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SEGWAY OUT THE PEDESTRIAN
Fiedor Report On the News #266 ^ | 3-31-02 | Doug Fiedor

Posted on 03/30/2002 9:16:52 AM PST by forest

What do New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia and seven other states have in common? Their legislatures have been lobbied by a million dollar program to pass a crazy law.

This all started a few months back when news reports from coast to coast were attempting to describe a gizmo invented by Dean Kamen code named “IT” or “Ginger.” Later we learned that the thing was to be called “Segway” and was a type of "human transporter" they say will change how Americans get around.(1)

The consumer model of the Segway weighs in at eighty-pounds, which may be a little heavy for some people to put in the car. They are convenient to ride because they contain an automatic balancing circuitry made up of computers and gyroscopes, which makes it nearly impossible to flip the device. In fact, the scooter is actually steered by monitoring human movements. Lean forward and the Segway accelerates, lean back and it goes in reverse, stand up straight and it stops. The scooter runs on batteries and is propelled by two two-horsepower motors, one for each of its two wheels.

At first glance, from an engineering viewpoint, the device is rather ingenious. The problem is, no matter how electronically sophisticated the design might be, it is still little more then a motorized scooter. And, because there is no protection for the operator, the Segway would be a rather inconvenient mode of transportation in rain, sleet or snow conditions.

Those who have tried the Segway admit it is fun. It will zip around at 10 to 12 MPH, is easy to operate after a little practice and could have some utility under certain circumstances. But, the price of the consumer model will be $3,000 and I have yet to find even one person who wants one at that price.

No matter, though, Segway’s lobbying campaign is getting results. Already, the governors of six states have signed regulations tailored to permit Segway's use in places usually off-limits to motorized vehicles. And, seven other state legislatures are passing bills the governors may sign into law.

But, here’s the rub: Segway wants states to treat the machine and its user as if they were a pedestrian on foot. That is, they are cajoling lawmakers into giving Segways free rein on both sidewalks and streets. So far, thirteen states have considered just that. There are a few little exceptions, of course. One state wanted sidewalk speed limits, another demands mandatory helmets and yet another mandates turn signals.

Georgia Sen. Steve Thompson shepherded the Segway bill through his Senate after introducing it at the request of a friend. "The thing is ingenious,” Thompson told reporters. “We had a lot of our leaders riding it."

And so it goes. The novelty of the scooter seems to be its main selling point -- to legislators, anyway. Lawmakers get a kick out of being the first on their block to try out the new scooter. Segway’s battle plan is to have favorable regulations passed by the end of this year in every one of the forty-four states whose legislatures meet this year. According to their plan, the remaining six states will be targeted next year.

One big problem is, the device is neither a pedestrian nor a motor vehicle. It will disrupt the flow of people walking on the sidewalk because it goes much faster than humans walk. Yet, it is much too slow to allow on the street. On the sidewalk, it could do real harm if it hit someone while propelling a human at 10 MPH. On the street, it could be crushed by even the smallest automobile.

There is no real fit in an urban environment for this Segway scooter. So, they are legislating a fit. But, man’s laws cannot alter the laws of nature, which means that Segways will be involved hitting walking humans and getting hit by vehicles.

Conveniently, no one yet mentioned who will pay off all the lawsuits. That topic will come up shortly after there are a few thousand Segways out on the street.

-----------------------------

1. http://www.segway.com  

 END


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 10to12mph; 80lbsheavy; changinglaws; itlist; liability; noprotection; notcar; notwalker; stablescooter
The Segway is neither car nor pedestrian. There will be accidents. Who will pay?
1 posted on 03/30/2002 9:16:52 AM PST by forest
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To: forest
Who will pay?

The owner of the damned Segway that hits me will pay. In more ways than one.

2 posted on 03/30/2002 9:21:39 AM PST by hellinahandcart
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To: forest
The answer to the Segwaywers is mandatory social engineering to accomodate their toy.

If I recall correctly, Steve Jobs said, "you could build cities around it."

3 posted on 03/30/2002 9:22:00 AM PST by Maedhros
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To: forest
There will be accidents. Who will pay?

And at 10-12mph + 80lbs + another 100-200lbs for the operator, these accidents will hurt.

Nonetheless, I want one and I imagine when the price comes down a lot of people will have them.

We *are* an inherently lazy bunch!

4 posted on 03/30/2002 9:24:33 AM PST by Drew68
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To: forest
One big problem is, the device is neither a pedestrian nor a motor vehicle. It will disrupt the flow of people walking on the sidewalk because it goes much faster than humans walk. Yet, it is much too slow to allow on the street

This doesn't make sense. They let bicycles on the street. How can it be too slow to allow on the streets?

5 posted on 03/30/2002 9:27:53 AM PST by dawn53
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To: All
There is no real fit in an urban environment for this Segway scooter.

Irrelevant...

They said the same thing about the car and the plane, by the way...

So, they are legislating a fit.

THE problem is that they are legislating anything remotely related to the Segway...

But, man’s laws cannot alter the laws of nature, which means that Segways will be involved hitting walking humans and getting hit by vehicles.

Gee whiz, do you mean just like cars?

There are already ways to deal with someone who has caused harm to another person by hitting them with a vehicle...

This is just another area that government has no business even talking about...

6 posted on 03/30/2002 9:29:18 AM PST by Ferris
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To: forest
Well, if it's not treated as a vehicle but as a pedestrian then can I have a bottle of Jack or a Budweiser whilst operating my Segway and not be charged with DUI?
7 posted on 03/30/2002 9:29:33 AM PST by Helix
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To: forest
So, they are legislating a fit. But, man’s laws cannot alter the laws of nature,

And the follies continue.

8 posted on 03/30/2002 9:30:11 AM PST by StriperSniper
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To: forest
I disagree with this- I think it will work just like motorized wheelchairs. You dont hear of them causing accidents, or being dangerous.
9 posted on 03/30/2002 9:31:16 AM PST by Mr. K
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To: Mr. K
I disagree with this- I think it will work just like motorized wheelchairs. You dont hear of them causing accidents, or being dangerous.

Since there are many reports of Americans being too fat, it doesn't seem like another excuse for not walking should be promoted. People who are in wheelchairs are in them because they have to be and always gain weight. If the government wants to get into legislating how we travel, which it shouldn't, it would cut health care costs to require everyone to walk up or down one flight of stairs in office buildings.

10 posted on 03/30/2002 9:48:02 AM PST by angry elephant
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To: angry elephant
my post had nothing to do with people getting fat and lazy. (too true) I just think they are over-regulating this thing before it even comes out. It is the natural reaction of the govt. now (How can we tax or regulate everything?)
11 posted on 03/30/2002 9:50:14 AM PST by Mr. K
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To: Mr. K
I think it will work just like motorized wheelchairs. You dont hear of them causing accidents, or being dangerous.

Motorized wheelchairs move at walking speed.

12 posted on 03/30/2002 9:52:05 AM PST by steve-b
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To: forest
Yeah, like I'm going to pay 2 grand for an ugly lawn spreader looking thing to ride around downtown sidewalks.

I'll be p.o.'ed if they allow these 'smeg'ways on the sidewalks and not bicycles, roller blades and skateboards.

If the dorks at Apple like it, count me out. This is not a MacOS slam, I just don't like Steve Jobs and other 'future-thinkers' of his ilk.

13 posted on 03/30/2002 10:02:15 AM PST by Looking4Truth
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To: *IT_list
Check the Bump List folders for articles related to and descriptions of the above topic(s) or for other topics of interest.
14 posted on 03/30/2002 10:03:59 AM PST by Free the USA
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To: Kalashnikov_68
As a lot of folks have, I have followed this for over a year now, and think it will be a very big seller in the very near future.  All you have to do is look in any city park to see the next consumer base.  Ten year olds on up (I see 3yos) riding scooters.  These kids, when they start college will NEED cheap local  transportation. 
You watch the face of anybody riding it for the first time, and they are grins from ear to ear.
Insurance will fill the bill for the liability.
On the right and left coast, everybody is in a hurry, but I can assure you, that in flyover country, our less hurried mind set is custom made for the Segway.  To ride to the store, unhurried, is to be desired. 

15 posted on 03/30/2002 10:12:57 AM PST by Lokibob
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To: forest
I wonder if you can deer hunt with one... Ten MPH to get to your treestand before daylight would be a good thing, especially in some of the hilly areas.
16 posted on 03/30/2002 10:15:17 AM PST by TN4Liberty
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To: forest
It seems to be a motorized vehicle,about 3 feet wide,12 mph.Imagine a busy city sidewalk with thousands of pedestrians walking every which way and these contraptions wheeling around. What about a motorized skateboard? What about a moped? A bicycle is not really allowed on the sidewalk (makes sense). Why is this thing getting allowed? What about a gasoline powered one that can do 80 mph? I think that insurance, license, tags,registration and inspection are in order. ( some sarcasm)
17 posted on 03/30/2002 10:30:50 AM PST by Frankss
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To: Lokibob
I live in downtown Denver and I don't have a car. One of these things, legal on sidewalks, would be great!
18 posted on 03/30/2002 10:47:06 AM PST by Drew68
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To: Looking4Truth
I'll be p.o.'ed if they allow these 'smeg'ways on the sidewalks and not bicycles, roller blades and skateboards.

Gee, in Seattle they allow bicycles, roller blades, skateboards, scooters, electric scooters, etc., on the sidewalks. I don't think they're really allowed, just no one ever stops them.

19 posted on 03/30/2002 11:03:09 AM PST by angry elephant
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To: forest
One big problem is, the device is neither a pedestrian nor a motor vehicle.

Rubbish.

It has a motor, doesn't it?

It's a vehicle, isn't it?

Therefore, it's a motor vehicle.

That it is a slow one, is its lookout--not pedestrians.

Make them wear seatbelts, helmets, and ride in the streets.

As for me, I'll keep walking.

Maybe when the next model of slugway comes out, it will have a built-in treadmill so riders can have some exercise while they zip about.

20 posted on 03/30/2002 11:12:19 AM PST by Age of Reason
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To: forest
In South Dakota??? I'd love to see these things during the winter months trying to navigate through two to three feet of snow. Or at the Sturgis Rally where they'd be called Speed Bumps. Of course, being Dasshole's home state, Jobs probably went to him personally. Janklow should know better.
21 posted on 03/30/2002 11:20:07 AM PST by 11B3
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To: forest
We have someone with a motorized scooter in the neighborhood, and they let their son- age about 14-15 - race up and down the streets at speeds of ( I'm guessing )up to 40 mph.

Whether or not the thing is legal, I don't know. NJ regulates just about every facet of our lives.

I do know, a minor riding any kind of bicycle is supposed to wear a helmet, and regular scooter-riding kids are encouraged to wear head and knee protection.

It's a bit unnerving to see this kid-no protection of any kind-whizzing down the street, ignoring oncoming cars, etc. He even rides after dark, without lights.

I have to keep telling myself: " It's his parents' business-not mine ! " ; but I'm sure,when some unfortunate motorist hits him, the parents will file suit against as much of the community as possible !

22 posted on 03/30/2002 11:41:11 AM PST by genefromjersey
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To: Ferris
They said the same thing about the car and the plane, by the way...
Good answer! Who knows if the segway will succeed? But, like the automobile and the airplane, it will seem alarming and out of place at first. The performance is also likely to change a great deal over the next 20-30 years. So while the naysayers may be right in the end - we still should not listen to them and give the Segway a chance.
23 posted on 03/30/2002 12:52:19 PM PST by eno_
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To: forest
I want one. NOW. I also want to get on this bump list. Thanks.
24 posted on 04/02/2002 10:14:54 AM PST by PoisedWoman
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To: PoisedWoman
These things look real cute. But the ads, pictures don't mention one very important thing. THE BATTERY PACK.

In the pictures they don't show it. You have to carry it on your shoulders. How much does it weigh ?

Are you women going to carry a purse over one shoulder and a 30lb battery pack on the other ?

25 posted on 04/02/2002 10:22:08 AM PST by UCANSEE2
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To: UCANSEE2
Are you women going to carry a purse over one shoulder and a 30lb battery pack on the other ?

Heavens, No! Maybe they can fix up a dealie like a bicycle basket for carrying the power supply. And purse. And groceries. And radio. And ashtray.

26 posted on 04/02/2002 3:36:05 PM PST by PoisedWoman
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To: forest
I don't think this thing is very useful. Where would you use it? It doesn't have adequate range to make it useful, and there isn't enough space on the sidewalks for it. You can't take it indoors with you and there is no place to "park" it outside the buildings. It isn't fast enough to use on streets. Perhaps in some european cities and some asian cities where the primary mode of transportation is a bicycle or a motorscooter, it would be useful. But in america, forget it.

Hmmmmm, maybe on a golf course....
27 posted on 04/02/2002 3:49:33 PM PST by mamelukesabre
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To: forest
I have just two words by way of comment on this crazy piece:

Brilliant marketing.

28 posted on 04/02/2002 4:02:19 PM PST by RightOnline
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To: mamelukesabre
Not only is there no where to 'park' it, you could never leave it. It would be gone faster than a pair of Jordan's or Nike's.
29 posted on 04/02/2002 6:30:38 PM PST by UCANSEE2
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