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6721the segway saga continues

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  • De Clarke
    Jan 1, 2003
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      The Segway PR blitz has not won over SF city council. I personally
      dislike the intense ad hominem fat-people-baiting rhetoric used by
      Matt Smith (about equivalent to "dumb blonde" jokes imho, or the
      old "Russian women are so ugly" rhetoric purveyed by anti-Soviet
      "humorists" in the 60's) but the legal outcome is imho a good result.
      SF's sidewalks are wide and crowded with peds. The Segway doesn't
      belong on the sidewalk.

      I'm interested in the claim that Segwayists have managed to crash
      into walls. I thought the gizmo was supposed to detect imminent
      collision and shut itself off? Hmm, what next: Segways at the
      skate park! look out.


      San Francisco bans Segways on sidewalks, bike paths
      By Carlton Reid, BikeBiz.co.uk
      Posted: 24/12/2002 at 10:23 GMT

      Last Monday (Dec 16) San Francisco civic leaders voted 8-2 to bar the
      use of Segways on footways and cyclepaths.

      This is the first serious obstacle to inventor Dean Kamen's
      "pedestrian-friendly" "sidewalk interloper".

      The ban is welcomed by Matt Smith, a columnist on San Francisco Weekly. In
      a hard-hitting polemic, he called the Segway " the ultimate American
      doomsday machine," potentially responsible for a "tsunami of lard."

      He said the Segway is "a national threat at least as grave as Iraq:
      It's a high-technology lard-making device introduced at a moment when
      America is suffocating from obesity."

      When The Register ran a fatties-rejoice Segway goes on sale article
      last month, the author of the piece (me) was inundated with emails from
      Americans who said the portrayal of US citizens as flabby to be well
      wide of the mark.

      So imagine the abuse Matt Smith is going to get.

      "Fat, rosy cheeks. Ample alabaster bellies. Arms that flap, legs that
      waddle, bodies by the million shaking like bowls of jelly." That's his
      description of average Americans.

      The last thing fat Americans need is a device that allows them to walk
      even less than they already do, said Smith. Legislators of San Francisco
      should be congratulated, he said.

      Mayoral spokesman P.J. Johnston said the ban "sends a defeatist message
      from San Francisco to the rest of the world. We're going to be the
      first city in the country to send out the message that we're afraid
      of this product, rather than embracing new technologies and new forms
      of transportation. It says we're so fearful that we don't even want to
      contemplate its use."

      And it's not just because of the laziness potential of the device:
      the claim that it's pedestrian-friendly and will always stop before
      crashing into fellow sidewalk users was poo-poohed by Smith. There's
      evidence that Segway supporters have crashed into walls in San Francisco,
      damaging civic property, he claims.

      San Francisco's cycle advocacy group, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition,
      had hoped Segway LLC would put its lobbying cash behind building more
      Segway-friendly cycle paths. But the corporation declined, arguing the
      12-mph devices should be allowed on sidewalks.

      In San Francisco, where people still use the sidewalks, this appears to
      have led to Segway Corp's downfall. © BikeBiz.co.uk


      :De Clarke, Software Engineer UCO/Lick Observatory, UCSC:
      :Mail: de@... | :
      :Web: www.ucolick.org | Don't Fear the Penguins :
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