Saturday, October 28, 2006
Concerns and objections to Segways being allowed on public roadways and sidewalks
- Robyn Reisler, owner of Segway of Ontario, is quoted in the Globe and Mail (10/21/06 Ontario pilot project gives Segway green light) as saying It (Segway) is designed to be pedestrian-friendly and go on the sidewalk; it is not built to go up against 3,000-pound cars (and trucks) that can go 10 times faster.
- During the pilot, Segways will be treated like pedestrians when they operate on the sidewalk and like a bicycle when they operate on the shoulder of the road. This means:
No driver's licence required
No written test required
No vehicle registration or plate required
No requirement for insurance.
- While lights and a bell are required, there are no specifications as to minimum requirements. Right now a bicycle bell and a pen light flashlight would be acceptable --- the rear light may be attached to the person.
- A 14-year-old person of disability (with or without training) being approved to drive on Ontario roadways is simply unacceptable!
Just stop and think about it!
Reference Ontario Ministry of Transportation site:
o Segway Human Transporter
o FAQ re Segway Pilot Test
B) Concerns and objections to the Segway
being treated as a pedestrian for people of all
1.) The impact of collisions with pedestrians. The Toronto Pedestrian Committee and the Works Committee at numerous meetings over the past year (2005) have made very clear with strong recommendations to preserve the sanctity of the sidewalks as being a safe zone from motorized vehicular traffic.
2.) The impact of collisions between Segway users (especially operating in limited space)
3.) The threat and discomfort felt by pedestrians, which may discourage walking and use of sidewalks. Pedestrians are obstacles! according to the Segway Corp reference page 35 of the training manual for Segway drivers refers to children, pedestrians, pets, vehicles and bicycles as obstacles or potential hazards. The manual also warns: If you let go of the Segway when it is moving at any speed, it could travel much farther, risking injury to others. The manual even warns that the motorized Segway can travel on its own if something is placed on the platform or if there is too much weight on the handlebars.
4.) Competition for already limited space on the sidewalk
5.) Likelihood of crashes between Segway users and motorists (the two most common causes of bicycle/motor vehicle crashes are wrong-way riding and riding on the sidewalk, both of which the Segway would presumably be doing)
6.) This sets a precedent for other motorized vehicles i.e. electric
and motorized scooters, pocket crotch rockets, levitating
hover scooters which would no doubt be less appropriate to use on
7.) There is no way to enforce speed limits on the sidewalk.
8.) The speed governing mechanism on the Segway can be easily over-ridden; speed key selection is at the operators discretion. Segway speeds are totally at the operator’s discretion. For the basic Segway HT model the world speed record is 20.54 mph set at the first annual Segway Time Trials in August, 2003.
9.) We have no research on the operating characteristics of a Segway or the rider. Although the Segway has internal gyroscopes for stability, the driver of the device does not. And unlike other motor vehicles, the driver of the Segway is standing unrestrained, not sitting. The operator’s high center of gravity is likely to pull him/her off of the scooter in a quick turn.
10.) It is troubling that the manufacturer has offered no data to support its safety claims. For example: they claim that a Segway is safer than a bicycle or skateboard, however, no injury data exist and no crash test data have been revealed. Reassurances from manufacturer representatives and a brief demonstration of the product, without independent objective evaluation and data, are inadequate criteria for departure from current law that exists to protect both device operators and pedestrians.
11.) Using sidewalk bicycle accident statistics and crash analysis provides useful insight into the most likely crash scenarios and best practices to recommend for EPAMD use.
- Sidewalks have been found to be particularly hazardous and inconvenient places for bicycle (read EPAMD) operation.
- Falls and collisions with obstacles, pedestrians, and other cyclists are much more frequent per bicycling (EPAMD) mile on sidewalks than on roadways
12.) If Segways are to be used by the disabled there has to be qualification of disability in order to legitimize the use of a Segway as a disability device. Most theme parks including Disney in 2004 banned Segways due to what they saw as Segways legal problems arising from potential safety issues. Not even the disabled are allowed the use of Segways due to the problem of identification of the truly disabled and those who are looking to game the system and take advantage of accommodations for the disabled.
13.) There are numerous medical conditions for persons with disability that should refrain from using Segways according to Transport Canada’s Centre for Electric Vehicle Experimentation in Quebec (CEVEQ).
14.) The social justice impacts of allowing an expensive device available to a limited population to dominate public space
15.) What happens where sidewalks dont exist or come to a stop and the road has speeds in excess of 25mph?
16.) Segway scooters to go up to 12.5 mph on the sidewalk, yet sidewalks are designed for typical walking speeds of approximately 3 mph. Having vehicles moving 4 times faster than pedestrian traffic in the same space is simply not safe.
17.) The National Safety Council has determined that the average reaction time for an emergency braking situation is three-quarters of a second. At even 12mph, a Segway would therefore travel an average of 13 feet before the user would even initiate braking. Segway claims that the device could then be stopped in an additional 5 feet (which would be a remarkable 1g of deceleration if true) for a total stopping distance of 18 feet. Again, this would be completely unsafe for sidewalk use.
18.) Energy increases with the square of velocity. This means the energy expended in a crash of a rider on a 80 lb Segway scooter going 12 mph would be approximately 25 times greater than for a person walking.
19.) Pedestrians are not regulated traffic and do not travel in a straight line. Vehicles going up to 12.5 mph should not be mixed with pedestrians. Fast moving vehicles on the sidewalk would be especially dangerous to those with visual impairments.
20.) There is no viable way to enforce safe operation of Segways on the sidewalks.
21.) Segway users are not required to have insurance, though the devices are
demonstrably dangerous to operate on a sidewalk.
22.) Segways are virtually silent, and therefore a serious menace to the visually impaired.
23.) Segways will eventually have mechanical and electrical failures preventing them from being operated in a safe manner. There has been more than a few safety recalls since they were introduced 5 years ago.
23.) Safe pedestrian environments should not require helmets!
24.) No FDA or CMA approval of the Segway as a medical device. Johnson and Johnson has exclusive rights to the medical uses of the balancing technology found within the iBOT and Segway HT. Dean Kamens company Segway Inc. hold the patent and marketing rights to the Segway technology for all other uses except those medical uses. This is the reason why Segways may never be approved as medical devices by the FDA. And This also will explain why the Segway Corp will probably not get involved or even respond to any request for safety and crash test data for use of the Segway a device for people of disability.
25.) In the event that EPAMDs, like the Segway, were ever to be approved as medical devices there would be major implications that would have to be considered. As a disability device under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2001). The new Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (aka Bill 118, passed by the Ontario Legislature May 10, 2005) will have further linkage to any recognition of EPAMDs like the Segway being classified as disability defined personal assistive mobility devices.
26.) Many groups have asked for a ban on Segways including disabled groups
It is the opinion of Innovative Mobility, that this is flawed and poor judgment legislation that puts everyone at risk whether the Segway operator and/or sidewalk and roadway stakeholders.
For a full spectrum evaluation and analysis of all Innovative Mobility's Segway concerns please visit all our sites at:
1.) http://www.segwayforontario.blogspot.com/ "Segway for Ontario (an antithesis)"
2.) http://www.segwaycaveats.blogspot.com/ "Segway Caveats for Municipal Council Consideration"
3.) http://www.segwaydisabled.blogspot.com/ "Segways are not Disability Devices"
4.) http://www.segwaypilotproject.blogspot.com/ "Pilot Project For Segway In Ontario Is A Mistake"
5.) http://www.segwayillegalinontario.blogspot.com/ "Segway Riders Face Stiff Fines In Ontario"
Disclaimer:The word “segway” has come to mean a whole myriad of “fun” sidewalk toys in todays lexicon. Whether it is a two, three or four wheel --- electrically or gas powered ---“personal assistance vehicle”, “personal mobility device” or whatever --- under the trade name Segway, Embrio, Nolet Electric Cruiser, Rad2Go Electric Chariot --- or colloquially as “ginger”, “ruth” or “fred”, --- they do not belong on the sidewalk. Innovative Mobility does not see these vehicles, regardles of what they may be called, as evil but rather innovative and amazing technology that belong on the roadways and not on public pedestrian pathways where they present a clear and present risk to pedestrians and other City stakeholders. Our mantra is pure and simple to all municipalities and regulating bodies “Please keep the sidewalks safe and do not provide preferential sidewalk access to the wealthy” by allowing them to use the sidewalks as their playground”; “there is simply too many open ended and unanswered questions to allow even limited trials of these sidewalk SUV’s or to approve only for use by persons with disability.” Bill Brunton for Innovative Mobility
The aforesaid is the opinion of Innovative Mobility based on the best available
information available today. As we have said before “Segways are not evil,
we believe that they are innovative and phenomenal technology – but they do not
belong on the sidewalk or any public trails or pathways used by seniors or
children. Redefining the accepted definition of “pedestrian” for the benefit of
a single company is outrageously inappropriate.”