Friday, October 21, 2005


Would a child survive a Segway collision?

According to the International Centre for Disability Resources:
Pedestrian injuries are a major problem in the United States. There were 78,000 pedestrian injuries and 4,700 fatalities in the US in 2000. Pedestrian deaths and injuries disproportionately occur to individuals at the young and old ends of the age spectrum. Children are particularly vulnerable given their developmental immaturity, which is characterized by often impulsive behavior and poor judgment. Allowing motorized vehicles on the sidewalk will require children to negotiate motorized traffic, something they are developmentally incapable of doing. Using some basic assumptions, the calculated amount of force involved in a collision between a Segway device and a child can be significant and could easily cause serious injury. The purpose of a sidewalk is the separation of pedestrians from motorized traffic.

Even if the Segway device were able to come to an abrupt halt from a speed of 12.5 mph, the operator will be thrown forward and into the pedestrian or other object that was struck based on the laws of Newtonian physics. Individuals that speak to how quickly the Segway can stop are also forgetting that a young child can dart unexpectedly in front of one of these devices traveling at top speed with no time for the operator to react. A collision is inevitable and the laws of physics will prevail, and potentially, a significant energy transfer will occur to the pedestrian and also to the operator, resulting in injury. Segway representatives demonstrate a Segway riding over the top of a persons hand without injury; however, this is irrelevant bafflegab to the real injury hazard of the device colliding head-on into a pedestrian.

Reassurances from the marketers 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. Children are a particularly vulnerable group to injury and deserve the full protection provided by our laws.

In his letter to the Environment and Public Works Committee, Dr. Louis Z. Cooper, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, stated: Children, elderly individuals, persons with disabilities, and other vulnerable populations cannot - and should not - be expected to negotiate motorized traffic on sidewalks, trails and other walkways.


Monday, October 17, 2005


Last desperate gasps by principals

Whether in desperation, naivety or just plain selfishness it appears, in our opinion, that the principals of and their supporters are now playing the handicap/disabled word(s) in their final gasp lobbying. Reference: the Toronto Star 10/15/05 in letter to the Editor “If scooters are okay for sidewalks, why not Segways? What about those electric scooter that disabled people use?”

Well there is a big difference Segways are owned by able bodied, elitist, effete who think that their pricey electric powered gadgets compare to assistance devices use by persons with disability to perform many activities of daily living. Personal mobility devices as used by persons with disability are necessary for them to function with some independence.
From the Ontario Ministry of Transportation site at you will find the following:

“Personal Mobility Devices (Motorized Wheelchairs and Medical Scooters)
Do not require registration, licence plates, driver's licence or vehicle insurance
Persons operating motorized wheelchairs are treated in the same way as pedestrians.
The expected behaviour of people, who use wheelchairs to improve their mobility, is generally established by municipal by-laws. Operators should check with their local municipality to ensure by-laws permit their use on sidewalks. A sidewalk should be the first choice for someone using a wheelchair or medical scooter. When there is no wheelchair accessible curb, the person should return to the sidewalk at the first available opportunity. If there is no sidewalk available, people using wheelchairs or personal mobility devices should travel, like pedestrians, along the left shoulder of the roadway facing oncoming traffic”.
The accepted definition of motorized mobility aid “means any self-propelled vehicle designed for, and used by, a handicapped person and that is incapable of a speed in excess of 15 kph.”

It should be noted that there is no municipality across Ontario that prohibits motorized wheelchairs or medical scooter on sidewalks, public pathways or where sidewalks and curb cuts do not exist “along the left shoulder of the roadway”.

On the other hand the forementioned MTO site says:
“SegwayTM Human Transporter
Cannot be operated on roads in Ontario
A personal human transporter (i.e. SegwayTM) is defined as a self-balancing, electric-powered transportation machine designed for one person, with a top speed of 20 km/h.
The definition of motor vehicle in Ontario's HTA encompasses this type of personal transportation vehicle. However, this device does not meet Ontario's equipment safety standards for on-road use.
This device is not included as a vehicle intended for on-road use under the MVSA, and is considered a device for a pedestrian environment.
Personal transportation devices may be operated where the HTA does not apply, such as on private property.”

With the Toronto Works Committee at their October 11, 2005 meeting voting 4-2 to receive the report from the Toronto Legal Department which clearly finds that Segways are not allowed on Sidewalks nor are they allowed on Roads, It would be doubtful that there is any municipality across Ontario that will approve the use of Segways on sidewalks, pathways or public parks.

Thank you Councillors for seeing through the greedy corporate hype and allowing me to stop on the sidewalk to say hello to a friend and not have to worry about some alabaster bellied Segway owner riding up my backside at 12.5 mph (20 kph).

Sunday, October 16, 2005


Toronto Star Editorial 10/15/05 "Red Light for Segways"

The Toront Star editorial of 10/15/05 "Red light For Segways" got it right.

Oct. 15, 2005.
Red light for Segway

"The much-hyped, two-wheeled Segway Human Transporter isn't welcome on Toronto streets and sidewalks — and for good reason.

These pricey, electric-powered gadgets are classed as "motor vehicles" by Ontario law, so they aren't allowed to run on sidewalks, yet they don't meet safety regulations for on-road use. According to city hall lawyers, the Segway's only legal place to roll in Toronto is on certain routes within parks. And few people would spend in excess of $5,000 for a machine allowed to do only that.

The law, in this case, makes sense. The Segway is capable of zipping down sidewalks at up to 20 km/h. A collision between the heavy machine, travelling at that speed, and a pedestrian could cause serious injury. And Toronto's walkways are already crowded and risky enough, especially downtown.

Segway promoters say the device is allowed on sidewalks in many United States jurisdictions. And most people don't run it at top speed but, rather, at the rate of a brisk walk.

But that is another strike against the Segway: By serving as a substitute for walking, it replaces a form of healthy exercise with an energy-consuming ride.

The city's works committee was right in defeating a proposal that would have allowed a one-year trial for Segways on some city sidewalks.

In view of the legal restrictions on their use; the motorized traffic they would needlessly add to city sidewalks, and their role in discouraging walking, there is no need to test drive Segways in Toronto."

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Segway assault on walking arrested for now in Toronto

The Toronto Works Committee at their October 11, 2005 meeting voted 4-2 to receive the report from the Toronto Legal Department which clearly finds that Segways are not allowed on Sidewalks nor are they allowed on Roads. Additionally they voted down a motion motion to allow for a one year pilot project to allow Segways on sidewalks and collect some practical data.

This is good news in that the accepted definition of "pedestrian" has not been changed for the benefit of a single company. Toronto joins New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Disney and numerous other metropolitan area across the US, Europe and Japan.
Bill Brunton

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