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September 27, 2010 9:04 AM   Subscribe

The owner of Segway, James Heselden, has died, after accidentally driving his Segway over a cliff. This, only two months after the Department of Justice, which implements the American Disabilities Act, addressed Segway as a mobility device for disabled persons.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (118 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by roll truck roll at 9:08 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's too bad that a legitimately sad thing will really only be played for lulz from now on.
posted by josher71 at 9:09 AM on September 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


Took me a second to parse that it wasn't the inventor, Dean Kamen.
posted by beepbeepboopboop at 9:10 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is going to decay rapidly into LOLSEGWAY pile-on, but the assisted mobility aspect is interesting. I had nothing redeeming to say about Segways until I learned they offered advantages for people with certain disabilities (via this post, ironically, which was originally another LOLSEGWAY post).
posted by availablelight at 9:10 AM on September 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


This seems like a strange accident. I always wonder about suicide (or drunkenness) with odd deaths like this.

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posted by bearwife at 9:11 AM on September 27, 2010


First GPS units sending people off cliffs and now this. Further evidence of the rise of the machines.
posted by ob at 9:13 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


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posted by leotrotsky at 9:13 AM on September 27, 2010 [41 favorites]


LOLSEGWAY!
posted by clarknova at 9:15 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's just bad news. One has to wonder, albeit morbidly, what he was thinking on his descent into the drink, Segway-over-tea kettle. Curious as to why nobody feels it's suspicious. Is it customary to go Segway-ing near the edges of cliffs?
posted by PuppyCat at 9:16 AM on September 27, 2010


It's too bad that a legitimately sad thing will really only be played for lulz from now on.

I guess the serious, non-lulzian aspect would be "how safe are segways?"

I've never used one. I can understand the benefits for certain people, but are they as easily controlled as bicycles, wheelchairs, or other self-powered vehicles?

Judging by W's infamous performance, I would guess no, but I got into some not-so-great situations when I was in a wheelchair, so I cannot talk.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:16 AM on September 27, 2010


Also, a blast from MeFi's past on the hype around "Ginger"/"IT."
posted by availablelight at 9:17 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here is Segway's comment. Mr Heselden was also the CEO of a company that produces protective barriers.

Also he was a great philanthropist.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:18 AM on September 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


Yeah the people A. making jokes and/or B. saying that this is "ironic" are idiots. It's a really awful accident but absolutely nothing in the article even suggests he died because of a machine malfunction. In other words he didn't die because he was riding a Segway; he died because he fell 30 feet off a cliff into a river. That's not "ironic." It just sucks.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:18 AM on September 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


This Guardian article gives a bit more detail about Jimi Heselden who had quite an interesting life.
posted by i_cola at 9:19 AM on September 27, 2010


"I've made a terrible mistake..." /GOB Bluth
posted by Optamystic at 9:20 AM on September 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


I wanted to make a jokey post about this so badly and then thought better of it and just dumped a link in metatalk instead.
posted by empath at 9:22 AM on September 27, 2010


Any more information on this? I'd like to know more about the circumstances - was he paralleling the cliff, and accidentally dropped a wheel over the edge? Did he have a heart attack and just drive straight off?

So much of the news, just isn't.
posted by Xoebe at 9:22 AM on September 27, 2010


I guess the serious, non-lulzian aspect would be "how safe are segways?"

Well that's like asking "how safe are bicycles?" One of the scariest moments in my life came when I was in grade school and I lost balance on the way to school right on the guard-rail-less edge of a twenty foot ravine. But that wasn't because bicycles are unsafe. There just seems to be a lot of missing information here, mainly related to what he was doing and why he was near a cliff.

It's funny you mention the Bush incident because that's why I fail to see how a malfunction is what caused an accident like this- if a Segway stops working, it doesn't lose control and you go careening toward your doom. Unless you're in Cirque De Soleil if the machine isn't on you will lose your balance and fall off.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:24 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


A cliff? In England???

/reads

He was driving it over the Yorkshire Moors? WTF? That just seems like a self obviously bad idea.
posted by Artw at 9:24 AM on September 27, 2010


Judging by W's infamous performance, I would guess no

Wasn't the problem there that W didn't turn the Segway on before he tried to use it? I guess though it would be better if the inert state of a Segway was stable.

In terms of mobility products, I always thought the iBOT was much more exciting for people with certain disabilities, but it looks like it's no longer produced.
posted by kmz at 9:25 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


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posted by brundlefly at 9:26 AM on September 27, 2010


Yes, it's funny, and yes, I feel guilty for saying that, but I'm human. But I'm sure plenty of automotive engineers and executives and factory workers have gone in auto accidents, too. And they were human, too.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:27 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


East Manitoba and XQUZYPHYR--thanks for your posts reflecting sensitivity and sensibility. Accidents happen--he was a more than generous philanthropist and nothing in this particular incident warrants jest no matter how witty. Let some time pass.
posted by rmhsinc at 9:27 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


A cliff? In England???

posted by Artw


Uhh... what? Are you mistaking us for Holland, perhaps? The bluebirds are giving you very disapproving looks, sir.
posted by Decani at 9:28 AM on September 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


Sacrifices must be made.
— Otto Lilienthal

Shame. As others have said, this will be a big Segway joke. I'm sure Leno and Letterman will be all over it tonight. And while there's plenty of jokes to be made about the Segway, the technology behind it is amazing and has plenty of practical uses for the disabled.
posted by bondcliff at 9:29 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here is Segway's comment.

On their blog entitled "The Last Mile." While the term most likely refers to the final link from destination and major transportation system, it reads like a sad, almost sarcastic obituary heading. For posterity, here's a direct link to the blog post.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:30 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I didn't mean the OP as a joke. It sounds like a horrid, horrid death.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:31 AM on September 27, 2010


Police said a witness had reported seeing a man fall Sunday over a 30-foot (9-meter) drop into the river near Boston Spa, 140 miles (225 kilometers) north of London.

Geography for Americans.
posted by srboisvert at 9:31 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's like ray-ay-ain on your wedding day.
posted by keratacon at 9:31 AM on September 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


When Segways first came out, a neighbor bought one to use for his three mile commute. I would watch him zoom away in a suit, tie, and bike helmet each morning, and feel like the future was almost here.

Now it will never come.

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posted by miyabo at 9:32 AM on September 27, 2010


from the USA Today article:
near Boston Spa, 140 miles (225 kilometers) north of London.

For those of you outside the UK, this does well at illustrating what it's like to live in a country that's 700 miles of completely flat featurelessness with one landmark.
posted by emmtee at 9:33 AM on September 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


Uhh... what? Are you mistaking us for Holland, perhaps? The bluebirds are giving you very disapproving looks, sir.

Yeah, but it's not like we have an over-abundance of non-coastal cliffs. You have to go pretty far out of your way to die in a cliff-based segway accident.
posted by Artw at 9:34 AM on September 27, 2010


I considered posting this, until I realized the comments would all be of the "Live by the Segway, die by the Segway" variety.

MeFi of course steps up its game. Way to go, thread-rescuers (-unshitters?).
posted by Eideteker at 9:34 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a really awful accident but absolutely nothing in the article even suggests he died because of a machine malfunction. In other words he didn't die because he was riding a Segway; he died because he fell 30 feet off a cliff into a river. That's not "ironic."

It's ironic because deadly Segway accidents are extremely rare (possibly unprecedented, I had never heard of one before this), and out of the tens of thousands of Segway owners out there, the one who died on one is the owner of the company. I think the jokes are in poor taste, but this event is definitely an example of situational irony in my opinion.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:35 AM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


List of inventors killed by their own inventions
posted by Mwongozi at 9:39 AM on September 27, 2010 [9 favorites]


700 miles of completely flat featurelessness with one landmark

Well, not completely flat.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:39 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


how do you replace a sandbag?
posted by clavdivs at 9:40 AM on September 27, 2010


I've never used one. I can understand the benefits for certain people, but are they as easily controlled as bicycles, wheelchairs, or other self-powered vehicles?

I've never used one either, but I have crashed bicycles, wheelchairs, office chairs, and lots of other modes of transport, so I think that it's probably fair to say that any kind of vehicle can be dangerous. Particularly when used in proximity to things like cliffs.

Based on how rarely I hear about Segway related deaths, I'd guess they are probably as safe if not safer than other forms of travel.
posted by quin at 9:41 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


"In other words he didn't die because he was riding a Segway; he died because he fell 30 feet off a cliff into a river. That's not "ironic." It just sucks."

Ironically, he hated falling 30 feet off a cliff into a river to his death, and had remarked upon it often.
posted by klangklangston at 9:48 AM on September 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


how do you replace a sandbag?

With a 7’ x 5’ x 100’ collapsible wire mesh container lined with heavy duty fabric that you fill quickly with sand or dirt using a front loader, which beats the shit out of loading hundreds of sandbags. The HESCO Bastion is a very popular piece of kit.
posted by IanMorr at 9:51 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


700 miles of completely flat featurelessness with one landmark!!


You must be kidding. I'd suggest you get in your car and go have a look around. You state 700 miles which must include Scotland too. That's 700 miles af incredible scenery and lots of cliffs and hills. You might just want to travel a bit north!
posted by GamesRmeLife at 9:52 AM on September 27, 2010


List of inventors killed by their own inventions

That's what they get for playing God.

*dramatic chord*
posted by brundlefly at 9:54 AM on September 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


I've never used one. I can understand the benefits for certain people, but are they as easily controlled as bicycles, wheelchairs, or other self-powered vehicles?

I have ridden a segway for 5 minutes (best office party toy EVER), and a bicycle since... oh god, long time. After 5 minutes I feel I have just about as much control on the segway as on the bicycle. Give me an hour and I could be popping wheelies or something.
posted by whatzit at 9:55 AM on September 27, 2010


Some years back I met Steve Wozniac back stage at a tech conference. He let the small group of us ride his Segway. I came exceptionally close to crashing at high speed into folding chairs at which point I was banned.
posted by humanfont at 9:56 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


like a bailey bridge, that is quite clever.
posted by clavdivs at 9:57 AM on September 27, 2010


Well, not completely flat.

No, we have couple of hills in London. Primrose Hill is very nearly a cliff.
posted by londonmark at 9:58 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Someone forgot to activate the or sarcasm detector. Meanwhile:

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posted by zoogleplex at 9:59 AM on September 27, 2010


Man, I'm scared to death of falling off the edge of a cliff when I'm hiking, biking, driving, etc. What a terrible way to go. And from what I'm reading, it looks like he was a pretty amazing guy and that his death is a tremendous loss on many levels. Tragic.

Also, there's nothing ironic about it. And he's not an inventor killed by his invention. He wasn't killed by the Segway and he didn't invent it, either.

Now, if his name had been Sir Cliff Segway, then the lulz would be justified.
posted by The World Famous at 9:59 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


More details
posted by Artw at 9:59 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was going to post this earlier, but then I got really interested in Heselden's history as a laid-off miner who became a millionaire and it didn't seem so funny anymore.
Also, he was apparently testing a new cross country version of the Segway, so it wasn't that weird that he went off a cliff.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:59 AM on September 27, 2010


I tipped a Sinclair C5 once.
posted by Artw at 10:01 AM on September 27, 2010


I'm pretty sure that he - a couple of hours earlier - saw Sting work at a hotel.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 10:03 AM on September 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


He was driving it over the Yorkshire Moors? WTF? That just seems like a self obviously bad idea.

Apparently it was a new 'off-road' version.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:05 AM on September 27, 2010


Is anybody else weirded-out by the amount of press coverage that this story is getting?

Too much schadenfreude, methinks.
posted by schmod at 10:06 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


That's not "ironic." It just sucks.

...

Mr Heselden was also the CEO of a company that produces protective barriers.

Your irony meter seems to be malfunctioning. (Ironic != Funny)

While the term most likely refers to the final link from destination and major transportation system, it reads like a sad, almost sarcastic obituary heading.

I was sort of amazed myself. Between the "last mile" and the leasing-promo picture with the guy with hands and arms in the air, the blog looks like a cruel joke at first glance.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:07 AM on September 27, 2010


>>700 miles of completely flat featurelessness with one landmark!!

> You must be kidding. I'd suggest you get in your car and go have a look around. You state 700 miles which must include Scotland too. That's 700 miles af incredible scenery and lots of cliffs and hills. You might just want to travel a bit north!


So much for the claim that the British have a proper, non-Alanis understanding of the word "irony".
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:14 AM on September 27, 2010


Irony and sarcasm are not the same thing.
posted by The World Famous at 10:16 AM on September 27, 2010


I think it is natural that this tragedy is getting a lot of press, since it contains two surprising elements: that someone died on a Segway, which is very unexpected, and that that someone owned the Segway company. Again, very unexpected. Our attention is drawn to an event so unusual, but that's different from schadenfreude.
posted by found missing at 10:18 AM on September 27, 2010


There isn't any evidence (that I've seen) that the Segway was at fault, or even if his fall was the result of poor riding skills. For all we know, he had a heart attack and just fell off the device. Also, I'm having trouble seeing anywhere in that area that has a 30 foot drop.
posted by hellphish at 10:20 AM on September 27, 2010


The Segway Curse.

a new cross country version of the Segway

Probably a militarized version. His blast walls were originally for civilian use (landscape wall retention) and the military bought them for other purposes. He probably saw a similar path for the Segway, adopt a civilian technology for military use.

posted by stbalbach at 10:20 AM on September 27, 2010


While I realize Heselden's death had nothing to do with equipment malfunction, I have to recount the terror of Mrs. Everichon having a Segway just die on a hill ascent. This resulted in ~120lbs of dead weight suddenly rolling backwards down hill.

Which, in retrospect, was a little funny, but it was more WTF and ass-over-tincups and now we do not mess with Segways.

Also:

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posted by everichon at 10:21 AM on September 27, 2010


Yeah the people A. making jokes and/or B. saying that this is "ironic" are idiots.

No, it really is funny, just not to you. Tragedy is a grown man riding a Segway, comedy is a grown man riding a Segway over a cliff to his death.
posted by stavrogin at 10:23 AM on September 27, 2010 [17 favorites]


First rule of comedy: If someone on Metafilter says something isn't funny, chances are it is.
posted by Artw at 10:26 AM on September 27, 2010 [12 favorites]


The bluebirds are giving you very disapproving looks, sir.

From America. Where they live.
posted by vbfg at 10:26 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


So here's what I want to know - where the fuck is Bedknobs and Broomsticks supposed to be set?
posted by Artw at 10:29 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Irony and sarcasm are not the same thing.

Which is not the same as saying that sarcasm is not irony.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:34 AM on September 27, 2010


Ironically the segway is largely made of plastic, not iron.
posted by Artw at 10:35 AM on September 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


Hi, I've fallen off a Segway. Actually, I sort of threw myself off of it as I lost control going down a hill. That being said, I've also fallen off of a bicycle, a unicycle, and a moveable set piece. Only on the Segway was I wearing a helmet.

My condolences to Mr. Heselden's friends and family.
posted by muddgirl at 10:38 AM on September 27, 2010


It's ironic because deadly Segway accidents are extremely rare (possibly unprecedented, I had never heard of one before this), and out of the tens of thousands of Segway owners out there, the one who died on one is the owner of the company. I think the jokes are in poor taste, but this event is definitely an example of situational irony in my opinion.

The common perception of Segways isn't that they're safe; it's that they're expensive, outlandish machines most decidedly not for the common person -- which opens them and their owners up to light ridicule. So an event like this tends to be greeted with the same HAH-HAW as the discovery that botox injections may be unsafe -- as a vindication that the reader's intuitive rejection was -- of course! -- right on the money.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:41 AM on September 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


The Segway is largely made of aluminum, not iron.
posted by hellphish at 10:41 AM on September 27, 2010


@Mwongozi
That list is missing Sir William Blunt-Instrument.
posted by yeolcoatl at 10:42 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Is it customary to go Segway-ing near the edges of cliffs?"

Probably as customary as riding bicycles near the edges of cliffs.
posted by Mitheral at 10:44 AM on September 27, 2010


He died doing what he loved.
posted by Mister_A at 10:53 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some people have choked to death on ham recently. This, only months after others have enjoyed ham as part of a delicious breakfast.
posted by Shike at 10:54 AM on September 27, 2010


So here's what I want to know - where the fuck is Bedknobs and Broomsticks supposed to be set?

Hell.
posted by The World Famous at 10:55 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Eating ham for breakfast is slow suicide.
posted by Mister_A at 11:06 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


availablelight: "This is going to decay rapidly into LOLSEGWAY pile-on, but the assisted mobility aspect is interesting. I had nothing redeeming to say about Segways until I learned they offered advantages for people with certain disabilities (via this post, ironically, which was originally another LOLSEGWAY post)."

It also relates the whole stupid attitude we have towards invisible illnesses and what a shit society we are where we keep judging people on appearances and our preconceived notions of what constitutes disability instead of actually letting people deal with their struggle on their own. Christ. Hopefully that assmunch learned, not just to apologize to *her* but to not judge people in such situations in general (and I'm sure I'm more than guilty of it myself at times).
posted by symbioid at 11:11 AM on September 27, 2010


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posted by effugas at 11:37 AM on September 27, 2010


I used to roll my eyes at the herds of tourists roaming Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco on onganized Segway Tours. Except they looked like they were having so much damned fun! So one day spouse and I ponied up the bucks and did a tour - complete with dorky reflector vest and helmet. And it was the coolest. sensation. evah.
posted by memewit at 11:58 AM on September 27, 2010


I used to be viscerally afraid of those Hoveround commercials where the grandmother goes zooming off to the Grand Canyon on her new mobility scooter. I feel so vindicated.
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 12:03 PM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's probably for the best that I didn't think of "He's riding a Segway to heaven" when I had the 'new post' page up earlier.
posted by empath at 12:11 PM on September 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


I will add that they are very, very fun to ride. Still: impossibly dorky.
posted by everichon at 12:19 PM on September 27, 2010


EVERYTHING NEW IS EVIL AND WILL DESTROY US ALL
posted by JHarris at 12:35 PM on September 27, 2010


It's probably for the best that I didn't think of "He's riding a Segway to heaven" when I had the 'new post' page up earlier.

I was debating between "A wheel shame" and "his life in the balance." Then I read more about it and lost the lulz.
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:42 PM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


"No novelist is dearer to me than Robert Musil. He died one morning while lifting weights. When I lift them myself, I keep anxiously checking my pulse, and I am afraid of dropping dead, for to die with a weight in my hand like my revered author would make me an epigone so unbelievable, frenetic and fanatical as immediately to assure me of ridiculous immortality." (Milan Kundera)

I'm sorry, but being the owner of Segway and killing yourself driving a Segway over a cliff grants you ridiculous immortality.
posted by Dumsnill at 12:47 PM on September 27, 2010


Truth is always stranger than fiction. And often funnier. This is should be really sad.
posted by es el queso at 12:57 PM on September 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


Making jokes does not imply disrespect. This can be (and is) sad and amusing at the same time.
posted by rocket88 at 1:01 PM on September 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


You have to go pretty far out of your way to die in a cliff-based segway accident.

I think you just have to go over the edge.
posted by dirigibleman at 1:27 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


*sigh*
posted by punkfloyd at 1:36 PM on September 27, 2010


A death is horrible, any way you look at it, but if there is an afterlife, this guy is getting SO much shit, right now.
posted by Danf at 1:38 PM on September 27, 2010


Judging by W's infamous performance, I would guess no

Wasn't the problem there that W didn't turn the Segway on before he tried to use it?

You are correct, kmz. The imbecile was actually so fucking stupid, he got on the thing while it was turned off, and proceeded to assume it would do his bidding.

Segways are safe. Bushes aren't.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:40 PM on September 27, 2010


Yeah, but it's not like we have an over-abundance of non-coastal cliffs. You have to go pretty far out of your way to die in a cliff-based segway accident.
posted by Artw at 5:34 PM on September 27


Let me take a wild guess here: you've never actually been to England, have you?

I actually do have bad teeth, though.
posted by Decani at 1:44 PM on September 27, 2010


Let me take a wild guess here: you've never actually been to England, have you?

Well, asides from the first 30 years of my life.

But to be fair, many of those were in Bedfordshire, which is fairly flat.
posted by Artw at 1:50 PM on September 27, 2010


OK. I have done the following, not at the same time: I do not, however, own any portion of Segway. And they're pretty safe, not much more dangerous than walking really. And I feel bad for the guy. But this is still kind of funny, as funny as someone dying can be.
posted by me & my monkey at 2:00 PM on September 27, 2010


This, only two months after the Department of Justice, which implements the American Disabilities Act, addressed Segway as a mobility device for disabled persons.

I don't know more than an sample of 1, but a girl on my campus who can't walk without a lot of difficulty is able to Segway across campus. Since she's not likely to be tootling around cliffs, I think it's just a tad irrational to suppose her Segway is dangerous based on this sample of 1.
posted by BungaDunga at 2:01 PM on September 27, 2010


But to be fair, many of those were in Bedfordshire, which is fairly flat.
posted by Artw at 9:50 PM on September 27


Egads! My most heartfelt commiserations, sir. Go back and get yourself to Cornwall, Yorkshire, Derbyshire and the lakes. Bedfordshire is a nothing county.
posted by Decani at 2:21 PM on September 27, 2010


I am aware of them. England is still not, for the most part, a country with an over abundance of un-marked cliffs.
posted by Artw at 2:24 PM on September 27, 2010



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Wouldn't it be more like:


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0 _ _ _ 0
posted by philip-random at 2:26 PM on September 27, 2010


List of inventors killed by their own inventions

"Li Si (208 BC) (Chinese first minister) was executed by The Five Pains method which he had devised."

Hmmm ... maybe that's where the phrase "Cum Si, Cum Saw" originates!
posted by Twang at 2:34 PM on September 27, 2010


I am aware of them. England is still not, for the most part, a country with an over abundance of un-marked cliffs.
posted by Artw at 10:24 PM on September 27


An over-abundance? Certainly not. But a respectable plenitude? Most assuredly. Fuck off, Bedfordshire boy! ;-)
posted by Decani at 2:40 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sheesh, sounds like a pretty terrifying way to go. I just can't laugh about this even though there is definitely some irony here.

All the guffawing must be mighty tough on this man's loved ones.
posted by kinnakeet at 2:55 PM on September 27, 2010


sorry the guy died
as a wheelchair user, i can't imagine being strapped into one of those suckers. when you can't walk, being that elevated is scary
posted by angrycat at 3:16 PM on September 27, 2010


i can't imagine being strapped into one of those suckers

I don't think the current Segway design could function as an assistive device for people who can not support their body weight on their limbs. I think strapping someone to either a bicycle or a Segway is a Bad Idea. I have heard a few people have modified their Segways into a type of chair, but even in that case I would be extremely cautious about "strapping" myself in until I could devise an adequate dead man's switch.
posted by muddgirl at 3:26 PM on September 27, 2010


He segued to another plane of being.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:23 PM on September 27, 2010


Lots of disabled people have made amazing one-off chairs using the Segway as a base.
posted by hellphish at 5:16 PM on September 27, 2010


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBpFcJdUPIs
posted by hellphish at 5:18 PM on September 27, 2010


I wonder what Adam Savage would say?
posted by bwg at 5:39 PM on September 27, 2010


In other words he didn't die because he was riding a Segway; he died because he fell 30 feet off a cliff into a river. That's not "ironic." It just sucks.

I see: he would have been equally likely to just walk right off that cliff.
posted by cogneuro at 6:03 PM on September 27, 2010


I see: he would have been equally likely to just walk right off that cliff.

Is there any reason to believe that some failure of the Segway occurred or had any part of the accident? If not, then, yes, he would have been equally likely to just walk right off that cliff. People on foot fall off of cliffs all the time, sometimes to their death.
posted by The World Famous at 6:08 PM on September 27, 2010


I can imagine that the fun you can have on a regular Segway is magnified considerably in the off-road version, so it would seem likely that anyone riding one out in the wild would be tooling around like crazy and not really paying as close attention to where they were headed as they ought. Seems pretty standard for any off-road recreation vehicle...most accidents happen because someone was goofing off, because it's fun.
posted by nightchrome at 6:08 PM on September 27, 2010


cogneuro: "I see: he would have been equally likely to just walk right off that cliff"

I don't know about equally likely but people walking fall off of cliffs all the time.
posted by Mitheral at 6:31 PM on September 27, 2010


I'm sorry for the sad news, but I can see the funny and ironic parts, too.

Personally, I'm still bummed that the Segway ended up being priced so high. My commute would be a lot more fun if I were riding on a goofy device that looks like an old lawnmower, but there's no way I can justify that much money.
posted by Forktine at 6:32 PM on September 27, 2010


One has to wonder, albeit morbidly, what he was thinking on his descent into the drink, Segway-over-tea kettle.

Falling 30 feet takes less than a second. I doubt that he had time to do anything but recognize he was falling.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:42 PM on September 27, 2010


Oh my god. I saw 'Segway', was preparing my Gob joke, and then I reread that first sentence. That's got to be a freak accident, though, right? A typical Segway rider wouldn't be riding anywhere near a cliff, right????

.
posted by Mael Oui at 8:27 PM on September 27, 2010


The issue isn't how often people walk off cliffs. It's, given an equal number of opportunities, would you be more likely to walk off a cliff or drive a segway off it?

Classic base rate neglect.
posted by cogneuro at 9:26 PM on September 27, 2010


Sure. But as far as I know there is only a single instance of anyone ever falling off a cliff accompanied by a segway (remember we don't even know if he even rode the segway off the cliff), pretty tough to get a trend or probability in either direction off a single event.
posted by Mitheral at 9:56 PM on September 27, 2010


Here is Segway's comment. Mr Heselden was also the CEO of a company that produces protective barriers.

OK, now that's funny.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:13 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


On the plus side, he finally found a way to make a Segway go faster than 12 mph.
posted by w0mbat at 11:52 PM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


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