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Orange County Parks (CA) excludes gas-powered mobility devices, as compared to electric-powered mobility devices for accessibility.

 

Orange County Parks assessments of permissible or non-permissible OPDMD

From Orange County Parks (California)
This excerpt includes just the "Definitions" and "Trail Assessments and Limitations" sections

ARROW See the complete ADA Accessibility Program online at Orange County Parks


Definitions:

Electric-powered mobility devices include:
any mobility device powered by batteries, including multiple passenger carts (three or four wheels), electronic personal assistance mobility devices (EPAMDs - such as the Segway PT), battery-powered bikes (two or three wheels) and single passenger scooters (three or four wheels).

Gas-powered mobility devices include:
any mobility device powered by a gas-fueled engine using natural gas, gasoline, diesel, synthetic or bio fuel or combination thereof, including all-terrain vehicles, carts (three or four wheels), off-road bikes (two or three wheels), motor scooters (two or three wheels), motor cycles (two wheels), tractors and vehicles (four wheels).

Tandem wheel device: A two, three or four-wheeled mobility device where the wheel alignment is parallel along one or more axles.

Inline wheel device: A two-wheeled mobility device where the wheel direction of travel are aligned in the same plane.

Assessments of permissible or non-permissible OPDMD

Gas-powered mobility devices are not permitted in parks, beaches, historic sites and open spaces of the County of Orange.

Justification: § 35.137 Mobility Devices Asessment Factors (iii, iv and v) Parks and open spaces possess significant natural and ecological conservation values that are to be managed to support a broad range of plant and animal populations. Federal land management laws and regulations (NCCP & HCP, Section 85.8.3 - #11), as well as conservation easements provisions (Conservation Easement, Schedule 5 - Inconsistent Uses within the Irvine Open Space Preserve) prohibit the use of motorized vehicles for recreational purposes on the land.

The exclusion of gas-powered mobility devices, as compared to electric-powered mobility devices, is due to the substantial risk of serious harm to the immediate environment from the fire danger created by the heat of the gas-fired engine. In addition, engine noise of gas powered vehicles produces a significant zone of disturbance to the activities of native wildlife and can negatively impact the visitor experience. The Orange County General Plan envisioned the regional park system would provide relief from an increasingly urban envionment. “Noise does not preclude recreation activities but does diminish the enjoyment of the overall experience.” Furthermore, the noise from gas-powered mobility devices poses a health risk to adjacent recreationalist when it exceeds 70 dB. The World Health Organization has set 70 dB as a maximum safe noise level in the work place. Most gas-powered vehicles, such as ATVs and gas-driven motor bikes, exceed this noise level. Additionally, the byproducts of combustion created by small engines pose a significant air quality risk as proposed by the SCAQMD.

Electric-powered OPDMD are permitted on trails and bikeways under specific trail type categories.

Justification: § 35.137 Mobility Devices Assessment Factors (iii and iv) Trail users are required to stay within the authorized trail footprint to avoid serious harm to natural or cultural resources. Single track trails do not provide adequate space for safe passage of trail-users traveling in opposing directions to other power-driven devices.

TRAIL ASSESSMENTS AND LIMITATIONS

OC Parks Operations Staff conducted a comprehensive trail assessment based on DOJ guidelines. Trails can be categorized into four different types, with specific limitations and justifications as listed below.

Paved Trails: Multi-use trail with shoulder.
In-line & Tandem Devices not to exceed 36” inch maximum width.

DOJ Assessment Factors
Justification: § 35.137 Mobility Devices Assessment Factors (i, ii and iii) Characteristics of the device could affect other trail users, based on the volume of pedestrian traffic and operational characteristics of the trail. These trails are high capacity two-way traffic areas, where a width restriction allows for safe passing of OPDMD devices, bicycles and pedestrians.

Multiuse Service Trail: Unpaved road.
Typical examples of this type of trail are unimproved fire and ranch roads, typically greater than 8 feet in width.
In-line & Tandem Devices not to exceed 36” inch maximum width.

DOJ Assessment Factors
Justification: § 35.137 Mobility Devices Assessment Factors (i and v) Characteristics of the device create a substantial risk of substantial harm to the environment or natural resources. These trails are typically wide enough for one-way vehicle traffic, and this width restriction allows for safe passing of OPDMD devices, bicycles and pedestrians on unpaved roads.

Multiuse Single Track Trail: Unpaved, narrow gauge trail, suitable for multiple activities, including hiking, mountain biking or equestrian riding.
In-line Devices not to exceed 26” inch maximum width and a maximum wheel width of 6”.

DOJ Assessment Factors
Justification: § 35.137 Mobility Devices Assessment Factors (i and v) Characteristics of the device create a substantial risk of substantial harm to the environment or natural resources. These are narrow trails where two-way traffic would require pedestrians to step off the trail and harm natural resources when allowing passage of OPDMD devices larger than 26” wide.

Pedestrian Single Track Trail: Unpaved, narrow gauge trail suitable for hiking only.
This type of trail is for natural areas and steep terrain where environmental or topographic constraints require no user impact to natural resources.
No OPDMD devices are permitted on these trails.

DOJ Assessment Factors
Justification: § 35.137 Mobility Devices Assessment Factors (i, ii, iii, iv, v) Trail users are required to stay within the authorized trail footprint to avoid serious harm to natural or cultural resources.

OTHER NOTES

- All OC Parks facilities have a posted speed limit of 10 mph.
- All OPDMDs must stay on designated trails or bikeways at all times. Exceptions can be made when crossing turf areas to leave or rejoin a trail
- No OPDMDs are permitted in historical structures, sensitive historic or cultural areas, museums or interpretive buildings (assessment factors (i)-(v) inclusive).
- All users of two-wheel devices shall wear a helmet when operating those devices in compliance with California State Law.

ARROW See the complete ADA Accessibility Program online at Orange County Parks

 

MORE RESOURCES

American Trails index on accessible trails, outdoor recreation, and the Americans with Disabilities Act

See DOJ ADA Website

Aditional information and comments on the “power-driven mobility device" issue:

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