Sunday, September 28, 2003
The reason we have sidewalks is to provide a safe place for pedestrians away from vehicles! That is why San Francisco passed legislation back in 1940 stating:
SEC. 86. VEHICLES SHALL NOT BE DRIVEN ON SIDEWALKS. It shall be unlawful for the operator of any vehicle to drive such vehicle within any sidewalk area except at a permanent or temporary driveway. (Ord. 890, App. 10/24/40)
Segway scooters are simply additional dangerous vehicles. They we will only further promote sedentary lifestyles, endanger users, and cause collisions with pedestrians.
ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR OF BANNING SEGWAYS FROM SIDEWALKS
- Segways and Motorized Scooters are dangerous to pedestrians.
The California legislation is for allowing Segway scooters to go up to 12.5 mph on the sidewalk, yet sidewalks are designed for typical walking speeds of approximately 3mph. Having vehicles moving 4 times faster than pedestrian traffic in the same space is simply not safe.
- 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.
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.
- Vehicles such as bicycles, scooters, skateboards, and roller skates have all been banned from San Francisco sidewalks due them having been found to be dangerous in a pedestrian environment. We should not wait until a pedestrian is injured by a Segway device before enacting a similar ban.
- 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.
- There is no viable way to enforce safe operation of Segways on the sidewalks.
Segway users are not required to have insurance, though the devices are demonstrably dangerous to operate on a sidewalk.
- Segways are virtually silent, and therefore a serious menace to the visually impaired.
Segways will eventually have mechanical and electrical failures preventing them from being operated in a safe manner.
- There is no way to expect police to enforce a speed limit on our sidewalks. It is difficult enough for them to enforce the speed limits on our roads.
- The often used Segway demonstration that the device can safely run over someones hand is absurd. Pedestrians aren't afraid of their hands getting run over. They are afraid of getting knocked down!
- Redefining the accepted definition of "pedestrian" for the benefit of a single company is outrageously inappropriate. This could lead to other redefinitions, such as redefining "bicycle" to include Harley motorcycles so that they could use bicycle lanes.
Not only banned from the sidewalks of New York, but the roads, Greenways, park paths and all other public ways. Segways and other electric scooters are only legal on private property.