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Golf Carts and ADA Approval: OPDMDs and Right of Choice

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

At Cricket Carts Direct, we're proud to bring clients products that are useful in more than one way. While most people naturally connect our golf carts and mini golf carts with their use on the golf course, for which they're absolutely ideal, there's another prominent use that many people can benefit from: Use as a mobility device for those with disabilities or similar issues.

This is a theme that's becoming more common in recent years, to the point that the US Department of Justice made changes just over a decade ago to regulations within the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that speak not only to golf carts, but certain other types of motorized vehicles that may be used as mobility assists. Is it legal for you or anyone in your life with disabilities to use a golf cart for mobility? The answer depends on a few things, from where you live to the specific areas or facilities you're spending time in or around. This two-part blog series will go over everything you need to know here.

golf carts ADA approval

Wheelchairs and OPDMDs

The changes to the ADA covered several kinds of devices that people may use for not only mobility concerns, but also circulatory, respiratory or even neurological disabilities that may be present. Going into effect in March, 2011, these rules require that various entities accommodate people who use these devices, with certain rules and restrictions attached.

Wheelchairs are the most well-known form of device covered here, both in mechanical and powered formats. Those in wheelchairs tend to see the fewest restrictions in terms of where they can go, as the act of being in a wheelchair is not generally viewed as disruptive or posing a danger to others.

In addition, over recent years many people with mobility disabilities have started to use alternative mobility devices. These are known broadly as "other power-driven mobility devices," or OPDMDs, and they may include a few different items:

  • Electronic personal assist devices: Such as the Segway or other devices that allow people to stand and move around without assistance

  • Motorized wheelchairs: Including three or four-wheeled chairs, as well as some models of scooters

  • Golf carts: As mentioned earlier, these are the subject of specific regulation in the ADA, which we'll go over further

Choice of Device

Another major part of these guidelines is the fact that people with these disabilities have the right to choose whichever device works best for them. It's not simply a matter of using the most commonly available wheelchair or motorized device, but instead allows for those with disabilities to use what helps them get around the best.

Someone who can stand by has trouble walking, for instance, may choose a Segway or similar device over a wheelchair. Or, someone who uses a wheelchair for long distances but can't handle stairs may choose a motorized wheelchair rather than a manual one.

Now, there are also some rules and regulations about which specific areas or buildings must accommodate these devices -- and we'll go over those in part two of our series.

For more on this, or to learn about any of our quality golf cart options, speak to the pros at Cricket Carts Direct today.

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