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Re: [carfree_cities] segway

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  • Mark Burgess
    ... No the Segway doesn t address the inadequacies motorized bicycles have vs. cars, but it definitely does address ones that they have vs. pedestrians. E.g.
    Message 1 of 8 , Dec 5, 2001
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      At 3:22 PM -0330 12/5/01, Brian Paquet wrote:
      >At first I was excited, on further reflection I have to say, so what.
      >
      >Consider this.There are mopeds that get 120 miles to the gallon, there are
      >electic powered biks that get similar speed and distance performance to
      >the segway. Neither of these has replaced the car. Consider why not, I
      >will leave the reasons why as a homework assignment ;), and ask yourself
      >if the segway fixes these problems.

      No the Segway doesn't address the inadequacies motorized bicycles
      have vs. cars, but it definitely does address ones that they have vs.
      pedestrians. E.g. in a storm, a car is better than either a moped or
      a Segway, but in a park/plaza/mall the Segway is the only one of the
      three that could mix with the pedestrians there. (Maybe. We'll have
      to see how the experiments go over the course of the next year.)

      So really the question is not whether we've found a replacement for
      an automobile -- it's whether or not we've found something that will
      help make car-free zones more likely. Right now I can imagine some
      future historian looking back and saying Segway 1.0 was the catalyst
      that got the general population thinking, even though the first major
      U.S. city did not go car-free for another 100 years.

      Even if Segway doesn't solve the practical problems we have today, it
      very well might be a part of the solution. Heck, if I as a die-hard
      driver can more easily imagine myself living/working car-free then
      Segway has accomplished something significant already.


      --
      Mark
    • Ed Brighton
      ... Just out of curiosity, in the mall or plaza, what sort of Segway speed limit should be established, and what should be the rules of the road. Pass on
      Message 2 of 8 , Dec 5, 2001
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        on 12/05/01 13:51, Mark Burgess at markb@... wrote:

        > ... in a park/plaza/mall the Segway is the only one of the
        > three that could mix with the pedestrians there. ...

        Just out of curiosity, in the mall or plaza, what sort of Segway speed limit
        should be established, and what should be the rules of the road. Pass on
        right. Pedestrians have ROW. Who is at fault if a pedestrian steps in
        front of, or backs up into, a speeding, or non-speeding, passing Segway?
      • Mark Burgess
        ... I m not really in a position to talk with any authority about what the Segway rules should be but I can certainly toss some thoughts out there. ...
        Message 3 of 8 , Dec 5, 2001
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          At 5:00 PM -0800 12/5/01, Ed Brighton wrote:
          >on 12/05/01 13:51, Mark Burgess at markb@... wrote:
          >
          > > ... in a park/plaza/mall the Segway is the only one of the
          > > three that could mix with the pedestrians there. ...
          >
          >Just out of curiosity, in the mall or plaza,

          I'm not really in a position to talk with any authority about what
          the Segway rules should be but I can certainly toss some thoughts out
          there.


          >what sort of Segway speed limit should be established,

          Personally I'd rather see guidelines than laws but I don't know if
          city planners work that way. Maybe the speed limit could be something
          like "reasonable for the surrounding traffic," or "not reckless." :-)
          I dunno. Seems like when wheels and feet mix, the wheels shouldn't go
          faster than a jogging pace.


          >and what should be the rules of the road. Pass on right.

          Rules of the "road" would have to be something like the real rules of
          the road in your area I suppose. E.g. around here passing is
          generally supposed to happen on the left. In malls, I've noticed that
          people tend to walk on the right side just as they drive on the right
          side. But it's not real consistent since it doesn't have to be. Maybe
          we will learn that it's best to require Segways to stay to the right.
          Or not.


          >Pedestrians have ROW.

          I can't imagine a case where this would be an issue. If there were
          little roads with intersections (or if it turns out that Segways have
          to use the street) I could, but in a freeform area like a plaza I
          can't see how a rule for this would be better than common sense,
          courtesy and attentiveness.


          >Who is at fault if a pedestrian steps in
          >front of, or backs up into, a speeding, or non-speeding, passing Segway?

          There must be rules in place already that govern ped-ped
          interactions, or ped-bike/rollerskate/skateboard ones. Who's at fault
          if I back into the path of a jogger? What if instead it's some kid
          running in the mall? Tends to be a "no harm, no foul" kind of thing I
          think.

          Ultimately I think pedestrians and Segwists will just have to learn
          how to watch out for one another. Laws may help a bit but without
          cooperation nobody wins. E.g. around here pedestrians have the right
          of way if they are in or are about to enter a crosswalk. But any
          pedestrian who deliberately steps out in front of a moving car is, of
          course, a fool. The courts may decide in his favor but he's the one
          that has to live with the broken back. Similarly, even if a
          reasonable set of Segway rules can be established people will still
          have to use good judgement. Right now I am feeling like the
          adjustment will be inevitable... suddenly the future is different
          than it used to be.


          --
          Mark
        • Ed Brighton
          ... I am trying to keep an open mind, but when I first saw the Segway, I was reminded of the Sinclair C5. http://www.sinclairc5.co.uk/ I was living in England
          Message 4 of 8 , Dec 5, 2001
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            on 12/05/01 18:38, Mark Burgess at markb@... wrote:

            > Ultimately I think pedestrians and Segwists will just have to learn
            > how to watch out for one another.

            I am trying to keep an open mind, but when I first saw the Segway, I was
            reminded of the Sinclair C5. http://www.sinclairc5.co.uk/

            I was living in England when Sir Clive introduced the C5 - the hype there
            then is like the Segway hype is here now - how the thing is going to change
            things.

            This wired extract refers to the C5 in relation to "Ginger":
            (from http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,41173,00.html)

            "Revolutionary personal transport systems have been revealed to an
            expectant, and disbelieving, world before.

            In January 1985 British inventor Sir Clive Sinclair unveiled his
            three-wheeled C5, a kind of surfboard tricycle in which plucky drivers lay
            on their backs and navigated the roads feet first.

            Powered by battery and pedaling, the low-profile vehicle was invisible to
            trucks. It was immediately condemned by Britain's Automobile Association as
            "a hazard to the occupant and other road users."

            Sales were minimal and production stopped within months. Sir Clive's
            reputation as the distinguished inventor of cheap calculators and computers
            was in tatters, his C5 a national joke.

            A satirical song occasioned by the invention of the C5 contains the line
            "don't want a Jag, don't want a Merc, I want to look like an absolute jerk."

            -----------

            I hate to admit it, but standing on a Segway zipping down the sidewalk seems
            like kind of a jerkish thing to me. Why not walk or jog.

            Here's an interesting chronicle of the C5:
            http://www.nvg.ntnu.no/sinclair/vehicles/c5_sst.htm
          • Chris Bradshaw
            I would like to raise another angle on this device. First, we should not underestimate the cleverness of the device as a draw for purchase. The car, after
            Message 5 of 8 , Dec 5, 2001
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              I would like to raise another angle on this device.

              First, we should not underestimate the cleverness of the device as a
              draw for purchase. The car, after all, had such compelling cleverness
              that people have shaped their lives around it (how many houses in
              suburbia have been sold to people needing a justification for owning a
              car?)

              Second, as a car-sharing provider, I can see a role for these devices as
              a "neighbourhood utility vehicle" (NUV), at least one kind of one. It
              would be limited to mid-length trips (walking is best at the smallest
              scale, while various common carriers are best at longer distances -- the
              car fails, in part, because it tries to function at _all_ scales,
              unsuccessfully). Anyway, their high cost would mitigate personal
              ownership by any but the high-income.

              While cars that are shared must be reserved in advance -- and they are
              clearly used for "extra-neighbourhood" trips, since they require the
              user to walk to the centre of the neighbourhood just to access it --
              these NUV could be used on an on-demand basis, similar to the "blue
              bike" programs, that in most cases weren't sustainable.

              What would make these HTs more appropriate is the high level of
              electronics and the ease of being adapted to different body sizes and
              the ease of use (no gears). They can also have lower speeds imposed
              through electronic "governors." Any personal card with a magnetic strip
              could be used to activate them, and their use records could be
              transmitted to a central computer each evening. Their location could
              also be electronically tracked.

              And with the limited range, by keeping them within a single
              neighbourhood, they wouldn't get enough use to run out of power (or the
              various parking spots could all have plug ins -- one way to have the
              user signal they are finished with the vehicle and thus end the
              accumulation of a use-charge).

              That would set the stage for more support for transit, as the best
              inter-neighbourhood mode. And there would be other HT NUVs available at
              the disembarking bus stop/station, rather than having to transport the
              devices on buses, as would be the case if they were personally owned
              (The same for people visiting downtown: there would be NUVs available
              there.)

              And then, intercity travel would be accessed at the city periphery
              (airports) or centre (bus, train), again knowing that, at the other end,
              there would be transit (for cities) or HT NUVs or bikes (towns and
              village) or of course taxis.

              For car-free districts, the HT NUV would be seen as, finally, a way to
              allow the neighbours get around while barring cars from breaching the
              perimeter. Those who can't identify with bikes, these would appear
              "approachable."

              Yup. Interesting.

              Chris Bradshaw
            • Mark Rauterkus
              as per recumbents.... ... FWIW, wrong assumption. But, let s not go there here. Thanks for the chatter otherwise on the threads. Ta. Mark Rauterkus
              Message 6 of 8 , Dec 6, 2001
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                as per recumbents....
                > The riders never seem to be enjoying
                > themselves.

                FWIW, wrong assumption. But, let's not go there here.

                Thanks for the chatter otherwise on the threads.


                Ta.


                Mark Rauterkus
                Mark@... http://Rauterkus.com
              • Mark Burgess
                ... Sounds like that was a good decision! Besides the visibility problem and the rider s proximity to exhaust pipes, I d think that the lack of a 4th wheel
                Message 7 of 8 , Dec 6, 2001
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                  At 8:19 PM -0800 12/5/01, Ed Brighton wrote:
                  >In January 1985 British inventor Sir Clive Sinclair unveiled his
                  >three-wheeled C5, a kind of surfboard tricycle in which plucky drivers lay
                  >on their backs and navigated the roads feet first.
                  >
                  >Powered by battery and pedaling, the low-profile vehicle was invisible to
                  >trucks. It was immediately condemned by Britain's Automobile Association as
                  >"a hazard to the occupant and other road users."

                  Sounds like that was a good decision! Besides the visibility problem
                  and the rider's proximity to exhaust pipes, I'd think that the lack
                  of a 4th wheel would make them fairly tippy.

                  I see recumbent bicycles once in a while and they strike me as the
                  sort of thing that's good in theory ("hey, it's the most efficient
                  possible use of the leg muscles") but which has too many drawbacks to
                  be much good in practice. The riders never seem to be enjoying
                  themselves. Segway may indeed turn out to be the same sort of device
                  (though fun for sure) but ohoh it seems to have been built with a
                  certain amount sensitivity to how it might work in the real world.

                  I really don't know much about the C5 or the Segway but I do see a
                  fundamental difference: the C5 was the logical end of a series of
                  ideas -- it doesn't seem to be much more than a recumbent tricycle
                  with an electric motor. The technology in the Segway, though, seems
                  to be much more of a starting point. Even folks who can't imagine the
                  HT gaining widespread acceptance still admit that the gyro-computer
                  self-righting action in itself is revolutionary, or that the extreme
                  maneuverability afforded by the single-axle design is bound to have
                  value beyond simple sidewalk surfing.


                  --
                  Mark
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