Woman Sues After Scooter Falls on Her During Walt Disney World Bus Ride

bluecruiser

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 1, 2008
From a news article posted today:
Link to article (more info in the original Orlando Sentinel article linked at the end)

"A New York woman is suing Disney in Orange Circuit Court related to injuries suffered in December 2015 aboard a Walt Disney World bus when another guest’s motorized scooter tipped and knocked her over.

Emily Rose, now 70, boarded a crowded bus back to Disney’s Beach Club Resort after visiting the Magic Kingdom with her family. Rose was standing when a sharp turn caused woman sitting on the scooter to tip over into Rose, knocking her down.

According to the lawsuit, Rose has suffered problems with her knees and back ever since. According to attorney Maxine Noel, Rose “has had a rough go,” adding that she has had “tons and tons of physical therapy.”

Noel continues, “I feel so bad for her and I’m so angry at Disney. … C’mon. If anybody should be accountable – there are families and people coming there from all ages – aren’t they supposed to provide a certain measure of safety?”

Rose is seeking $15,000 in damages, alleging that the bus driver did not secure the scooter properly and that Disney failed to properly train bus drivers on the procedures.

Walt Disney World spokesperson Erica Ettori told the Orlando Sentinel, “We will respond to the allegations, as appropriate, in court.

Source: Orlando Sentinel"
 

bluecruiser

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 1, 2008
We've discussed the topic of staying on ECV's on buses or transferring to a seat on this board before. My position:

This is why people on scooters should transfer to a seat when their scooter is buckled in. Your center of gravity is much higher when sitting on a scooter. I always try to transfer to a seat, but at times when the bus is full I feel guilty taking up an extra seat, so I stay on the scooter. I found myself holding on tight to the side rail in order to prevent both myself and the scooter tipping over when the bus took a tight curve.
 

Tallis

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 1, 2019
There are seat belts on the scooter spaces that passengers remaining on scooters should be wearing.
 
  • seashoreCM

    All around nice guy.
    Joined
    Aug 25, 2001
    If the person sitting on the scooter can be belted in securely (does not work with all bus restraints) then the scooter should be held upright just by that person's sitting..

    If the scooter seat can be restrained then the scooter should not tip but the person sitting on the scooter can slide to the side in the same fashion as a person sitting on one of the regular bus seats.

    Given the large number of riders with disabilities, bus drivers (anywhere in the world) need better training to slow down for curves.
     

    SueM in MN

    combining the teacups with a roller coaster
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    If the person sitting on the scooter can be belted in securely (does not work with all bus restraints) then the scooter should be held upright just by that person's sitting..

    If the scooter seat can be restrained then the scooter should not tip but the person sitting on the scooter can slide to the side in the same fashion as a person sitting on one of the regular bus seats.

    Given the large number of riders with disabilities, bus drivers (anywhere in the world) need better training to slow down for curves.
    The WDW buses all have seat belts for someone riding on a wheelchair or EVC.
    They should be used if the person is staying in/on the mobility device, but some people do decline to use them.
    The scooter won’t be held upright by the person sitting on it - 3 wheeled scooters are unstable for tipping sideways because of having only one front wheel. They are unstable with someone sitting on them because the weight of the person puts more weight high up without a similar weight down below to balance.
     

    Bjkandma

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2019
    What happens is the bus driver doesn't secure the scooter. There are two lockdown points, that the driver needs to do to secure scooter. I was on a scooter that wasn't properly secured. I was secured, sestbelt, etc. But the bus driver didn't lock scooter in. The scooter kept moving back and forth and sideways. The passengers standing were trying to steady the scooter. i was bruised from the scooter hitting the side of the bus and shook up. Even with passengers yelling at bus driver, he kept driving (definitely a language barrier). Geez, I never thought of suing!!
     
  • mamabunny

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 11, 2012
    @Bjkandma - there are actually *3* tie downs - see my picture below :)

    3-wheel ECVs (and to some extent, even the biggest 4-wheel units) are more prone to "tipping" when tied down improperly, because of how physics work. The way the bus manufacturer has configured the tie-down system, a properly tied-down 3-wheel ECV should have one tie-down at each wheel. (You can see the 3 tie downs in the picture of my personal device below)

    The system is designed to pull the mobility device (whether it is a wheelchair or an ECV) snugly up against the "walls" of the bus - (which is actually a set of seats that are folded up, and a partition at the "back" of the device) and it's also meant to be used by the two wheels that are closest to the wall/partition when parked. When tied down snugly and properly, it should be safe for the occupant to be belted in, and ride on the device. (under normal operating conditions)

    A 3-wheel device can be tied down safely, if all 3 tie down points are used. (as pictured below with my personal device - all three tie downs are in use) They become "tippy" when (for example) one of the rear wheels is not tied down. I can easily see where adding a human rider to that equation would almost certainly result in a tip over, especially if there was a fast shift in forward momentum (like a fast, hard corner turn)

    I don't make a habit of sitting on my personal device when riding the bus for safety reasons - even though there is a seat belt provided (and I have experienced using it with a rental device). Because I tend to ride without the seat back attached to my personal device (to help keep my core strong), it is not safe for me to ride on my device, belted or not.

    Angus rides the bus.jpg

    Edited to add: We don't know if the device that tipped over was in fact, tied down properly, and we also don't know which of the tie-down positions it occupied (the one pictured above, which is directly across from the rear door, or the spot forward of that).

    Regardless, it's a good reminder for all of us to keep safety first - even when we are on vacation at WDW!
     
    Last edited:

    Selket

    Been there - done that
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2000
    I can't quite tell from the article whether another person's scooter tipped over and hit her OR a person sitting on a scooter slid off and hit her (but the scooter stayed upright). Like how can a newspaper write a story that is so vague on that point? lol!
     

    Mrsjvb

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 5, 2007
    She should lose the suit because when you board a full bus and stand you assume all the risks that go with it.
    Not sure I agree . The bus driver does have a responsibility to ensure the ECV is secure, and if it isn’t, then they should insist the rider move to a seat. Furthermore they have the responsibility to drive safely, to include taking corners at a safe speed and curve.
     

    Michigan

    Mom of the Rolling Crew
    Joined
    Feb 2, 2000
    Not sure I agree . The bus driver does have a responsibility to ensure the ECV is secure, and if it isn’t, then they should insist the rider move to a seat. Furthermore they have the responsibility to drive safely, to include taking corners at a safe speed and curve.
    According to article ECV was secure. It never moved woman on scooter bumped into her sending her falling.
     
  • Mrsjvb

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 5, 2007
    hmm then I may have to reassess. is the driver at fault for not making the woman sit in a regular seat? is the woman at fault for not insisting that she sit in a regular seat or ensuring she was steady? I know in my chair I am still holding on to something that's permanent. how crowded was the bus that the stander was able to fall to the ground? if there was room why was she standing so close to the ECV ?
     

    Groot

    Still recovering from the events of Endgame.
    Joined
    Aug 24, 2018
    @Bjkandma - there are actually *3* tie downs - see my picture below :)

    3-wheel ECVs (and to some extent, even the biggest 4-wheel units) are more prone to "tipping" when tied down improperly, because of how physics work. The way the bus manufacturer has configured the tie-down system, a properly tied-down 3-wheel ECV should have one tie-down at each wheel. (You can see the 3 tie downs in the picture of my personal device below)

    The system is designed to pull the mobility device (whether it is a wheelchair or an ECV) snugly up against the "walls" of the bus - (which is actually a set of seats that are folded up, and a partition at the "back" of the device) and it's also meant to be used by the two wheels that are closest to the wall/partition when parked. When tied down snugly and properly, it should be safe for the occupant to be belted in, and ride on the device. (under normal operating conditions)

    A 3-wheel device can be tied down safely, if all 3 tie down points are used. (as pictured below with my personal device - all three tie downs are in use) They become "tippy" when (for example) one of the rear wheels is not tied down. I can easily see where adding a human rider to that equation would almost certainly result in a tip over, especially if there was a fast shift in forward momentum (like a fast, hard corner turn)

    I don't make a habit of sitting on my personal device when riding the bus for safety reasons - even though there is a seat belt provided (and I have experienced using it with a rental device). Because I tend to ride without the seat back attached to my personal device (to help keep my core strong), it is not safe for me to ride on my device, belted or not.

    View attachment 423345

    Edited to add: We don't know if the device that tipped over was in fact, tied down properly, and we also don't know which of the tie-down positions it occupied (the one pictured above, which is directly across from the rear door, or the spot forward of that).

    Regardless, it's a good reminder for all of us to keep safety first - even when we are on vacation at WDW!
    I don’t think that the 3 point tie down system that Disney uses is completely safe. Other buses that I’ve been on always have the 4 point tie down system. My theory is that the 4 point is safer because it makes the mobility device more stable, especially when the driver makes sharp turns.
     

    mamabunny

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 11, 2012
    I don’t think that the 3 point tie down system that Disney uses is completely safe. Other buses that I’ve been on always have the 4 point tie down system. My theory is that the 4 point is safer because it makes the mobility device more stable, especially when the driver makes sharp turns.
    I agree fully that a 4 point system would be preferable.

    However, all of the Disney buses *are* equipped with 3 point systems. Why Disney chose to use a 3 point system vs. a 4 point system would be nothing more than assumption on my part, however the (overall) age of the fleet may have something to do with it.

    Disney has a strong corporate culture of safety, and based on years of personal experience with ECVs and Disney buses, the drivers are all well trained in securing mobility devices of all kinds.

    What we *don't* know about this situation is far more than we *do* know, and speculating about it really isn't fair to anyone involved.

    We don't know how fast the driver actually turned the corner, and what the circumstances of traffic were.

    We don't know how big the ECV was that tipped over - and we don't know the size of the human who was sitting on it.

    We don't know if it was 3-wheel or 4-wheel.

    We don't know where the Guest who was standing was, relative to the ECV at the time it tipped over, and we don't know if the Guest was aware of the fact that was even a possibility when they chose to stand there.

    We can't adjudicate this here; all we can do is remind everyone to be *safe* while you are at WDW, even on the bus. You don't want the most "memorable" ride of your trip to be the one to the hospital.

    How do you force an adult?
    Exactly. I have seen CMs at WDW tell people to stop doing something, or to move, or to (fill in the blank) almost always for the *Guest's own safety* and they don't comply.
     

    SueM in MN

    combining the teacups with a roller coaster
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    The tie down system Disney has on their buses is actually a 4 point system.
    There are 3 straps and the fourth point of contact is the wall.
    Two straps are on the back, somewhere on a permanent part of the frame or a manufacturer tie down point (not ON the wheels and not on a non-sturdy part attached to the frame). The front strap is attached to the wheel closest to the aisle or around the tiller post on a 3 or 4 wheeled ECV.
    The yellow pulls the front of the device toward the wall and secures it.
    The higher and tighter the straps can be attached to the device, the less likely it is to tip.

    They previously had 4 strap systems; those did not work well with 3 wheeled (and even some 4 wheeled ) ECVs because there was no place to attach the 4th strap.
     

    Groot

    Still recovering from the events of Endgame.
    Joined
    Aug 24, 2018
    But most scooter rental companies are attaching a metal bar that has a loop on the front where both straps could be attached though.
     

    RaySharpton

    Retired and going to Disney.
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2000
    The tie down system Disney has on their buses is actually a 4 point system.
    There are 3 straps and the fourth point of contact is the wall.
    Two straps are on the back, somewhere on a permanent part of the frame or a manufacturer tie down point (not ON the wheels and not on a non-sturdy part attached to the frame). The front strap is attached to the wheel closest to the aisle or around the tiller post on a 3 or 4 wheeled ECV.
    The yellow pulls the front of the device toward the wall and secures it.
    The higher and tighter the straps can be attached to the device, the less likely it is to tip.

    They previously had 4 strap systems; those did not work well with 3 wheeled (and even some 4 wheeled ) ECVs because there was no place to attach the 4th strap.
    That is the best explanation that I have ever heard for the WDW bus system.

    Thank you, Sue.
     


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