Segway: Traffic Reliever or Sidewalk Menace?

| February 19, 2003

On the open sidewalks of America, folks riding Segway Human Transporters can cruise at speeds of up to 12.5 mph, and roll heads and shoulders above their pedestrian competition with a move-it-or-loose-it attitude. It?s no wonder that critics have dubbed them the SUV of the sidewalk. With the Segway?s release date looming for March, reports Nick Budnick in Willamette Week, sidewalk safety issues concerning the high tech scooter are being hotly debated in cities from Portland, Oregon, to New York, and well-financed lobbyists on both sides of the issue are rallying support. The company that makes the Segway has launched a $30 million nationwide lobbying campaign to make the transporters street-legal. But opposition consumer groups have already claimed victories in several cities, most notably San Francisco, where city officials banned the Segway from sidewalks in early January, citing the danger it poses to pedestrians. City commissioners in Portland are being lobbied to follow suit.
-Nick Garafola