- Jan 14, 2002Hi All,
I'm e-mail crippled right now and have to post my
responses using one of the free-mail programs.
I do not check mail at the address from which I'm
sending, so do not reply to this address.
There has been some question regarding my position
on the Segway. It's not simple, so here goes:
The Segway does little or nothing that a bike does
not do, except that it may be useful for people like
my mother, who never leared to ride a bike and is
too old now.
That said, I can see it having some application is
two separate areas:
1. Within cities, it can be used in streets and
bike lanes as another form of personal transport.
Its 12.5 MPH speed is sufficiently high that it can
reasonably mix with bicycle traffic. (I know that
those of you who regard 30 MPH as a normal and
responsible speed to ride in dense urban areas will
not agree with this. Most people don't ride bikes
faster than 15 MPH, and I think all urban street
traffic should be limited to 15 MPH in all cases,
not excepting bikes. The danger to crossing
pedestrians is simply too great at higher speeds.
2. In other areas, I think the Segway can probably
be ridden safely on sidewalks (where these exist),
as long as the riders are responsible and yield to
pedestrians. We see the same sort of thing with bikes
in lower-density urban areas--they can be ridden on
sidewalks if the riders are responsible and careful.
As to the long-term effects of the Segway on urban
development, I'm inclined to think that they will
be minimal--they're too expensive to have a large
impact. They do have one nice attribute--they have
a small enough footprint that they can readily be
taken onto level-loading metros and are quite easy
to park in crowded urban areas. The size of bikes is
a fairly serious nuisance in their use in cities.
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