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Environmental Health & Safety

Small Vehicle Use Guidelines

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Small Vehicle Use Guidelines

  2. Personal transportation via small and agile electric or gas powered vehicles is a convenience but also presents a unique set of hazards.  This guideline addresses safe operation of vehicles such as Segway Scooters, Gem cars, golf carts, Gators and other applicable vehicles   Compliance with this program is designed to reduce the risk associated with the use of “special” modes of transportation.  It is intended to prevent injury to employees and guests, to protect on-campus pedestrians, to reduce damage to University property and to improve safe operating practices when driving on or around University property.

    Thus, this guideline has been established in order to:

    1. Ensure the safety of employees who may use these vehicles.
    2. Ensure that University employees understand and comply with safety standards applicable to this equipment.
    3. Ensure that uniform practices are followed at the U of R.
    4. Ensure the University complies with DOT regulations.
  4. This guideline applies to all U of R properties, U of R sites, and work performed by University employees utilizing these vehicles.

    Generally, use of golf carts and small motorized vehicles on the University of Rochester property is restricted to those vehicles that are owned, leased or rented by the University of Rochester and operated by University of Rochester employees.


    Exceptions to allowable use include small motorized vehicles used by faculty, staff or students with a physical disability requiring use of such a vehicle.

  6. The following terms are defined in order to allow a better understanding of this program:

    Segway Scooter:  Officially called the Segway Personal Transporter (PT), it is a one-person scooter with a standing platform set between two side by side drive wheels.  It is battery powered and has a gyroscopic balancing system.  It is not designed as an over the road or public road vehicle.  See Appendix A.

    GEM Cars: GEM stands for Global Electric Motorcars.  GEM battery-electric vehicles are classified as low-speed vehicles, or neighborhood electric vehicles, and are street legal on public roads posted at 35 mph or less.  GEM cars are available in 2, 4, and 6 passenger models and as utility vehicles. GEM vehicles are battery-electric, operate on a 72-volt battery system and plug into a standard 110-volt outlet.   See Appendix B.

    Gators:  Gators are gasoline powered off-road utility ehicles designed to perform a variety of work and hauling functions on all types of terrain.  See Appendix C.

    Golf Cart: Motorized vehicles including golf carts and other 3 or 4-wheeled vehicles that are powered by electric or internal combustion motors, but does not apply to tractors or other machinery.  These are not designed for use on public roads.  They have a variety of uses including hospitality shuttling of people, delivery, and food service.  See Appendix D.

    PPE: An acronym for “Personal Protective Equipment”.

    Qualified person: Has received equipment specific training and understands the requirements of this guideline. Has demonstrated/exhibited proficiency for safe operation, is familiar with precautionary techniques, and uses PPE as required by this guideline.

    Unqualified person: Any person who does not meet the definition of a qualified person.

      1. Support this guideline and ensure that the requirements are followed.
      2. Provide resources and personnel as necessary to ensure compliance.  Annually verify that personnel authorized to use this equipment are doing so in a safe and efficient manner.
      3. Provide for resources and personnel to assure all of their employees have received necessary training and instruction regarding their assigned roles and responsibilities to comply with this guideline.  Maintain training documentation.
      4. As described in the Environmental Health and Safety Equipment Authorization / Competent Persons Policy ( designate a person within the department as a competent individual and allow only authorized personnel to operate these vehicles.
      1. Evaluate work being performed to determine compliance with this guideline.
      2. Provide or assist in task specific training if requested.
      3. Periodically review and update this written guideline.
      4. Provide general training for work units on the content of this program.
      5. Assist university facility work units in implementing the provisions of this guideline.
      6. Conduct program audits.
      7. Investigate any serious cart incident or cart related injuries and help initiate corrective actions as appropriate.
      1. Determine the applicability of this guideline to activities conducted within their respective areas of jurisdiction.
      2. Designate individuals responsible for the implementation of this guideline within their areas.
      3. Actively support this guideline as part of the University of Rochester overall safety effort.
      4. Notify EH&S of any incident or cart related injury.
      1. Ensure employees comply with all provisions of this guideline.
      2. Ensure employees receive appropriate training and maintain documentation of such training.
      3. Develop and maintain a listing of all qualified employees under their supervision.
      4. Ensure employees are provided with and use appropriate protective equipment.
      5. Verify employee driver’s license is valid.
      1. Follow the work practices described in this document, including the use of appropriate protective equipment.
      2. Attend all training required relative to this program.
      3. Immediately report any concerns related to safety to supervision.
      4. Operate the equipment safely and in accordance with manufacturer’s requirements and DOT laws where applicable.
      5. Operate the cart only if you possess a valid driver’s license.
      6. Operate the unit only if you have been trained on it
      1. Employees who are expected to use any of this equipment must be trained on each type of unit to be operated.
      2. The level of training provided is dependent on whether the employee is classified as a “qualified person” or “unqualified person”.
      3. A “qualified person” shall be trained and knowledgeable in all of the following topics:
        1. On the safe use of equipment assigned to them
        2. Skills and techniques necessary to maintain stable operation
        3. Recognition of hazardous situations and when not to use the equipment
        4. The proper and required use of PPE and other safety devices
        5. Applicable DOT requirements
      4. A person can be considered qualified with respect to certain equipment and methods but still be unqualified for others.  The supervisor shall maintain appropriate documentation as described in the Environmental Health and Safety Equipment Authorization / Competent Persons Policy (
      5. An “unqualified person” shall be trained to recognize the hazards of this type of equipment and to not attempt any use if not authorized and subsequently trained.
      6. The work unit supervisor will coordinate training for qualified and unqualified persons. Training will be customized to reflect the scope of work performed and the equipment used. Training must be provided before the employee is assigned work using the equipment.
      7. Each U of R work unit shall maintain a record of all training provided to their employees along with a listing of all employees classified as qualified persons. A copy of this record will be provided to EH&S upon request.
      1. All vehicles must be registered with UR Parking & Transportation and must bear the required University markings/numbering.
      2. Vehicles are to be used for official university use only.
      3. Driving on University Sites is a privilege. The privilege may be withheld at any time if unsafe or inappropriate conduct is observed.
      4. Avoid driving if walking is an option. There is a difference between driving for necessity and driving for convenience.
      5. Operators must possess a valid motor vehicle operator’s license.
      6. Segways, Gators, and Carts shall only be operated on sidewalks, parking lots, and non-public roads.  For sidewalk operation, the maximum speed allowed is 5 mph.
      7. GEM Cars are designed to be operated on public roads that do not have a speed limit in excess of 35 miles per hour (mph).  GEM Cars shall not exceed 25 mph.
      8. Operators and passengers shall ride with their hands, arms, feet, legs, and head inside the vehicle at all times. No person may ride in or on the cargo area of any utility vehicle.
      9. Caution must be taken to recognize the bumps, cracks, and holes existent on sidewalks and in parking lots.
      10. Operators must observe and adhere to all traffic rules, even if on sidewalks, such as stop signs and traffic signals.
      11. Slow moving vehicle reflective triangles shall be mounted on the back of vehicles using public roads and traveling at 25 mph or less.
      12. It is the operator’s responsibility to watch for pedestrians and other traffic and too make others aware of their presence.
      13. Operators must yield to pedestrians at all times.
      14. Use common sense, courtesy, and prudence, especially regarding pedestrians, landscaping, and unpaved areas.
      15. Choose the route that is least populated by pedestrians.
      16. On sidewalks, pedestrians have the right of way. Pull to the side of the pavement, stop, and allow pedestrians to pass. Do not creep up or crowd pedestrians.
      17. Control the speed of vehicles. If pedestrians are present, match the speed of pedestrians.
      18. During vehicle operation, do not use headphones, cell phones, or engage in texting. Always give full attention to safe and courteous use.
      19. To avoid damage to tip over due to landscaping and grounds, turn only where it can be accomplished without leaving the paved surface. If it can’t be accomplished, find another place to turn or use a different route.
      20. Segways shall not be operated during inclement weather, such as high winds, heavy rain, snow, and ice.
      21. Operators must realize and be fully aware that they cannot “beat” a motor vehicle.  The vulnerability of these vehicles is equal to or worse than that of a motorcycle and they are generally less maneuverable.
        1. The maximum Segways weight limitation is 250 pounds.  The carrying of baggage must not increase the overall load past 250 pounds.  Plus, baggage must be loaded in such a manner that the weight is evenly distributed.  Some models come with dual saddlebags, one per side, to allow for even loading.
        2. Users of GEM Cars, Golf Carts, and Gators must not exceed the rated load of the vehicle they are using, including people and baggage.  The load must be distributed evenly and properly secured.
      22. Vehicles used for sporting events must be approved by UR Athletics and the authorization form completed.
      23. Reports of unsafe, inappropriate, or destructive operation of vehicles should be made to the University Security.  Provide as much information about the vehicle and operator as possible
      24. GEMs, Gators, and golf carts are equipped with a backup warning device that must be operational.
      25. A walk around inspection is required prior to each use.
      26. Training is required upon initial assignment and whenever injuries occur or behavioral observations indicate the need for renewed or additional training.
      27. Wheeled vehicles or devices of any sort intended by the manufacturer for recreational purposes and not intended by the manufacturer to be used for medical purposes should not be allowed to be used inside University buildings.
      1. Helmets
        1. Segway operators must be issued and must wear a Snell approved helmet that is properly sized.  The Snell Memorial Foundation Standard that applies is L-98, 1998 Helmet Standard For Use With Mopeds and Low Powered Vehicles.  Helmets shall be issued to the individual.
        2. Operators of GEM Cars, Carts, and Gators are not required to wear helmets.
      2. Seat Belts
        1. Segways are not equipped with seat belts.
        2. GEM Cars are equipped with lap and shoulder belts.  All operators and passengers are required to wear their seat belts whenever the vehicle is in operation, just as is true of any vehicle designed to be used on public roads.
        3. Some newer model Golf Carts and Gators are equipped with seatbelts.  If so equipped, operators and passengers are required to wear their lap belts.
      3. Shoes.
      4. Operators and passengers are expected to wear closed toe shoes.

    1. OSHA 29 CFR 1910, General Duty Clause
    2. University of Rochester Personal Protective Equipment Plan
    3. University of Rochester - Environmental Health and Safety Equipment Authorization / Competent Persons Policy
    4. Snell Memorial Foundation Standard L-98
    5. Department of Transportation

  12. Date

    Revision No.




    Formal guidelines on small vehicles

Contact EH&S at (585) 275-3241 or e-mail EH&S Questions.

This page last updated 5/23/2011. Disclaimer.