Eastern Michigan University

Other Power Driven Mobility Devices (OPDMDs)

While Eastern Michigan University does not provide/loan OPDMDs (Segways, golf carts, and other power driven devices not originally created for people with disabilities) on an individual basis, EMU will work with students and guests who want to use a personally-provided OPDMD while on campus so long as the use of the device is reasonable relative to the situation. A primary consideration in such use is the safety and well-being of the user and anyone who may be in vicinity of the OPDMD. Any student or guest interested in using an OPDMD should contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) at 734-487-2470 or by email at drc@emich.edu to discuss the need of use. The DRC will inquire about general use and storage while not in use in order to create a reasonable plan/understanding that fits the needs of the user and EMU. (EMU faculty and staff should contact their Human Resources representative to discuss individual campus needs.)

It is the responsibility of the user to safely use and to safely store the OPDMD while at EMU. The user assumes all risks and responsibilities incurred when using OPDMDs on campus and will not hold EMU liable should the user injure oneself while using the equipment on campus. The user is responsible for any injuries to others and property damage that may happen while using OPDMDs on campus. Finally, the user is responsible for safely and securely storing the OPDMD when it is not in use and cannot hold EMU liable for any damage that may come to the device while in storage (non-use).

For more specific information, please note the parameters and guidelines below:


A "wheelchair" is defined as "a manually-operated or power-driven device designed primarily for use by an individual with a mobility disability for the main purpose of indoor or of both indoor and outdoor travel/mobility." This definition includes mobility scooters.

An "Other Power-Driven Mobility Device (OPDMD)"is defined as any mobility device powered by batteries, fuel, or other engines - whether or not designed primarily for use by individuals with mobility disabilities - that is used by individuals with mobility disabilities for the purpose of locomotion. Included in the OPDMD category are: golf carts, electronic personal assistance mobility devices (e.g. Segway®) and any mobility device designed to operate in areas without defined pedestrian routes but is not a wheelchair.

OPDMD General Usage Parameters:

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 user to safely stow the mobility device when not in use.

EMU prohibits the use of fuel driven engines inside any campus building.

Any OPDMD driven inside a building must be driven by an individual with a disability.

OPDMD Travel Safety and Common Courtesy Guidelines:

  • Personal mobility devices should not be operated in a manner that may endanger its passenger, other individuals, or damage EMU property.
  • Operators should choose the route that is least populated by pedestrians.
  • Drive at an appropriate speed according to existing conditions, not to exceed 5 mph.
  • 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.
  • No passing or weaving in and out of pedestrian traffic.
  • Operators shall not wear or use headphones or earphones except one earphone for a cellular telephone may be worn. No texting is allowed while operating an OPDMD.
  • When in use between sunset and sunrise, OPDMDs shall be equipped with adequate lights and reflectors to assist self and to alert pedestrians and vehicles of presence. It is recommended that OPDMDs be equipped with:

1) On the front, a lamp that emits a beam of white light intended to illuminate the operator's path and visible for a distance of at least 500 feet to the front

2) A red reflector facing to the rear that shall be visible at least 500 feet to the rear,

3) An amber reflector to each side.

OPDMD Parking Guidelines:

  • OPDMDs are not permitted to be stored in building lobbies, stairwells, stair towers, corridors and ramps inside or outside of buildings or lined parking spaces unless with prior approval by the Disability Resource Center or other campus personnel.
  • OPDMDs may be walked inside buildings to approved and designated storage areas.
  • Mobility Devices are prohibited from blocking entrances to buildings, accessible ramps, or main thoroughfares.
  • Mobility Devices are prohibited from parking on sidewalks in any way that blocks or restricts pedestrian traffic.Operators shall park vehicles on a wide, paved surface, allowing enough room (3 feet or more) for pedestrians to pass freely.
  • Operators shall not park in or otherwise block fire hydrants, fire department connections, fire lanes, bicycle racks or bike lanes.


Please contact the Disability Resource Center (240 Student Center; 734-487-2470) to discuss use of an OPDMD relative to your specific situation. While students can use an OPDMD in all areas of campus that are open to the public, the DRC can work with you to identify appropriate storage plans based on your academic schedule. It is also beneficial for the DRC to be aware of your regular use of an OPDMD for both your and campus safety and security purposes.

Faculty and Staff:

Please contact your respective Human Resources department for discussion of use relative to your needs.


Visitors using wheelchairs and OPDMDs are welcome in all areas of campus that are open to the public. Specific questions related to the use of these devices can be directed to the Disability Resource Center. Please be aware of OPDMD Usage Parameters, Safety and Common Courtesy Guidelines and Parking Guidelines.

Reports of Misuse:

Reports of unsafe, inappropriate, or destructive operation of vehicles should be made timely to the Department of Public Safety (734-487-1222). Provide as much information about the vehicle and operator as possible.

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