FPs for FOP (I didn’t) and didn’t want them to miss their time. By the time I got to AK they were already in the que. I had all good intentions of walking on this trip after my knee replacement, but couldn’t once I got to WDW. Don’t be so quick to judge.

  29. John

    So wait, (no pun intended) you were patient, logical and enjoyed yourself ? Go figure, hope you still had a good rest of the day.

  30. Goyliath Metz

    I unironically advocate euthanizing those degenerates who choose to ride in scooters. If I was a cripple, I would rather die than ever step “wheel” in these parks. Most of these scooters are unhealthy morbidly obsess subhuman garbage who belong in the garbage (along with their families in most cases)

    1. John Lomaga

      Being a human I really can’t say what I would like to you. So you just have a nice day and grow up.

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