A Note About Accessibility
BearSaver tries very hard to design products that are accessible to everyone AND provide solutions to keep bears eating in their natural environments. While we feel many of our products meet the criteria specified by the American Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), we also understand there are principles associated with a "Universal Design” concept”. These design elements include Equitable Use disciplines where it suggests, "the design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities”.
The correct interpretation asks the question; Can our bear resistant latch be operated with a closed fist if necessary? Well, the answer is yes and no. We actually do have a product line (the CE Series) that meets all ADA and Universal Design elements but many of our products for various reasons require an open hand to operate the latch.
In our study of the ADAAG, we found it interesting to design our diverse product lines with these guidelines used as a template for engineering. Fabricating a functional bear resistant trash or recycling enclosure using the suggested criteria for height and reach can sometimes be a challenge, but not terribly difficult.
What has proven to be more challenging is the section dealing with controls and Residential Poly Carts operating mechanisms (Section 4.27). In that section there is a paragraph that we used in the design of our patented latching system (4.27.4). It reads as follows; 4.27.4 Operation. Controls and operating mechanisms shall be operable with one hand and shall not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. The force required to activate controls shall be no greater than 5 lbf (22.2 N). Our interpretation of this section was used in the design of the most effective and proven bear resistant latching system on the market today.
Bears can’t operate it, people in general find it easy to use and it actually does meet the criteria specified by the ADAAG. In summary, we feel our claim to ADA compliance is correct based on how the ADAAG is worded and our interpretation of those words. With that said, we completely understand and respect The Principles of Universal Design.
We do everything we can to be sensitive to those design elements and still make products that are effective in their intended use, meet the demands of architectural aesthetics and are easy for people to use regardless of their abilities. The BearSaver Team
The Principles of Universal Design
The Center for Universal Design NC State University
ADA Accessibility Guidelines