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San Francisco bans the latest transport sensation

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  • pengouk <pengouk@yahoo.co.uk>
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 31 4:25 AM
      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
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