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San Francisco says no to Segway Transporter
The Union Leader (NH) ^ | 01/20/02 | Denis Paiste

Posted on 01/20/2003 6:06:58 AM PST by NewHampshireDuo

You can’t ride your Segway in the City by the Bay anymore.

As of today — just about a month shy of going mainstream — the Segway Personal Transporter has been banned from San Francisco sidewalks for safety reasons.

San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown Jr., who a year ago joined the hoopla celebrating Segway’s introduction, let pass a city ordinance banning the high-tech scooter when the city’s Board of Supervisors recently voted 9-2 to outlaw the Segway on city sidewalks, spokesman P.J. Johnston said.

Brown earlier had said he opposed the ban, and would veto it, “because he thinks it’s terrible public policy to ban a new technology outright before that technology is even tested in the city, before there is any meaningful debate about pros and cons, before there is any thoughtful understanding of what the safety risks may in fact be,” Johnston said.

However, advocates for San Francisco’s elderly and disabled won the ear of the ban’s sponsor, Supervisor Chris Daly, who represents the downtown district, according to Otto Duffy, an intern to Daly, and a solid majority of supervisors, who eventually supported the measure.

Critics of the gyroscope-balanced, $5,000 scooters feared pedestrians might get hurt by the two-wheeled, 69-pound Segways which travel at speeds up to 12.5 mph — or three times faster than the typical pedestrian. The self-balancing machines go forward when a rider leans forward, and backwards when a rider leans to the rear.

“We don’t want to say that it doesn’t ever make sense. But in urban settings there isn’t enough room for all the pedestrians,” said Ellen Vanderslice, president of America WALKs, a Pedestrian advocacy group based in Portland, Ore.

In hilly San Francisco, officials feared Segways would cause more problems than they would solve, particularly for the disabled and senior citizens.

“There were statistics submitted to us about injuries and the Segways themselves did not have adequate safety features to alert people they might be behind them,” said Tom Ammiano, a San Francisco supervisor who supported the ban.

No state is requiring that its drivers be trained, although some have set minimum age and helmet requirements.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has ruled that the Segway is not a vehicle subject to its oversight. Late last year, Worcester (Mass.) Polytechnic Institute become the first university in the world to implement use of the Segway Human Transporter after acquiring three Segway HTs this past fall.

WPI’s campus police department has already started using two of the Segway HTs to make patrols around WPI’s 80-acre main campus easier.

The battery-operated, motorized devices, which are the brainchild of New Hampshire inventor Dean Kamen, are being assembled at 14 Technology Drive in Bedford. Segway LLC has its corporate offices in the Manchester Millyard.

Segway officials say the scooters have been tested for 100,000 hours on city streets across the nation without injury.

Ammiano also said Segway’s publicity blitz rubbed officials the wrong way.

“Segway didn’t help themselves by hiring very expensive lobbyists,” he said. “I think that backfired on them, too.”

The company hired lobbying firms but has made no contributions to any public officials or candidates, said Matt Dailida, the company’s director of state government affairs. He said attempts to modify the ban in San Francisco were unsuccessful.

“It looks as if (San Francisco) will be the first city in the country, if not the world, to ban this new form of transportation from their jurisdiction,” Dailida said.

Segway Human Transporters, or HTs, have safely logged more than 50,000 hours of real time use in U.S. cities, Dailida said.

Tested by the U.S. Postal Service and put through industrial trials for the last year, the consumer version of Segway went on sale on in November for a price tag of $4,950, and are set to begin shipping in March.

So far, 33 states (including New Hampshire) have passed legislation that allows Segway HTs to operate on sidewalks. But California’s law, passed in August, allowed cities and towns to regulate or ban use of Segway HTs in their communities, as San Francisco has done.

In California, Santa Cruz, Oakland and San Mateo are considering joining San Francisco in banning Segways from sidewalks. There is no similar move in congested Los Angeles, city officials said.

TOPICS: Extended News; News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: ban; itlist; sanfrancisco; segwayscooter
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To: NewHampshireDuo
You've really gotta love San Francisco. It's OK to sh*t in the streets, but you can't ride a Segway.
41 posted on 01/20/2003 9:12:55 AM PST by jpl
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To: ~Peter
Yeppers. I'd own a bigger one if I could! But I also own a gas =guzzing Caddy, too!
42 posted on 01/20/2003 9:17:11 AM PST by LS
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To: muleskinner
LOL...excellent McQueen. Who's the other guy?


43 posted on 01/20/2003 9:40:27 AM PST by spodefly (This is my tag line. There are many like it, but this one is mine.)
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To: NewHampshireDuo
Here's the latest model:

44 posted on 01/20/2003 9:46:35 AM PST by Revolting cat! (Someone left the cake out in the rain I dont think that I can take it coz it took so long to bake it)
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To: MrB
Use an extention cord. Duh.

/stupid humor

45 posted on 01/20/2003 10:17:15 AM PST by Eagle Eye
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To: Revolting cat!
That the "chopper" model?
46 posted on 01/20/2003 10:59:55 AM PST by NewHampshireDuo
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To: MrB
The range of the segway is 20 miles (optimal), approximately 15 miles typical, and about 10 miles when taken 'cross country'. Assuming San Fran is categorized as 'cross country' and the passenger weighs less than 250 lbs. Thats approximately 3 hours at 3-4 mph. Segway is not intended as a long distance cruiser, but as a short distance commuter device. It also has a convenient 'gas gauge' built into the top. Go to, and they have a really good description, movies and an exploded view of the features and how it's put together. It's really impressive.
47 posted on 01/20/2003 11:56:11 AM PST by Hodar
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To: Tijeras_Slim
maybe it can't maneuver over the homeless' feces and vomit that taint the streets and sidewalks.......
48 posted on 01/20/2003 12:03:59 PM PST by duckbutt (I would never leave anything in San Francisco - - I refuse to go!)
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To: ~Peter
And one that sits up higher than the others, has 4whl drive and an watch those old people jump when i blow it. Lessee, and a cb, an some fuzzy dice. I WANT SIDEWALK ASSAULT VEHICLE!...Can you imagine the havoc created by these things on a crowded sidewalk, especially if 25-50% of the folks have one and the rest don't?
49 posted on 01/20/2003 12:11:49 PM PST by Adder
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To: not-an-ostrich
Elderly and disabled not know for good reflexes and balance.

There are 3 solid-state gyroscopes, with 3 redundant backups that keep balance for the person. You may try to tip it over, but the microprocessor will rotate the tires such that you cannot tip over. When you park it, there is not a kickstand, it automatically balances itself. To move it around, just push and it will auto-balance as you move it to where you want it stored. Take a look at; and watch the movie. There are a lot of really good pictures that show you how well every detail was considered. It was built with the elderly and frail as their primary customer.

50 posted on 01/20/2003 12:14:12 PM PST by Hodar
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To: NewHampshireDuo
A combustion engine is still the most efficient method of producing power for transportation. These enviro freaks ignore the fact that electricity still has to be produced somewhere and somehow. They act like electricity grows on trees and at the same time are against nuclear power. This Segway thing is a $5000 joke. What do you do with it when you get where your going? You better have a good way to lock it up. It also limits you to wearing a backpack to carry your stuff. I can just see Grandma with a backpack full of groceries riding down the road on one of these.
51 posted on 01/20/2003 12:19:02 PM PST by muslims=borg (Whats this space for ?)
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It's not a good thing that many (if not most)decision makers take bribes, but it IS a real thing.

Hmmm. Isn't bribery an impeachable offense? I suppose when 99% of our "officials" are guilty, they don't fall over each other to launch bribery investigations.

52 posted on 01/20/2003 12:20:36 PM PST by Alpha One
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To: Alpha One
Those bribes are usually labeled as "campaign contributions".
53 posted on 01/20/2003 12:23:20 PM PST by muslims=borg (Whats this space for ?)
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To: Revolting cat!
Actually, that might not be a bad application for the Segway.
54 posted on 01/20/2003 12:25:08 PM PST by Teacher317 (Repeal the 16th Amendment!)
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To: Kozak
SF has a huge joke on their hands...if New York, LA, Seattle, and Chicago accept the thing...they will be the laughing stock of the next major mayors conference.

I think the 3 major problems made by Segway in SF. Lack of donations to the political parties (they likely all expected a $20k check) and never got it. The number of advocates per square mile is more than any city in America...which translates into a lot of people wanting to have a say in these matters, which can be a very bad thing in real life. And finally, there is the homeless lobby. Lets face it...they have enough legal help to put anybody into court for years and years...real people in SF basically have an uphill battle in any kind of improvement in the city.

So what will happen? I would suggest a measure by most pro-Segway folks in naming a street in the bay area 'Segway Street'.
55 posted on 01/20/2003 12:32:34 PM PST by pepsionice
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To: NewHampshireDuo
Segways will only be successful when they go to four wheels and become enclosed to protect the driver from the elements with heaters for the winter and AC for the summer. They will also need to add space for passengers and cargo. Until this happens, I'm going to keep driving my car.

56 posted on 01/20/2003 12:33:47 PM PST by SamAdams76
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To: grobdriver; Gritty
Another reason they don't like the Segway in SF is the $5,000 price. Jealously is the fuel behind leftist politics. If they see someone on the sidewalk with a $5,000 Segway they will be overcome with envy.

People on bikes, skateboards, and rollerblades are already on SF sidewalks. I've never seen anyone get a ticket. All it takes is one person to buy a Segway and jealously will take over. It will be a very hot seller in SF. A major downside to Segway though is they will get sued in SF, for the magic number of $10 million, for every accident that happens involving a Segway.

57 posted on 01/20/2003 1:13:17 PM PST by Reeses
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To: muslims=borg
Then, too, you have to wear that crazed grin on your face as you ride around, nose in the air, like any Liberal nut case!

Frankly, I think this ban on the Segway is a sign from God that SF is about to change it's political, if not sexual, orientation.

Homeland Defense should be watching for an AlQaida attack somewhere in the Bay area.

58 posted on 01/20/2003 1:46:59 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: Alpha One
"...Hmmm. Isn't bribery an impeachable offense? I suppose when 99% of our "officials" are guilty, they don't fall over each other to launch bribery investigations..."

And I'm 99% sure that a few bribery incidents are the least of the 'skeleton in the closet' worries that a goodly number of our elected officials have.

I think that, on balance, we'd be as well or better led by the denizens of a small town's honky-tonks and pool halls than we are by the ones in power now.

59 posted on 01/20/2003 5:05:51 PM PST by DWSUWF
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To: NewHampshireDuo
“Segway didn’t help themselves by hiring very expensive lobbyists,” he said. “I think that backfired on them, too.”

Segway would have been better off if they gave the money directly to the socialist crooks on the board of stupervisors.

60 posted on 01/20/2003 5:10:01 PM PST by Rome2000
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