Sunday, October 16, 2005
Toronto Star Editorial 10/15/05 "Red Light for Segways"
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."