Saturday, June 15, 2002

segway lobbies for sidewalks

Whether you call the motorized scooter by the name Ginger, It, the Segway Human Transporter, or "electric personal assistive mobility device," there's been a flury of activity by its creator and manufacturer to bring the vehicle some public visibility. Testing by mail carriers, police, and warehouse workers was only one start to its adoption as a mainstream source of transportation.

The vehicle hasn't been released yet to the public, but its manufacturer, Delaware limited liability company Segway, has been actively courting politicians. Company lobbyists have been visiting state houses, and working to convince legislators to allow use of the motorized scooter on sidewalks.

They've even been attempting to remove the ban that prohibits the use of the vehicles on sidewalks and trails paid for by federal funds. Though, there have been some concerns voiced about the use of the vehicles on federal wilderness trails.

The Center for Injury Research and Policy has compiled a considerable amount of information about the Segway, and includes links to Segway legislation pending as of March 6, 2002 in many statehouses. Twenty four states have passed laws allowing for the vehicle's use, and in four others, legislation awaits governors' signatures. provides a good list of positives and negatives relating to the use of the Segway transporter.

In Delaware, legislation on the Segway moved into the Senate Public Safety Committee on June 11, 2002. Here are some of the Delaware provisions that are part of the bill:
"Section 4198N. Operation of Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Devices (‘EPAMD’).

Nothing in this Title of Delaware Law shall be construed to limit the operation of an EPAMD on the public highways, sidewalks, and bike ways of the State except the following:

A person operating an EPAMD shall obey all speed limits and shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and human powered devices at all times. An operator must also be given an audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian. Failure to obey shall result in a warning for the first offense, $10.00 fine for the second or subsequent offense, and impoundment of up to thirty days for the third or subsequent offenses.

An EPAMD shall not require a license plate or be registered by the Division of Motor Vehicles.

An EPAMD shall be equipped with front, rear, and side reflectors; a system that when employed will enable the operator to bring the device to a controlled stop; and, if the EPAMD is operated between one-half (1/2) hour after sunset and one-half (1/2) hour before sunrise, a lamp emitting a white light which, while the EPAMD is in motion, sufficiently illuminates the area in front of the operator; provided that these provisions shall be satisfied if the operator of the EPAMD wears a headlight and reflectors on his or her person.

No proof of financial responsibility is required for the operation of an EPAMD.
The requirement to give an audible signal everytime you pass a pedestrian may leave some riders with hoarse voices after long trips.

For more news and information about the vehicle, visit Paul Nakada's Segway News, where he is blogging about the appearances of the scooter on the web. (I wish I had found his site before I started writing this post, instead of after it was almost done - his pages are a great resource on the subject)

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