Other Power Driven Mobility Devices (OPDMD)

ISSUED: November 2, 2015
REFERENCE: Supersedes sections 2607.11-2607.11.2


This Departmental Notice (DN) revises policy and implementation guidelines for the use of Other Power Driven Mobility Devices (OPDMD) in California State Parks, and establishes a process for evaluating accommodation requests that deviate from policy.


In 2010, the United States Department of Justice amended Title 28 of the Code of Federal Regulations relating to Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act to include another category of mobility aids known as OPDMD. Examples of OPDMD are golf carts, electric bicycles, and Segway scooters. The revised law directs public entities to make reasonable modifications in its policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of OPDMD by individuals with mobility disabilities. In response, the Department developed the OPDMD policy included in DOM Chapter 2600, Section 2607.11. That policy required that a formal request for a change-in-use must be submitted for devices and locations that do not meet specified criteria and be evaluated per the process described in the Department’s trail Change-in-Use Policy. This DN revises current policy and establishes an OPDMD Deviation process that shall be utilized in lieu of the Change-in-Use process.

Other Power Driven Mobility Device (OPDMD) Policy

It is the policy of the Department to permit the use of Other Power Driven Mobility Devices (OPDMDs) by persons with mobility disabilities when such use does not negatively impact the natural and cultural resources of the park or the health and safety of the public. Title II of the ADA defines an OPDMD 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. (28 C.F.R. §35.104)

Unless otherwise authorized in a park unit, the use of OPDMD in California State Parks is restricted to people with mobility disabilities as defined in §35.104 of Title 28 of the Code of Federal Regulations. All users of OPDMD must provide credible assurance that the mobility device is required because of their disability. Credible assurance is a valid State-issued, disability parking placard or card, or other State-issued proof of disability issued to the person who will be using the OPDMD. However, if a person does not have a state-issued placard or card, employees must accept as credible assurance a verbal representation, not contradicted by observable fact, that the OPDMD is being used for a mobility disability. The Department will also accept the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Access Pass as credible assurance.

Types of OPDMDs Permitted

Any OPDMD operated in California State Parks shall meet the following standards:

  • Size: OPDMD shall not be wider than 36” or longer than 48”.
  • Weight: The overall weight of the device and user(s) shall not exceed 550 pounds.
  • Speed: OPDMD shall not be operated at speeds in excess of 5 miles per hour.
  • Noise: OPDMD shall not produce noise levels in excess of 70 decibels.
  • Emissions: OPDMD shall not exceed zero emissions during use.

In verifying whether a device meets the above criteria, staff should use common sense to determine the appropriateness of the device; it is not necessary or reasonable to go to extensive lengths to weigh the device or measure noise output. If staff has concerns that the device does not meet the criteria for allowable use, they should contact a State Parks Peace Officer who will make the final determination. Wheelchairs are manual or power driven devices that are designed primarily for use by individuals with mobility disabilities for the purpose of indoor or outdoor locomotion. Wheelchairs should not be scrutinized under this policy and are permitted to be used wherever pedestrians are allowed.

Areas of Authorized OPDMD Use

OPDMD that meet the criteria for type permitted are generally allowed in the following locations within state park units:

  • Class 1 designated trails that are either designated accessible or multi-use
  • Exterior routes of travel designed for pedestrian use within developed public use areas
  • Controlled access roads such as fire roads

Implementation of this policy will be through the use of the District Superintendent’s Order, pursuant to Public Resources Code §5003, and Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR) 4326 & 4360. The Superintendent’s Order shall include information about types of OPDMD allowed and the areas in which they may be used, and shall be posted at visitor information areas, on park web pages, and in District and Sector Offices. Once Superintendent’s Orders are posted, copies of those orders, including information on specific routes and trails where OPDMD are allowed, shall be sent to the Accessibility Section so that accurate information can be provided to visitors who call the Accessibility Hotline.

Park staff should be prepared to inform visitors where they may utilize OPDMD. Park staff should review Superintendent’s Orders, park brochures, and park maps and identify the areas where OPDMD may be used. It may be helpful to highlight for visitors with a marker the areas on the brochure or map where they may go. In addition, remind visitors that the OPDMD must not exceed 5 mph. In general, it is anticipated that people with mobility disabilities will endeavor to use OPDMD to gain access to the activity of hiking and will be primarily concerned with allowable use on trails and fire roads. However, routes contained within campground and picnic areas, such as accessibly-designed routes between campsites and restrooms, are also appropriate for OPDMD use.

Requests for Modifications to OPDMD Policy

It is the policy of the Department to consider requests for special accommodation made by individuals with disabilities who wish to utilize OPDMD that do not meet the criteria listed above, and/or in an area not previously authorized for use. Request can be submitted to the local State Park District Office or the State Park Accessibility Section at access@parks.ca.govDepartmental staff shall utilize the process outlined in the DPR 343 form series for an OPDMD Deviation Request. Staff shall make final determinations of accommodation requests within 45 days of receipt.

Questions regarding the Department's enforcement protocol on OPDMD use should be directed to the Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Division by calling (916) 651-0388 or by email at lawenforce@parks.ca.gov.

Questions regarding types of qualifying disabilities may be directed to the Accessibility Section by calling the Accessibility Hotline at 916-445-8949, (711 Relay Service) or by email at access@parks.ca.gov.

EFFECTIVE: Immediately

    Signature on file

Kathleen Amann
Deputy Director
Park Operations

   Signature on file

Christopher C. Conlin
Deputy Director
OHVMR Division