234 and 1002 Amusement Rides
New and Altered Permanently Installed Amusement Rides. Section 234 of the 2010 Standards sets out scoping requirements and section 1002 sets out the technical requirements for the accessibility of permanently installed amusement rides. These requirements apply to newly designed and constructed amusement rides and used rides when certain alterations are made.
A commenter raised concerns that smaller amusement parks tend to purchase used rides more frequently than new rides, and that the conversion of a used ride to provide the required accessibility may be difficult to ensure because of the possible complications in modifying equipment to provide accessibility.
The Department agrees with this commenter. The Department notes, however, that the 2010 Standards will require modifications to existing amusement rides when a ride´s structural and operational characteristics are altered to the extent that the ride´s performance differs from that specified by the manufacturer or the original design. Such an extensive alteration to an amusement ride may well require that new load and unload areas be designed and constructed. When load and unload areas serving existing amusement rides are newly designed and constructed they must be level, provide wheelchair turning space, and be on an accessible route compliant with Chapter 4 of the 2010 Standards except as modified by section 1002.2 of the 2010 Standards.
Mobile or Portable Amusement Rides. The exception in section 234.1 of the 2010 Standards exempts mobile or portable amusement rides, such as those set up for short periods of time at carnivals, fairs or festivals, from having to comply with the 2010 Standards. However, even though the mobile/portable ride itself is not subject to the Standards, these facilities are still subject to the ADA´s general requirement to ensure that individuals with disabilities have an equal opportunity to enjoy the services and amenities of these facilities.
Subject to these general requirements, mobile or portable amusement rides should be located on an accessible route and the load and unload areas serving a ride should provide a level wheelchair turning space to provide equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities to be able to participate on the amusement ride to the extent feasible.
One commenter noted that the exception in Section 234.1 of the 2010 Standards for mobile or portable amusement rides limits the opportunities of persons with disabilities to participate on amusement rides because traveling or temporary amusement rides by their nature come to their customers´ town or a nearby town rather than the customer having to go to them and so are less expensive than permanent amusement parks. While the Department understands the commenter´s concerns, the Department notes that most amusement rides are too complex to be reasonably modified or re-engineered to accommodate the majority of individuals with disabilities and that additional complexities and safety concerns are added when the rides are mobile or portable.
A commenter asked that section 234 of the 2010 Standards make clear that the requirements for accessible routes include the routes leading up to and including the loading and unloading areas of amusement rides. Sections 206.2.9 and 1002.2 of the 2010 Standards clarify that the requirements for accessible routes include the routes leading up to and including the loading and unloading areas of amusement rides.
A commenter requested that the final rule specifically allow for wheelchair access through the exit or other routes, or alternate means of wheelchair access routes to amusement rides. The commenter stated that the concept of wheelchair access through the exit or alternate routes was a base assumption for the 2010 Standards. The commenter noted that the concept is apparent in the signage and load/unload area provisions in Section 216.12 (" * * * where accessible unload areas also serve as accessible load areas, signs indicating the location of the accessible load and unload areas shall be provided at entries to queues and waiting lines"). The Department agrees with the commenter that accessible load and unload areas may be the same where signs that comply with section 216.12 are provided.
Wheelchair Space or Transfer Seat or Transfer Device. Sections 234.3 and 1002.4 - 1002.6 of the 2010 Standards provide that each new and altered amusement ride, except for mobile/portable rides and a few additional excepted rides, will be required to provide at least one type of access by means of one wheelchair space or one transfer seat or one transfer device (the design of the transfer device is not specified).
Commenters urged the Department to revise the requirements for wheelchair spaces and transfer seats and devices because most amusement rides are too complex to be reasonably modified or re-engineered to accommodate the majority of individuals with disabilities. They argued that the experience of amusement rides will be significantly reduced if the proposed requirements are implemented.
The 2004 ADAAG, which the Department adopted as part of the 2010 Standards, was developed with the assistance of an advisory committee that included representation from the design staffs of major amusement venues and from persons with disabilities. The Department believes that the resulting 2004 ADAAG reflected sensitivity to the complex problems posed in adapting existing rides by focusing on new rides that can be designed from the outset to be accessible.
To permit maximum design flexibility, the 2010 Standards permit designers to determine whether it is more appropriate to permit individuals who use wheelchairs to remain in their chairs on the ride, or to provide for transfer access.
Maneuvering Space in Load and Unload Areas. Sections 234.2 and 1002.3 of the 2010 Standards require that a level wheelchair turning space be provided at the load and unload areas of each amusement ride. The turning space must comply with sections 304.2 and 304.3.
Signs Required at Waiting Lines to Amusement Rides. Section 216.12 of the 2010 Standards requires signs at entries to queues and waiting lines identifying type and location of access for the amusement ride.
234.1 General. Amusement rides shall comply with 234.
EXCEPTION: Mobile or portable amusement rides shall not be required to comply with 234.
Advisory 234.1 General. These requirements apply generally to newly designed and constructed amusement rides and attractions. A custom designed and constructed ride is new upon its first use, which is the first time amusement park patrons take the ride. With respect to amusement rides purchased from other entities, new refers to the first permanent installation of the ride, whether it is used off the shelf or modified before it is installed. Where amusement rides are moved after several seasons to another area of the park or to another park, the ride would not be considered newly designed or newly constructed.
Some amusement rides and attractions that have unique designs and features are not addressed by these requirements. In those situations, these requirements are to be applied to the extent possible. An example of an amusement ride not specifically addressed by these requirements includes "virtual reality" rides where the device does not move through a fixed course within a defined area. An accessible route must be provided to these rides. Where an attraction or ride has unique features for which there are no applicable scoping provisions, then a reasonable number, but at least one, of the features must be located on an accessible route. Where there are appropriate technical provisions, they must be applied to the elements that are covered by the scoping provisions.
Advisory 234.1 General Exception. Mobile or temporary rides are those set up for short periods of time such as traveling carnivals, State and county fairs, and festivals. The amusement rides that are covered by 234.1 are ones that are not regularly assembled and disassembled.
234.2 Load and Unload Areas. Load and unload areas serving amusement rides shall comply with 1002.3.
234.3 Minimum Number. Amusement rides shall provide at least one wheelchair space complying with 1002.4, or at least one amusement ride seat designed for transfer complying with 1002.5, or at least one transfer device complying with 1002.6.
1. Amusement rides that are controlled or operated by the rider shall not be required to comply with 234.3.
2. Amusement rides designed primarily for children, where children are assisted on and off the ride by an adult, shall not be required to comply with 234.3.
3. Amusement rides that do not provide amusement ride seats shall not be required to comply with 234.3.
Advisory 234.3 Minimum Number Exceptions 1 through 3. Amusement rides controlled or operated by the rider, designed for children, or rides without ride seats are not required to comply with 234.3. These rides are not exempt from the other provisions in 234 requiring an accessible route to the load and unload areas and to the ride. The exception does not apply to those rides where patrons may cause the ride to make incidental movements, but where the patron otherwise has no control over the ride.
Advisory 234.3 Minimum Number Exception 2. The exception is limited to those rides designed "primarily" for children, where children are assisted on and off the ride by an adult. This exception is limited to those rides designed for children and not for the occasional adult user. An accessible route to and turning space in the load and unload area will provide access for adults and family members assisting children on and off these rides.
234.4 Existing Amusement Rides. Where existing amusement rides are altered, the alteration shall comply with 234.4.
Advisory 234.4 Existing Amusement Rides. Routine maintenance, painting, and changing of theme boards are examples of activities that do not constitute an alteration subject to this section.
234.4.1 Load and Unload Areas. Where load and unload areas serving existing amusement rides are newly designed and constructed, the load and unload areas shall comply with 1002.3.
234.4.2 Minimum Number. Where the structural or operational characteristics of an amusement ride are altered to the extent that the amusement ride's performance differs from that specified by the manufacturer or the original design, the amusement ride shall comply with 234.3.