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segway on my sidewalk
January 9, 2003 3:54 PM   Subscribe

I saw the meter reader riding a Segway today. Apparently Seattle has been using them in trials for city employees. While San Francisco has been working to try to ban Segways from the sidewalks, other legislation has already been passed that may affect your ability to make use of America's favorite alternative to walking. Probably a good thing to know before you plunk down some serious dough for one.
posted by jessamyn (35 comments total)

 
Seriously, America's favorite alternative to walking? Lying on the fucking couch.
posted by jonson at 4:00 PM on January 9, 2003


Segway shouldn't be allowed on sidewalks. As somebody who actually bothers to walk I don't need one more device on the sidewalk that allows me to get mowed down. Currently I live in fear of razor scooters, bicycles, skateboards and rascals. Forgive if I'm wrong, but I thought the sidewalk was for walking on - anything with wheels should use the bikelane. If there aren't bikelanes in your city, start a movement. I fear that in ten years there will be so much traffic on the sidewalk that I'll be forced to drive!
posted by elwoodwiles at 4:19 PM on January 9, 2003


This was almost interesting until the comment about "America's favorite alternative to walking." Since Segway's aren't even generally available yet, I suppose this post is America's favorite alternative to thinking.
posted by F Mackenzie at 4:24 PM on January 9, 2003


Segway II.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 4:25 PM on January 9, 2003


Razor scooters, bicycles, and skateboards have issues with stopping on a dime (momentum), whereas this is much less true of the Segway. Add in a slim profile, a turning radius of 0, and a top speed of 12mph (later to be 17-18) and I'm more than happy to share Seattle's sidewalks with them.

They have wheels but the nature of their motion is not such that they properly belong in a bike lane - they'd be as annoying as pedestrians to the bicyclists.
posted by Ryvar at 4:35 PM on January 9, 2003


Seriously, America's favorite alternative to walking? Lying on the fucking couch.

That's generally true of every industrial nation, is it not?
posted by Beholder at 4:37 PM on January 9, 2003


America's favorite alternative to walking

Yep, sorry, I figured the mimic of the relentless hype would read as irony. I want them off the sidewalks as well, and think it's absolute insanity to imply that having to walk or bike to work is somehow a fate worse than death. It's interesting watching a whole new transportation lobbying group [both pro- and anti-] congeal. There is some debate as to how well they can stop on a dime.
posted by jessamyn at 4:40 PM on January 9, 2003


I want them on the sidewalks.
posted by rushmc at 4:58 PM on January 9, 2003


Too fast for the sidewalks, too slow for the road. These things don't belong anywhere but the bike lane. Woe be the segway who jumps in front of me in traffic.
posted by tomorama at 5:53 PM on January 9, 2003


I'm curious how the Segway navigates some of those famously steep hills there in San Francisco. I saw a security guard booking on a Segway at O'Hare last month. First time I saw one. He didn't seem to have any more issues navigating the busy concourse as someone who might be running.
posted by crunchland at 5:57 PM on January 9, 2003


Great. Bikelanes. Another way to make sure city streets are even more screwed up than they already are.

People on bikes should be with the other vehicles where they belong. And they should follow the rules of the road (My #1 reason for deriding biciclists: If you're riding a bike you have hands... USE THEM. Signal your intentions!)
posted by shepd at 5:58 PM on January 9, 2003


America's favorite alternative to walking

yeah, because nobody rides bicycles.
posted by angry modem at 5:59 PM on January 9, 2003


And they should follow the rules of the road

Including the minimum speed limit. Otherwise this is probably the worst solution (though oft-implemented).
posted by rushmc at 6:00 PM on January 9, 2003


I work in downtown Seattle and they've been zipping up and down the block outside my window for two days. Those things can go up and down curbs!

Re the get off the sidewalk comments - it's a question of what you're used to. I was just in Tokyo and was amazed at the cyclists ability to ride on crowded sidewalks without anyone even touching each other. And that's with a cellphone in one hand and a cigarette in the other.
posted by Zombie at 6:06 PM on January 9, 2003


So where do you folks live that have sidewalks packed wall to wall with people? I live in Chicago and the Segway would have plenty of room. The only place that might be a problem is the Loop but with some care it shouldn't be a problem.
posted by @homer at 6:11 PM on January 9, 2003


Zombie: Haven't seen them here in downtown Bellevue (the Microsoft side of the lake east of Seattle for the rest of you) yet but I don't really get out much. This being Bellevue, there's absolutely no foot traffic - everybody, and I do mean every last person drives their personal SUV while talking on their cell phone. Segway would absolutely rule the hizouse around here because the sidewalks stand wide and completely unused.

The only problem is that the city, knowing its clientele (there is no other word for them), sets the traffic lights to make pedestrians wait until they cry - might be a PITA for the Segway.
posted by Ryvar at 6:19 PM on January 9, 2003


So tell me...this Segway... It vibrates?
posted by jpburns at 6:20 PM on January 9, 2003


Love that link, Yelling At Nothing!

I would hate to see these things on the road - they are even slower than bikes and probably harder to get out of the tyre treads. I would also hate to see them on the footpaths, as they are way too fast to mix with pedestrians (as are bikes, scooters, et al)

I only wish they were even available here, so i could have a go - they look like real fun.
posted by dg at 6:29 PM on January 9, 2003


yelling at nothing: that link was great. i knew where it was going, but still had a great laugh.
posted by birdherder at 6:34 PM on January 9, 2003


I fear that in ten years there will be so much traffic on the sidewalk that I'll be forced to drive!

come, luke! come to the dark side! muwahahahahaha!
posted by quonsar at 7:24 PM on January 9, 2003


The next time my daughter asks why the libraries are closed (as Seattle's were over winter break due to budget cuts), I can tell her that the city has more important things to spend money on...like top of the line transportation for meter readers!

I may forward Yelling At Nothing's link to the Mayor of Seattle (nickname: Doughboy).

Note to self: Move to Portland...soon...
posted by Dinzie at 7:32 PM on January 9, 2003


At 20 kph, the segway is four or five times faster than walking pace and, with rider, is heavy enough to break bones on collision. It would be worse than being hit by a bicycle; it is much heavier. It shouldn't be on the sidewalks. Can you imagine one on a busy NY sidewalk? I can't. Well, I can, but my imaginings include fistfights.

The thing is though, at 20 kph, it's slow enough to annoy most cyclists too, who travel at 20 to 30 kph. With its width, as an avowed cyclist, I wouldn't want to see one in a bike lane either (Never mind that bike lanes are an abomination against man and nature).

So, either we rebuild all our cities with a way for the segs between the sidewalk and the street, or we burn everyone we see. I got matches.
posted by bonehead at 7:38 PM on January 9, 2003


This seems a sort of bizarre preemptive strike, so to speak.

How about waiting until Segways are actually on the street and finding out if there are any problems before banning them outright. The same applies to GE, among many others.

With these types of policies, we would have banned the radio (there were worries about the effects of it waves), cars (people still worry about them) and cell phones (remember the "watch out! you'll get cancer!" ridiculousness?).
posted by Kevs at 8:34 PM on January 9, 2003


rush: Including the minimum speed limit. Otherwise this is probably the worst solution (though oft-implemented).

Um, most streets used by cyclists do not have a minimum speed limit. And do we really need a repeat of this thread in which you fail to respond to the shitloads of evidence than cycling with traffic is less risky than cycling on sidewalks, walking on sidewalks, and even walking up and down stairs?

Kevs: How about waiting until Segways are actually on the street and finding out if there are any problems before banning them outright. The same applies to GE, among many others.

Unfortunately the best solution makes too much sense to be implemented.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:03 PM on January 9, 2003


Yay!!! Now I can go places without actually having to effect my heart-rate!

I can HEAR myself getting fatter!
posted by shadow45 at 9:10 PM on January 9, 2003


"Seriously, America's favorite alternative to walking? Lying on the fucking couch."

Never. That couch is far too...shall we say...DNA-rich. I lie on the lying-on couch, and reserve the fucking couch for its intended purpose.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:11 PM on January 9, 2003


I've ridden one. Quite maneuverable and fun to ride. From my first-hand experience, I see absolutely no reason to ban them from sidewalks.
posted by antoine_bugleboy at 9:11 PM on January 9, 2003


I want them on the sidewalks.

I want them on freeways.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 10:07 PM on January 9, 2003


I for one welcome our new non-walking overlords.
posted by RylandDotNet at 10:12 PM on January 9, 2003


C'mon kids, give em a chance.

Ride one first.
Get run over by one first.

Then we can decide!

I guess I need to get over to Seattle more often in daylight to see these things zippin' around. Sounds exciting.
I wonder if they get stopped every 2 minutes by people wanting a ride . . .
posted by cinderful at 11:04 PM on January 9, 2003


Thinking about the safety issue today, some statistics that I dug up in the bicycle safety flame fest not too long ago. Primarily to popular belief, the differences in speed between motor vehicles and bicycles are not a major issue. Only a small minority of bicycle accidents occur because of a faster vehicle hitting the bicycle from behind. Instead, the largest volume of accidents occur due to right-of-way conflicts at intersections, entryways, and crossings. (Which is one of the reasons why I am skeptical about bicycle lanes. They remove bicycles out of line of sight, and force bicycles to reemerge with traffic at intersections.) With this in mind, it would seem that the ideal form of regulation would be to make segways visible, and to require that operators pass a basic test so that they know that stop signs apply to all vehicles, not just to cars.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:23 PM on January 10, 2003


The cops at the Atlanta airport ride around on Segways now! I was shocked to see it when I got back from vacation. The cops seem to enjoy it though...
posted by adrober at 6:31 PM on January 10, 2003


Presumably, by beefing things up a bit, there's no reason why you couldn't put a fucking couch on Segway undercarriage. You won't even need to get up. Just lean a bit here and there to navigate. That would rock.
posted by marvin at 10:01 PM on January 10, 2003


they are faster than walking, but they aren't a large vehicle, thats why they are so cool. they can go slower than normal walking speed and take up less space than a large person walking. give them a chance, then ban them if they are a problem. .
posted by tomplus2 at 11:13 PM on January 10, 2003


Yeah, give large people a chance and then ban them if they are a problem.
posted by toothless joe at 10:14 AM on January 13, 2003


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