I found this on another forum which seems to clearly describe WHY the Segway should be treated as a pedestrian rather than a vehicle.
The following NYC position paper was submitted to the City Council by the NYC Segway users, April 9 2004: ------------------------------------
Councilman John Liu, Chairman
New York City Council
Segway Position Paper,
The immediate legal use of the Segway HT on the streets and sidewalks of New York City is the most proactive advanced IT position for the City to take.
What the Segway HT (Human Transporter) provides is not at first obvious. One first thinks of it as a transportation device that you board and ride. And so it goes for the first minutes or hours of its use. But then an accommodation occurs. The Segway and its rider start to become as one. Small muscle movements in the human become automatic, subtle weight transfers guide the HT and the two operate as one. It’s as though the Segway HT amplifies the human abilities in a helpful way, as a partner and not as a vehicle. This transporter is defined as Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Device (EPAMD) – a self-balancing, two non-tandem wheeled device designed to transport one person by means of an electric propulsion system.
The manufacture’s previous product name, the “IT” is more in keeping with this Innovative Technology as an urban experience, where computerized wheels can be coupled to the human brain and given a real test.
It is usually the case that the development and use of innovative technologies, such as the Internet, move ahead of the new social, economic, and legal issues they create. This is part of the nature of innovative, disruptive technologies. The City should not be frustrated by this, but rather be proud of the potential to provide leadership in figuring how this emergent personal transport technology can be accommodated into the social, economic and regulatory structure of the city.
Early automobiles (“horseless carriages”) frightened horses and threatened parts of the establishment. What if we had outlawed them before Henry Ford had the opportunity to create a vehicle reliable enough and inexpensive enough to revolutionize human transportation in the 20th century? The Segway HT is the future and a test bed for the next generation of advanced, imaginative urban planning.
The FIRST Project (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) a regional high school robotics competition is meant to improve and inspire life for the 24,000 participants, not simply to build capable robots. The awards presented by the judges have nothing to do with winning. Rather they are presented for merits such as engineering, inspiration, sportsmanship, design quality, helping other teams - summed up as being about ‘gracious professionalism’.
This is a key to the workings of Segway inventor Dean Kamen’s mind. His intent is truly to help people improve their lives. It should be up to NYC citizens to observe and use this new technology and decide if it succeeds. If that decision is made for them, prematurely or quickly, just because it’s ‘different’, then a better future may be postponed. NYC is an important arena in the world for such an evaluation. The Segway HT is Dean Kamen’s personal entry in IT technology. NYC is the laboratory and our residents are the judges, and jury. Segway’s provenance is the recent I-Bot, the world’s most advance wheelchair. Mr. Kamen is our IT brain trust and NYC is proud to call him ours.
Steve Wozniak, co-inventor of the personal computer, has also changed the world for the better. He is now teaching high school students and making his contribution to the next generation.(see attached letter)
Mr. Kamen and Mr. Wozniak are present day founding fathers of the IT revolution. New York State and City should also play a significant part by embracing the Segway use.
The Segway, currently limited in sales; and use, is still in it’s infancy. The real winner is the technology that will be revisited, redesigned and made to work into our society.
There is also a danger in pushing IT out of the minds and hearts of our residents and allowing foreign made inexpensive toy-like copycats of this product to overtake our streets and sidewalks. Technological and safety integrity may not be built into these Segway-inspired toys. They will create safety and traffic concerns while creating huge profits. They will provide an inexpensive version, which may look like the Segway, but is nothing more than a dangerous motorized scooter, which was the subject of the City Council hearing on Intro 98. This is not where we want to see the 20 years of research of Dean Kamen IT technology end up.
It has been to America’s credit that it has been a key player in technologies of the last few decades. It contributes to our economic welfare and enhances our prestige and reputation abroad. The Segway HT is a new technology that is leading the world. If we shun it ourselves, we may forfeit innovative use and economic benefit to others off shore.
Are Segways dangerous? The current data from the owner’s group membership estimates 75,000 hours of Segway use in NYC, without one injury. Much less a death. Another interesting observation in that rider’s report is that with the close interaction with hundreds of cats and dogs, few even noticed and it was rare to provoke a bark.
The HT is an urban transportation robot, the marriage of the computer with wheels, which moves at human speed with human reasoning and human power. The Segway is fully stable at 0 Mph. This is the genius of the technology, not how fast, but how slow it goes. It is really similar to a wheelchair in that without the concise mental commitment by the brain the Segway HT will not move. The human body starts the system and it is not capable of moving without the power and efforts of the human body.
Maybe this is the way to view it: the Segway HT, with it 2-wheel electric computer engine using center gyro stabilization is powered by the human body and its muscular effort. Therefore the City like many, may want to see the Segway HT as a robotics electrified pedestrian that will be afforded all the civil rights and protection of any pedestrian. If we walk on the sidewalks or streets with our feet, or wheelchairs or computerized platforms all are human powered generated systems.
One is more advanced than the other, and
One represents the future of a new technology and
One contributes to solving our urban transportation problems
One is called for now, a SegwayHT.
I look to you for guidance and an approach to overcome this problem and seize upon an opportunity without sacrificing the sanction and thus the development of innovative technology. I am proud to be a New Yorker and want New York City to be the center of technological reason and resolve.
The use of the Segway is not a public safety or congestion issue at the present time… In order to find 3-5 Segways on every block, there would need to be 250,000 Segway City owners. To date only 47 Segways have been identified riding in the streets of a City with 8 million population. This test City market is located within 2 hours travel from the manufacturer and has only been available for sale for 14 months.
The product is an experimental concept, which needs your protection. Due to the limited Segway population as of now:
It is not a threat to the safety of our residents;
It will not impact bike paths and greenways;
It will not cause injury, create congestion on the sidewalks;
It is something which will excite the minds, provide the pathways to more improvements and a better way of life.
If, in the future our City population does purchase and use the Segway in great enough numbers to validate the projected fears of our opposition, it would be easy to fix. The City Council will with support, enact laws and regulations based on experience, ‘ that would be a good thing.’ In the meantime please let us wait and see.
A repressive image can stay with a city and affect the kinds of people who move there and live there, even decades in the future. NYC should retain an appeal for people who think to the future. NYC certainly has major problems that could use revolutionary improvements. It would be good to have smart innovative people thinking of NYC’s problems in the future.
After reading of the motorized 3-wheel scooters which will be selling in the near future and the sales records for the current market I fear we are facing a crisis. Several companies with foreign manufacturing centers have produced Segway look-alike, which have three wheels (one is hidden from sight), or Segwayish standing designs. We are all going to have more problems in the streets than we might have thought. Maybe the best way to stop the unsafe and non-IT designed products is to ban all scooters except the 2 wheel transports (EPAMD) from our streets and sidewalks. Allow the EPAMD’s to have legal status as electrified pedestrians, not electric scooter or transports.
The Segway in not a scooter but a new urban computerized pedestrian. Unlike motorized scooters Segways use neither brakes nor throttles for propulsion and stopping. No balancing is required and anyone who can stand can operate the machine safely. Additionally unlike gasoline, electric or push scooters a Segway can be ridden in reverse and has a turning radius of zero.
If Segway legislation is going to be introduced by the Council the following three plans might be considered.
- No Legislation at this time
The City during this spring and summer season would not act,. This will provide the time for the State of New York to pass NY State EPAMD legislation. We urge the Council members to support the pro Segway Senate Bill S00579
The Council would support a “wait & see” enforcement policy by NYPD. The Council would support the NYPD’s low priority on ticketing and confiscation of Segways. However, any irresponsible behavior, or traffic intervention use would be cited.
- Temporary Permit to “grandfather in ”existing owners.
To issue a Council report and feasibility study based on a finite number of Segway in NYC, which will be granted temporary use permits. The EPAMD study will continue for a period of two years. This will provide a suitable time to determine the acceptance by the City, & public. The safety, maintenance history and community reaction will provide the information for the Council Report.
- Introduce new bill, which will permit legal use
Subject to the following considerations and restrictions:
A. Driver’s License age 21
C. Certified training session by NYPD or SegwayLLC
D. Safety equipment for street use consistent with bicycles
E. Sidewalk Use
Segway travels at human speed and the determination of local permitted sidewalk use will be determined by local representation.
- Boroughs will request restriction consistent with community interaction, congestion, and width and local regulations.
- All disabled persons who use the EPMAD will be allowed full and non-restricted use as defined by the ADA.
- City approved commercial use will be allowed.
F. Private property legal no regulations other than NY State
Thank you for the opportunity to discuss this matter with you. If I can be of further assistance, please contact me
Edwin C. Atkins “itsi” [email protected]