Sunday, February 25, 2007
With few exception Segways are off limits in Ontario!!!!
The aforesaid is the opinion of Innovative Mobility based on the best available
information available today. As we have said before “Segways are not evil,
we believe that they are innovative and phenomenal technology – but they do not
belong on the sidewalk or any public trails or pathways used by seniors or
children. Redefining the accepted definition of “pedestrian” for the benefit of
a single company is outrageously inappropriate.”
Even under the 5 Year Pilot Project for Segways, Ontario regulation 488/06 made under The Highway Traffic Act August 24, 2006, Segways with few exceptions are off limits in Ontario and the individual municipalities are still in control of their sidewalks and other public pedestrian infrastructure.
Please visit Innovative Mobility's site at http://www.segwayillegalinontario.blogspot.com/ "Segway Riders Face Stiff Fines In Ontario". This site is a reply copy of letter received from the Honourable Donna Cansfield, Minister of Transportation, Province of Ontario that clarifies the 5 Year Pilot Project for Segways, Ontario regulation 488/06 made under The Highway Traffic Act August 24, 2006. This document will clarify any misrepresentations that Ontario has opened the doors to Segway with few exceptions:
A. Pilot participants limited to:
- "a police officer may, in the course of his or her duties,
- a letter carrier who is an employee of Canada Post Corporation may, while engaged in door-to-door delivery of mail,
- a person who is 14 years old or older may operate a Segway if his or her mobility is limited by one or more disabilities, conditions or functional impairments."
B. Even pilot participants are not allowed to operate their Segway on sidewalks where municipal by-laws prohibit the operation of motor vehicles Sc8(2). Each municipality is still in control of their sidewalks and other public pedestrian infrastructure unless they pass specific by-laws permitting pilot participants to operate their Segways on sidewalks.
C. Anyone caught riding a Segway in Ontario who is not included as a pilot participant will be subject to higher fines ranging from $250 to a maximum of $2,500.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
The Jan 12/06 Toronto Works Committee meeting again reaffirmed "NO SEGWAYS" on public infrastructure
The good news is, these machines have finally been put in their place i.e. not on any public sidewalk or pathway but only on private property.
At the Toronto Works Committee meeting of 1/12/06 as reported by http://spacing.ca/wire/
the Segway Ontario.com principles “admitting in a brief deputation that the issue was basically a provincial one, and that they were resigned to waiting to see what the province will do about it (under Bill 169, An Act to Amend the Highway Traffic Act, the provincial government can now allow new vehicles on provincial roads as pilot
projects)”. There was some discussion re. approval of Segways as personal assistance mobility devices ---“almost all of them (Councillors) chose to speak, and they each clearly stated that there was a big difference between allowing Segways as mobility assistive devices — which they all supported — and allowing them to be used by able-bodied people on sidewalks, which they did not support.”
The London Ontario municipal Council should take note! “When the
city (Toronto) legal officer gave legal advice that any city bylaw allowing the use of Segways as assistive mobility devices would have no legal effect because provincial laws would supercede
it”. Our student group, Innovative Mobility, is opposed to any provincial approval of Segways including use by persons of disability because of problem(s) associated with licensing based on qualification and quantification of suitable disability i.e. amputee vs. person with visual disability vs. person with learning disability vs. person with hearing disability vs. person with Parkinson's disease and the list goes on.
Disney in 2004 banned Segways due to what they saw as Segways legal problems arising from potential safety issues. Not even the disabled are allowed the use of Segways due to the problem of identification of the truly disabled and those who are looking to game the system and take advantage of accommodations for the disabled.
The catch-22 of any Segway approval at any level of government is that such approval puts people with disabilities both visible and invisible at risk due to Segway collisions on the sidewalk and other public pedestrian infrastructure. Later in this blog, Segway Caveats for Municipal Council Consideration, you will see that
many disabled groups are against the Segway because:
- People of disability like other pedestrians are not regulated traffic and do not travel in a straight line.
- Fast moving vehicles on the sidewalk would be especially dangerous to those with visual impairments.
- There is no viable way to enforce safe operation of Segways on the sidewalks.
- Segway users are not required to have insurance, though the devices are demonstrably dangerous to operate on a sidewalk.
- Who would be responsible for disability and medical claims in the event of a Segway collision?
- Segways are virtually silent, and therefore a serious menace to the visually impaired.
- There is no way to expect police to enforce a speed limit on our sidewalks. It is difficult enough for them to enforce the speed limits on our roads.
- How do you licence only people with true and Segway suitable disabilities --- and weed out those who are trying to game the system?
The most important consideration from the “safety perspective” whether for the able bodied or the disabled is the risk to other sidewalk stakeholder due to braking distance and energy exerted on
a Segways collision impact.
- For the able bodied:
- The National Safety Council has determined that the average reaction time for an emergency braking situation is three-quarters of a second. At even 12mph, a Segway would therefore travel an average of 13 feet before the user would even initiate braking. Segway claims that the device could then be stopped in an additional 5 feet (which would be a remarkable 1g of deceleration if true) for a total stopping distance of 18 feet. Again, this would be completely unsafe for sidewalk use.
- Energy increases with the square of velocity. This means the energy expended in a crash of a rider on a 80 lb Segway scooter going 12 mph would be approximately 25 times greater than for a person walking.
- For the person with disability:
- It should be noted that braking distances may be substantially longer for “persons of disability” depending on exactly what their disability is. I don’t believe any municipality should get into qualifying and quantifying Segway suitable disabilities due to the potential for claims of insensitivity and claims of discrimination.
We recommend that if you wish to help put a stop to the reclassification of Segways as pedestrians or as personal assistance mobility devices, write, fax, email or call the office of the Ontario Minister of Transport, Harinder Takhar.Harinder Takhar
Ministry of Transportation
77 Wellesley St. W., 3rd Floor, Ferguson Block
Toronto ON M7A 1Z8
Innovative Mobility will shortly be posting our full and complete report to
Ontario Minister of Transport. While this report will be tailored to the
Province of Ontario it will have data and references that will have an
application for any global community that is considering approval of Segways as
personal assistance devices in their community.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
An introduction to the paper "Segway - A Pedestrian Friend or Foe in the Urban Environment? to follow.
- Ontarians with Disability Act (2001) and the more recent,
- Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005)
for both the public and private sector in the Municipality of Greater Toronto. For example under these Acts the term "handicap" and "disability" are amorphous concepts that includes "the full range of people with disabilities - including physical, sensory, hearing, mental health, developmental and learning disabilities. That is both visable and invisible" With all due respect Councillors "How would Council quantify and quality people with disabilities that would be allowed the use of Segways?" Further there is the catch-22 to any knee jerk sympathetic response "How would the the full range balance of sidewalk and bike path stakeholder be protected --- including the disabled who can not afford this $6000 device?" Please consider also that many Canadian and American Disability Assopciations are on record as being against any approval of the use of Segways on public pedestrian infrastructure.
Thanks to our eclectic team members representing a wide scope of disciplines across a geographical expanse. For logistical reasons, we use MS NetMeeting for group communications and faciliting report preparation--- this is a wonderful program for complete Internet conferencing.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
REPORT: "Segway - A Pedestrian Friend or Foe in the Urban Environment?"
For the Toronto Works Committee Meeting Scheduled for January, 2006
Segway - A Pedestrian Friend or Foe in the Urban Environment?
The following document was prepared specifically for the benefit of the Toronto Works Committee members and the Toronto City solicitor in their evaluation as to whether to approve the operation of Segways on Toronto’s sidewalks at the January 2006 meeting.
Innovative Mobility “ A student research group dedicated to studying new yet responsible solutions to today’s transit problems”
Table of Contents:
Segways are banned in multiple metropolitan areas
Thumbnails at the micro and macro level for municipalities
More In-depth Discussion
The Disability Issue
Beware of the precedent
Respectfully we request that the Toronto Works Committee make the following recommendations to Council:
This is a lengthy document where information has been garnered from a variety of sources that are annotated in the endnotes. The following “Executive Summary” will summarize some of our group’s concerns that are in support of not only banning Segways but also all motorized “fun” vehicles from Toronto’s sidewalks.
1.) Segway Human Transporters pose a potential hazard to sidewalk pedestrians because of speed combined with sheer weight, the size and possible congestion due to pedestrian volume.
2.) Segways are incompatible with the full spectrum of pedestrian demographics and are no different than bicycles or any other motor vehicles --- they should not be allowed on Toronto’s sidewalks or public pathways due to the level of risk that they present.
3.) “The National Safety Council has determined that the average reaction time for an emergency braking situation is three-quarters of a second. At 12mph (i.e. 20kph), a Segway would therefore travel an average of 13 feet before the user would even initiate braking add to this Segway claims “that the device can be stopped in an additional 5 feet” that a total stopping distance of 18 feet --- Is 18 feet stopping distance sufficient safety factor to be used on Toronto’s crowded sidewalks?
4.) Segway’s progressive key operation is at the discretion of the operator and everybody knows that given the freedom, human nature always accelerates to top speed. The "beginner" key, with a maximum speed of about 10 km/h, "allows riders to gain confidence using the machine." The "sidewalk" key, with a maximum speed of about 13 km/h, "allows riders to adapt well in pedestrian environments." The "open environment key" (maximum 20 km/h) "allows riders to comfortably cover open spaces." And what constitutes an "open space" is a judgment call.
5.) The only clear beneficiary of any Toronto Works Committee Segway approval would be a single company the Ontario Segway franchisee.
6.) Considering that Segway’s retail for $5000 plus, it would be outrageously inappropriate to provide preferential sidewalk access to the wealthy by redefining the accepted definition of pedestrian.
7.) Segways have never been approved as Personal Mobility Devices for use by persons with disabilities by either Canadian or US: agencies, boards, transit authorities, medical associations etc. as a medical assistance device.
8.) If the Toronto Works Committee and subsequently Council approves Segways, something akin to Pandora’s box will be opened to Segway clones, electric scooters, pocket rockets, electric tricycles and a whole new collection of electric and gas powered “toy” vehicles none of which has been designed for road use.
9.) We oppose any Toronto by-law that would:
· Define motorized "Segway" scooters as pedestrians.
· Allow motorized "Segway" scooters to be driven on sidewalks
· Put children, seniors, persons with disabilities and the blind in great danger.
10.) The "Segway" is not a pedestrian friendly device and should not be allowed
on our sidewalks.
· "Segways" weigh over 70 pounds
· "Segways" can reach speeds up to 20mph and newer models 30mph
· Bicycles weigh less, are human powered and are banned from sidewalks, because they are too big, too fast and too threatening to safely share space with small children and other vulnerable pedestrians. Similarly, "Segway" devices should also not be allowed on sidewalks
11.) Our fascination and awe at the innovativeness and high-tech wizardry of these devices should not distract us from what we know from basic high school physics --- any pedestrian collision with a Segway traveling at full speed would have devastating results for both the pedestrian and the Segway operator.
12.) If the Segway operator were not required to have insurance who would be liable for the pedestrian’s resulting injury or possible long term disability after a collision with a Segway?
13.) The sheer volume of open-ended questions re. approval of Segways for use on City sidewalks, pedestrian trails and park roadways should preclude any municipal council approval of a by-law permitting their use even for persons with disabilities.
14.) From the London (Ontario) Police Services site you will read, “Last year London saw the emergence of motorized scooters and mini motorcycles. These vehicles, developed and used primarily in California have made their way into Ontario as ‘fun’ vehicles to ride. Very few have any redeeming transportation value for commuters.” The Segway is included in this array of “toy vehicles”; however, “until such time that these motorized contraptions are legalized they have no place on our roads, sidewalks or public pathways. Please don’t waste your money purchasing them only to be frustrated and disappointed later by the police doing their job”--------------------------
For the uninitiated the following will provide some basics on the Segway:
What is a Segway?The Segway Human Transporter (SHT) is described as "the first self-balancing, electric-powered transportation device." The rider stands on a small platform supported 6 to 8 inches off the ground by two parallel wheels; holds onto handlebars that are used to steer the device; when the rider leans forward the SHT moves forward and when the rider leans back the SHT moves back or stops.
Is the Segway a Motorized Vehicle?
Because motorized vehicles are not allowed on sidewalks by law, Segway Corp. set out to define the Segway as a new vehicle class -- an "electric personal assistive mobility device" -- to prevent it from being classified as motorized.
· “The Segway is encompassed within the definition of a motor vehicle as found in the Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act and according to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and pursuant to the Act, may not be legally operated on highways in Ontario.” *
· “The Segway would fall within the definition of ‘vehicle’ as found in the Municipal Code Chapter 608” *
* Toronto Works Committee Minutes, October 11, 2005
How big is the Segway?
The SHT comes in three models. The personal transport model is 16 inches long, 21 inches wide, and weighs 69 pounds. Slightly larger models are available for commercial/industrial use; they are 19 inches long, 25 inches wide and weigh up to 95 pounds. A dual tandem model is shown as an attachment to this document.
How fast is the Segway?
The Segway is capable of speeds up to 20 miles per hour. A speed-governing key is used to limit the speed of the personal transport model to 12.5 miles per hour (i.e. 20kph), or "four times faster than the average walker”, who walks at 3 mph. The newer dual wheel models can travel up to 30mph.
How much weight can the Segway carry?
The SHT is designed to carry a person up to 250 pounds. The cargo version has an additional capacity to carry 75 pounds. Dual tandem models and a Segway trailer models increase payloads to 300 pounds or more.
Segways are banned in many locations:
Toronto would not be the first City to ban Segways! They are banned in:
· New York - City and State rules say motorized devices can't go on sidewalks -- "Segways are not authorized for public use on the streets, sidewalks or public parks (i.e. Central Park)" Ray Kelly NYC Police Commissioner, 2004
· San Francisco on 12/16/02, reference ”SEC. 104. ELECTRIC PERSONAL ASSISTIVE MOBILITY DEVICES.(a) It shall be unlawful to operate an electric personal assistive mobility device on any sidewalk in the City and County of San Francisco.(b) "Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Device" means a self-balancing, nontandem two-wheeled device, that can turn in place and is designed to transport only one person, with an electric propulsion system averaging less than 750 watts (one horsepower)”.
· Las Vegas, NV (10-04-2005) is the latest to ban Segways– “Clark County Commissioners on October 4. 2005 introduced an ordinance that would ban the use of Segway personal transportation devices along the Las Vegas Strip and elsewhere. The county Public Works department says the two-wheeled devices would be a hazard on the crowded sidewalks outside the hotels along Las Vegas Boulevard.”
· Disney in 2004 banned Segways due to what they saw as Segways legal problems arising from potential safety issues. Not even the disabled are allowed the use of Segways due to the problem of identification of the truly disabled and those who are looking to game the system and take advantage of accommodations for the disabled.
· Most of Europe except France is off-limits to Segway. Apparently Segway didn't seek approval in the European Union. “Under current regulations, the gyroscope-driven scooter would have been classified as a moped even though it doesn't meet basic technical requirements for such a vehicle. Among other things, the Segway doesn't have lights or brakes, which are mandatory on a moped.”
· Hong Kong has banned Segways: “Anyone who rides the Segway on Hong Kong pavements, parks or roads risks being fined up to HK$8,000 and being banned from driving for 12 months.” From the South China Morning Post, Tuesday, January 28, 2003
· Plus numerous other cities, that are too numerous to mention ---
Thumbnail questions/concerns/objections to the Segway being treated as a pedestrian?
- The impact of collisions with pedestrians.
- The impact of collisions between Segway users (especially operating in limited space)
- The Segway Corp recommends liability insurance that can cost up to $1000 US --- will your municipality be following-up on this liability insurance requirement.
- How are DUI’s to be processed --- as pedestrians or as motorized equipment operators?
- Will there be a minimum age requirement for the Segway operator?
- The threat and discomfort felt by pedestrians which may discourage walking and use of sidewalks
- Competition for already limited space on Toronto’s sidewalks
- Likelihood of crashes between Segway users and motorists (the two most common causes of bicycle/motor vehicle crashes are bicyclists riding against traffic the wrong way, and riding on the sidewalk, both of which the Segway would presumably be doing.
- No amount of ingenuous design could sufficiently mitigate safety threats inherent from operating a higher-speed motorized vehicle in a pedestrian right-of-way, and which inevitably intersects with motor vehicle traffic.
- Establishing a precedent for other motorized vehicles such as electric pocket crotch rockets and electric bicycles that are even less appropriate to use on sidewalks.
- The Segway knock-off the Rad2Go Electric Chariot for all intents and purposes looks like a Segway but does not have Segway’s braking ability. Will any Segway approval by tour municipal council be broad brushed to include clones and knock-offs?
- Does your municipality have sidewalk speed limits? If not will there be a by-law to create them?
- There is no way to enforce sidewalk speed limits.
- Segway owners will no doubt constantly be trying to tweak up the speed from the OEM’s max. 20 kph. Apparently the Segway was designed to travel at 20mph.
- We have no safety research on the operating characteristics of the vehicle or the rider
- The social justice impacts of allowing an expensive device available to a limited population to dominate public space.
- Sidewalks have been designed for use at walking speeds, not "four times faster than normal walking speed"
- What happens where sidewalks don't exist or come to a stop and the road has speeds in excess of 20 kph?
- Given that Segways have relatively small wheels with no suspension system, which makes them vulnerable to large cracks and potholes and under the conditions where the sidewalks are discontinuous and the Segway operator has no choice but the roadway, who has the personal injury liability when the Segway operator falls?
- The Segway isn’t meant for the road. “It is designed for sidewalks and paths and to work in conjunction with pedestrians,” advises Robyn Reisler of Segway of Ontario.
- Police, in the Niagara Region are enforcing the law --- One man in Niagara Falls made headlines last September, 2004 for being the first known Segway rider in Canada to get fined: $8,000 for not having insurance or a license plate.He also made an illegal left turn off a sidewalk. (Ref. Toronto Star 2/28/04) story March 1, 2005
- Can the parents be held responsible for the negligence and misconduct of a youth under 16 years of age for property or personal damage while operating a Segway?
- If Segway operators are considered pedestrian will they be charges with J-walking violations?
More Segway concerns at the macro level:
- Promotes a more sedentary lifestyle when we should be promoting walking as healthy physical activity.
- "Segway has put the pedestrian on the defensive", "Many see the Segway as the SUV of the sidewalks."
- Promotion of the Segway has been disingenuous:
# it is a motorized device even if the phrase "electric personal assistive mobility device" seems to disguise this fact.
# we don't know if it can be safely integrated into the pedestrian environment as the makers claim
# use of the phrase "assistive mobility device" may incorrectly suggest that it serves people with disabilities in the same way a wheelchair does
# “Segways do not meet Ontario's equipment safety standards for on-road use” and there are not recognized as Personal Mobility Devices (Motorized Wheelchairs and Medical Scooters)
# Promotion of the Segway by the segway.com marketers in Toronto has not considered or included those most affected: pedestrians and bicyclists
- Promotion of the Segway distracts from serious issues of bicycle and Pedestrian safety and access
- The legal status of the Segway user is unclear.
- Should the Segway user follow the some new set of Rules of the Sidewalk that has been created specifically for them as pedestrians but applicable to all pedestrians?
- There are unanswered questions about the licensing, training, regulation and insurance requirements of Segway users, and regulation of the equipment that should be required for the operation of the device (e.g. helmets, lights, reflectors & bells). Would Toronto have liability in the event of a personal injury accident with a Segway?
- In the hypothetical situation of a DUI would the Segway operator be charged as a pedestrian or as an operator of a motorized vehicle?
- When does the debate end? The Toronto Pedestrian Committee on April 6/05 and again on September 9/05 recommended to the Works Committee “that the City of Toronto continue to prohibit the circulation of Segway scooters and other similar motorized vehicles on sidewalks, footpaths or other recreational paths. The presence of Segway scooters would be detrimental to the safety and free circulation of pedestrians and to the enjoyment of the walking experience.”
- Just look at the competition for Toronto’s sidewalks — vendors, rollerbladers, strollers, non-motorized scooters, newspaper boxes, sidewalk cafes, fruit stands, bus shelters and benches — all jockeying for space on sidewalks.
- Any approval of Segways on Toronto sidewalks would require helmets and everybody knows that “safe” sidewalks do not require helmets.
- Who will police the requirement for helmets on Segway riders?
- Once Segways are approved then the floodgates open to other motorized vehicle such as electric pocket crotch rockets, electric scooters, electric skateboards and the list goes on and on -
- Couriers will have new ways to torment TO’s pedestrians. What will be the licensing rules for couriers using motorized sidewalk vehicles?
- “If Segways are approved for use on the sidewalks of Toronto we can expect:
severe sidewalk tensions in dense pedestrian districts
- The prospect of dodging even a handful of Segway riders at the busiest intersections in Toronto at rush hour is enough to give many people pause
- The fact that all this lobbying is needed to get the product through is enough to make you think about it and about the people behind the product.
- While Segway is pouring big dollars into lobbying, it has not yet provided independent crash test data for both the operator and the pedestrian for public review
- It is totally inappropriate to put this amount of public money and the time into the evaluation of Segways for the benefit of a single company.
- When you wipe away the hype, where is the benefit to the public?
- "It's not an A.D.A.-approved vehicle for persons with disabilities,"
- The Food and Drug Administration haven’t approved them as medical devices.
- Public transit allows electric wheelchairs, but since Segway is not classified as a mobility device, it is a disallowed electric vehicle.
- Segways will provide preferential sidewalk access to the wealthy --- because typically pedestrians will step off the sidewalk on to the boulevard to let the Segway pass if it is approaching from the front.
- Will the new set of “Sidewalk Rules” require the Segway operator approaching a pedestrian from the rear to sound a bell, horn or whistle?
- Given the freedom human nature always accelerates to top speed! If you were in a hurry, how tempting would it be to accelerate that Segway to top speed, weaving in and around pedestrians at 20 kph? The discretion of a Segway operator allows this!
- Ask an urban planner to define the cradle of civilization, and thoughts drift to that innocuous but vital ribbon of concrete, the sidewalk. "Lowly, unpurposeful and random as they appear, sidewalk contacts are the small change from which a city's wealth of public life may grow," From The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs.
- Building security can get downright ornery when a Segway rolls into their lobby whether an office tower, condo or apartment.
- If Toronto approves Segways for the sidewalks will Councillor Saundercook be allowed to ride his around the halls of City Hall? Or will Toronto be posting a sign “NO SEGWAYS” at the entrance(s) of City Hall?
Like numerous other safety conscious global groups, Innovative Mobility’s focus is on Segways because we see them as a threat to pedestrians on the sidewalk. Segways well orchestrated and intense corporate and franchisee lobbying with agents sometimes coming from within Council’s own ranks to have "motorized vehicles" classified as pedestrians would destroy people's public trust in their neighbourhood sidewalk as a safe place to reflect on the weather with a a friend, "nodding hello to the two boys drinking pop on the stoop, eying the girls while waiting to be called for dinner, admonishing the children, hearing about a job from the hardware man and borrowing a dollar from the druggist, admiring the new babies and sympathizing over the way a coat faded.” (Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, 1961) However, please understand that “we are not just opposed to Segways, we believe that no one should be allowed to drive any 2, 3 and 4 wheeled recreational vehicles whether it’s electric or gasoline-powered on any City of Toronto sidewalk or multi-use bicycle and pedestrian path”. We believe that the myriad of recreational vehicles motorized vehicles, many like the Segway designed to operate in the pedestrian environment are a threat to public health and safety that in the final analysis would degrade quality of life in Toronto and environs. Our eclectic student research group, Innovative Mobility, supports any directive from the Toronto Works Committee to Council that would ban the lease, rental or operation of Segways in Toronto.
Pedestrians are already a much-beleaguered group and should not be put in harms way and forced to contend with anyone driving a vehicle on the sidewalk. In Toronto, it is illegal for an adult to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk. The average bicycle weighs less than 30 pounds, yet adult bicyclists are too big, too fast and too threatening to safely share space with small children, seniors and other vulnerable pedestrians. Likewise, allowing any motorized scooter, gasoline or electric-powered, Segway or pocket crotch rocket, to drive on the sidewalk puts the same group of children, seniors, persons with disabilities and the blind in danger. Our student group like Toronto’s own Pedestrian Committee wants to improve the safety of the traveling public and public safety in general; recreational motorized scooters i.e. Segways do not fit the safety equation and therefore, should be banned from operating on City streets, sidewalks, public parks and greenway paths and roadways. Specifically, we urge the Toronto Works Committee to make the following recommendations to Council:
1. Ban the lease, rental and operation of Segways within Toronto
2. The operational Segway ban would make it illegal to drive Segways on Toronto’s sidewalks, bicycle and pedestrian paths plus roadways and parking lots in public parks and greenbelts as found in the Municipal Code Ch. 608.
In Ontario, Segways exist in a legal gray-area:
· While, it is legal to sell them,
· They are non-conforming devices encompassed within the definition of a motor vehicle under Ontario's Highway Traffic Act (HTA) and pursuant to the Act may not legally be operated on highways in Ontario as they “not meet Ontario's equipment safety standards for on-road use”
· Therefore, it is illegal to operate them on our roads
· Reference the Ministry of Transport site at http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/vehicle/emerging/index.html#segway
· Segways fall within the definition of “vehicle” as found in the Municipal Code Chapter 608
Because we are constantly fighting gridlock in our City, we recognize the need to create alternatives to automobile travel. With reservation(s), we support consideration at the provincial level for allowing low-powered electric scooters like the Segway, to travel on city streets. Segways can travel around 12mph (i.e. 20kph), which is the average speed a bicyclist rides in city traffic. Provided that Segways are equipped with headlights, brake lights, turn signals, a bell, mirror, visible licence tag, liability insurance and the requirements for a helmet on the operator, they should be allowed to operate their vehicles on Toronto streets—not on sidewalks or multi-use paths.
The following will provide more specific details on why the Toronto Works Committee should reaffirm the decision reached at the October 11, 2005 meeting to receive the report from the Toronto Legal Department, which clearly finds that Segways are not allowed on Sidewalks, nor are they allowed on Roads. Additionally the Committee voted down a motion to allow for a one-year pilot project to allow Segways on sidewalks and collect some practical data.
More In-depth Discussion:
1. At the January, 2006 meeting when the Toronto Works Committee again reviews correspondence and listens to the Segway franchisee or testimonials from their supporters, you will no doubt hear the following corporate spin:
· “Segway is the future of transportation in polluted cities and conserver of energy”:
· “transportation is the single largest energy user in Canada”
· “road congestion and vehicle emissions are increasing”; “transportation produces 27% of all greenhouse gases”. (sic)
These are motherhood statements and should be discounted--- It is simply unrealistic to think that the introduction of Segways on Toronto sidewalks will eliminate the morning and evening commute and that now people will ride their Segways down the 400 series highways to work.
They may even go on to say:
· “The Segway Human Transporter HT is the first of its kind – a self-balancing, personal transportation device that’s designed to operate in any pedestrian environment”. (sic)
· “Because it operates on sidewalks, paths, trails and indoors with no emissions, use of the Segway can reduce pollution, parking congestion, and traffic.”
Are we to believe that somehow all those commuters to downtown Toronto from the burbs and beyond will somehow now leave their cars behind or maybe even get rid of them all together? What happens during the winter months ---the reality, these elite symbols of the wealthy will be in storage.
· “The Segway can serve as a transit-connector, potentially increasing use of public transportation” (sic)
The question begs will the Toronto Transit Authority allow those 80 to 100 pound Segways being dragged on to the public transit systems?
2. Even Dean Kamen, Segway’s inventor, readily admits that his Segway Human Transporter is not the futuristic answer to his nation's transportation woes; crowded highways and poor public transit, nor will it replace the SUV, the bus or the commuter train. It will have no impact on air quality nor will it reduce the reliance on fossil fuels. What it will replace is walking!
3. Pedestrian, elderly, and child safety advocates haven’t been pleased by the prospect of sharing sidewalks with motor vehicles weighing up to 430 pounds (80 lb. Segway plus rider up to 350 lbs.), legally hurtling by at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. (Although initial Segway models are limited to 10-12.5 miles per hour, they are designed to travel at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour.) Segway’s response to these concerns have largely avoided discussion about “What if collisions with pedestrians” and instead spins out the product’s engineering redundancy and safety affordances, outside of likely operating risks from real-world interactions with other pedestrians and motorists. Indeed, Segway consistently positions and describes the device as an extension of the traditionally safe activity of walking, referring to Segway users as “empowered pedestrians”. Their media statements have largely comprised sound bites lacking in sufficient substance such as Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway explaining, “Our machine is compatible with the sidewalk. If a Segway hits you, it’s like being hit by another pedestrian.” Basic high school Newtonian physics says, “Energy increases with the square of velocity” ---this means the energy expended in a crash of a rider on a 80 lb Segway scooter going 12 mph would be approximately 25 times greater than for a person walking. OUCH!
4. Again employing some common sense Newtonian physics, even if the Segway device were able to come to an abrupt halt from a speed of 12.5 mph, the operator will be thrown forward and into the pedestrian or other object that was struck. Individuals that speak to how quickly the Segway can stop are also forgetting that a young child can dart unexpectedly in front of one of these devices traveling at top speed with no time for the operator to react. A collision is inevitable and the laws of physics will prevail, and potentially, a significant energy transfer will occur to the pedestrian and also to the operator, resulting in injury.
5. Segways may be able to stop quickly however stopping distance is in part based on the reaction time of the rider. “The National Safety Council has determined that the average reaction time for an emergency braking situation is three-quarters of a second. At even 12mph (i.e. 20kph), a Segway would therefore travel an average of 13 feet before the user would even initiate braking.” Segway claims that the device can be stopped in an additional 5 feet (which would be a remarkable 1 g of deceleration force if true!) for a total stopping distance of 18 feet --- Is 18 feet stopping distance sufficient safety factor to be used on Toronto’s crowded sidewalks. Just imagine the damage that a Segway would inflict on any of today’s sidewalk stakeholder if they were to be impacted by a machine and rider weighing several hundred pounds traveling at 20 kph.
6. (a) In Segways promotional videos where pedestrians appear, they appear to be already aware that a Segway HT user is coming, despite the scooter’s silent operation. No children or senior citizens were apparent in any of these videos — only maneuverable, able-bodied adults. (b) The Segway operators also uniformly slow down to pedestrian speeds upon approaching a walker, a form of etiquette that existing scooter users or bicycle riders on the sidewalk do not necessarily engage in. (c) Segway representatives demonstrate a Segway riding over the top of a persons hand without injury; however, this is irrelevant to the real injury hazard of the device colliding head-on into a pedestrian. (d) Many promotional videos show the Segway being operated outdoors in exurban and park-like settings — never on already-crowded city streets. Nor does Segway’s website show the Segway HT in transportation scenarios encompassing a full range of real-world urban interactions. In nearly every photo of the Segway in outdoor uses, the device is entirely stationary — holding an operator who is cheerfully observing the scenery, or interacting with another bystander. (e) None of these scenarios depict moving automobiles, inattentive pedestrians or even Segway operators gabbing on cell phones, mothers pushing strollers, children, seniors or persons with disability using a white cane or aid dog.
7. We have not been able to find pedestrian injury statistics for Canada but in the United States for 2000, there were 78,000 pedestrian injuries and 4,700 fatalities. Pedestrian deaths and injuries disproportionately occur to individuals at the young and old ends of the age spectrum. Children are particularly vulnerable given their developmental immaturity, which is characterized by often-impulsive behavior and poor judgment. Allowing motorized vehicles on the sidewalk will require children to negotiate motorized traffic, something they are developmentally incapable of doing. Using some basic assumptions, the calculated amount of force involved in a collision between a Segway device and a child can be significant and could easily cause serious injury. The purpose of a sidewalk is the separation of pedestrians from motorized traffic.
8. Reassurances from Segway.com representatives and a brief demonstration of the product, or even the week trial by Councillor Saundercook without independent objective evaluation and data, are inadequate criteria for departure from current provincial law and municipal by-laws that exists to protect both device operators and pedestrians. Children, seniors and persons of disability are particularly vulnerable groups to injury and deserve the full protection provided by our laws. The only clear beneficiary of any approval by Toronto to allow Segways on the sidewalks or any other public pathways is the Segway .com marketers.
9. In his letter to the Environment and Public Works Committee (US), Dr. Louis Z. Cooper, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, stated: Children, elderly individuals, persons with disabilities, and other vulnerable populations cannot - and should not - be expected to negotiate motorized traffic on sidewalks, trails and other walkways. Reference http://www.icdri.org/News/segwayacb.htm
10. Many disabled group want the Segway banned from city sidewalks. The following sampling are excerpts are from a San Diego disabled group’s presentation to the San Diego City Council:
· “guide dogs have already had to be prepared for quieter cars, and others said the Segways would cause stress for guide dogs.
· "We are unequivocally opposed to the use of this device on the sidewalk,"
· “If a Segway hits me who will pay my medical bills?”
· Segway is a "wonderful, innovative transportation option," but said it shouldn't be mixed with pedestrians on sidewalks.
Full text available from http://www.10news.com/news/2009095/detail.html
11. Jennifer Barrow of the American Council of the Blind has emphasized the clear and immediate dangers to pedestrians arising from the national campaign to allow the use of the Segway in the pedestrian path of travel. Since the device is battery powered, only a vigilant and alert ear would perceive a Segways approach amid the hubbub of a city landscape.
In letter to Senator and State Representative the ACB states that “there is no question that a strong campaign has been mounted by the makers of this product without sufficient regard to the safety of blind and other pedestrians.” and “The Segway Corporation has not yet provided the public with specific data from crash tests that demonstrate the resulting damage of a Segway-pedestrian collision.” Reference http://www.acb.org/
12. As stated “the Segway Corporation has not yet provided the public with specific data from crash tests that demonstrate the resulting damage of a Segway-pedestrian collision”. Considering the Segways momentum, velocity and mass, what does simple common logic suggest? I would think that it is incumbent on any municipal group that is evaluating Segways to ask the Segway.com franchisee to supply this specific crash test data. Although the Segway has internal gyroscopes for stability, the driver of the device does not. And unlike other motor vehicles, the driver of the Segway is standing unrestrained, not sitting. The operator’s high center of gravity is likely to pull him/her off of the scooter in a quick turn
13. Gary Smith, Director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Children’s Hospital here in Columbus OH, in his presentation to Ohio Senate Highways and Transportation Committee states “Segway is a motorized vehicle. It doesn't matter whether the wheels are in tandem or side by side, whether it stops by friction brakes or reverse torque, or whether it accelerates by the use of a throttle or tilt sensors. It is an electric personal assistive mobility device that transports people using a motor for power. Therefore, it is clearly a motorized vehicle. Reference http://www.icdri.org/News/segwayacb.htm
14. Segway marketers promote the device as benefiting the health of Torontonians because it is non-polluting. Not only is this claim difficult, at best, to quantify and qualify, but it also ignores the important potential adverse impact of this scooter on exercise and obesity. “Lack of exercise and obesity are currently public health problems of epidemic proportions in our country with major health consequences”. According to Dr. Sheela Basrur, Chief Medical Officer of Health and Assistant Deputy Minister, Ontario already has an epidemic of overweight and obesity. Councillors any approval of the Segway in your elected or mandated area of responsibility would be sending the message that motorized travel is a substitute for walking and this would be counter productive to Dr. Brasrur’s 2005 directives: “It is important for everyone from urban planners and elected officials to individuals to do what they can to create neighborhoods and communities that promote more exercise.”
15. Dr. Brasrur’s directive mirrors a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association where it was reported that about two-thirds of Americans are overweight. In the same vein, a former U.S. surgeon general recently chaired a fat summit at which everyone agreed, “an ever-rising ocean of lard threatens Americans' health, finances, and pursuit of happiness”. The U.S. Health and Human Services Department says the costs of a fat society total $117 billion a year. You don't need a $5000 Segway, special skills or training to be physically active. Walking is a great way to be active. The Segway will no doubt decrease walking and biking, which would be detrimental given the importance of regular physical activity. (Reference: October 27, 1999, Journal of the American Medical Association).
16. Everything about the requested approval for use of Segways on Toronto sidewalks is contrary to the Toronto Pedestrian Committee’s mandate to “work for improved pedestrian safety ---“ and their Six Principle Mission Statement:
Six Principles *
3.) Health and Well-being
4.) Environmental Sustainability:
Walking relies on human power and has negligible environmental impact.
5.) Personal and Community Safety:
An environment in which people feel safe and comfortable walking increases community safety for all.
6.) Community Cohesion and Vitality:
A pedestrian-friendly environment encourages and facilitates social interaction and local economic vitality. (This principal is in harmony with Jane Jacobs quotation from The Death and Life of Great American Cities earlier in this document)
*Toronto Council adapted these principles in May 2002 “to ensure that walking becomes an increasingly safe, comfortable and convenient mode of travel in the City.”
· It is our group’s opinion, that it would be totally inappropriate and hypocritical for any Councillor, who is a member of the Toronto Pedestrian Committee, to supports the bid for Segways on the sidewalks.
17. The Toronto Pedestrian Committee at their April 6, 2005, July 14, 2005 and I believe their September 9/05 recommended to the Works Committee “that the City of Toronto continue to prohibit the circulation of Segway scooters and other similar motorized vehicles on sidewalks, footpaths or other recreational paths. The presence of Segway scooters would be detrimental to the safety and free circulation of pedestrians and to the enjoyment of the walking experience.” By majority vote they rejected the use of Segways in favor of "reserving sidewalks for pedestrians". Members of the Committee said: "Segways conflict with everything that we are trying to achieve" Further the Committee "believes that the presence of Segway scooters and other similar motorized vehicles (a.k.a. pocket crotch rockets, electric tricycles, go-carts, Segway knock-off and clones) would be detrimental to the safe and free circulation of pedestrians and to the enjoyment of the walking experience". The Pedestrian Committee went on to say. We “strongly recommend that the City of Toronto continue to prohibit the circulation of Segway scooters on sidewalks, footpaths and recreatational paths."
18. Any approval of the Segway for use on TO’s sidewalks, greenways or other public pathways will be a landmark precedent. (a) You may have noticed that Canadian Tire in their weekly flyers is promoting:
o the Honda Minimoto an electric pocket crotch rocket for $249.99 and
o 33 cc gas powered scooters at $274.99 are another big seller
Haven’t heard of Pocket crotch rockets? They are just the latest craze to hit the road they are miniature motorcycles (aka pocket bikes or rocket bikes). The nicknames are apt. The bikes are small—weighing 45 to 90 pounds, with seats only 18 to 24 inches from the ground—and fast, reaching speeds of 45 mph. (Ref. attachments)
(b) Quebec-based manufacturer, Bombardier, is just waiting to market their version of a “personal human transporter” the Embrio after Segway does all the leg work. The prototype was apparently capable of 20 mph (i.e. 30kph) and have the option of being powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. (Ref. attachments)(c) Global Manufacture Group, Vista, Calif. In January/04 introduced the Rad2Go Electric Chariot. It is not a Segway; it does not contain a gyroscope; it uses four wheels to balance itself; riders stand upright on the scooter; however the profile is much the same as the vaunted Segway. The Rad2Go is significantly cheaper, however, between $1,000 and $1,200 for the first 24-volt models, which will be sold to mass merchants, such as tourist-minded rental agencies. (Ref. attachments)
Revision 12/18/05 A refreshing change something new that is not a sidewalk "toy"! Nolet Electric Cruiser designed for the road and apparently does not require a driver’s licence or licence plates under current Ontario Traffic Laws. For information see http://www.electric-scooter.com/feature.html
19. From the Ontario Ministry of Transportation site at http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/vehicle/emerging/index.html you will find the following:
“Personal Mobility Devices (Motorized Wheelchairs and Medical Scooters)Do not require registration, licence plates, driver's licence or vehicle insurancePersons operating motorized wheelchairs are treated in the same way as pedestrians. The expected behaviour of people, who use wheelchairs to improve their mobility, is generally established by municipal by-laws. Operators should check with their local municipality to ensure by-laws permit their use on sidewalks. A sidewalk should be the first choice for someone using a wheelchair or medical scooter. When there is no wheelchair accessible curb, the person should return to the sidewalk at the first available opportunity. If there is no sidewalk available, people using wheelchairs or personal mobility devices should travel, like pedestrians, along the left shoulder of the roadway facing oncoming traffic”. The accepted definition of motorized mobility aid “means any self-propelled vehicle designed for, and used by, a handicapped person and that is incapable of a speed in excess of 15 kph.” The operative words are:
o Do not require registration
o Do not require licence plates
o Do not require driver's licence
o Do not require vehicle insurance
o Treated in the same way as pedestrians
Please understand that Pocket Bikes, Segway(TM) Human Transporter, E-Bikes / Tricycles / Go-carts, Pocket Crotch Rocket and the other array of new ways of getting around is ever-expanding; however, they are not allowed on Ontario Roads under Ministry of Transportation regulations. That is why the marketers i.e. Segway of Ontario.com are pushing for sidewalk and pedestrian pathway approval. Also, sidewalk approval would not require these sidewalk SUV’s to be licensed or to have liability insurance.
20. For those who would suggest that Toronto consider the Segway “a personal mobility device” for people of disability, please consider that the Segway Corp. has apparently never tried to have the Segway certified as a “personal mobility device” because this is not where they want their product positioned in the market.
o "It's not an A.D.A.-approved vehicle for persons with disabilities,"
o The Food and Drug Administration haven’t approved them as medical devices.
o Public transit allows electric wheelchairs, but since Segway is not classified as a mobility device, it is a disallowed electric vehicle.
And, then there are the safety considerations whether the Segway operator is challenged or able bodied:
o “The National Safety Council has determined that the average reaction time for an emergency braking situation is three-quarters of a second. At even 12 mph, a Segway would therefore travel an average of 13 feet before the user would even initiate braking. Segway claims that the device could then be stopped in an additional 5 feet (which would be a remarkable 1g of deceleration if true) for a total stopping distance of 18 feet. Again, this would be completely unsafe for sidewalk use.”
o “Although the Segway has internal gyroscopes for stability, the driver of the device does not. And unlike other motor vehicles, the driver of the Segway is standing unrestrained, not sitting. The operator’s high center of gravity is likely to pull him/her off of the scooter in a quick turn.”
More on the subjectivism of the disability issue later in this document.
21. What if Toronto approves Segways for use on sidewalks, pedestrian trails and green belt roadways carte blanche without any regulatory linkage then Toronto Councillors should have answers to a labyrinth of questions:
o Who has the liability? Is it the owner, the operator, or the City? Apparently there has already been a Segway hit-and-run --- in San Francisco last November in which a 3-year-old girl was struck.
o The Segway Corp. recommends that Segway owners have liability insurance --- Where does Toronto stand on the liability insurance issue?
o Is there going to be a minimum age for Segway operators?
o Any thoughts on how a DUI will be processed?
o Because Segways will be popular with the couriers --- How are the Couriers to be licensed? Will their Segways be required to be certified? According to the Toronto.ca web site “Toronto's more than fifty (bike) courier companies employ over 500 bike messengers who make an estimated 1.2 million deliveries in our city each year” Reference http://www.toronto.ca/proclamations/2002/proclamation_messengerappreciation2002.htm . Potentially that’s a lot of Segways on TO’s sidewalks and of course they will be crossing roadways only on the “pedestrian walk” signal. By now do you feel that someone is peeing on your leg and claiming that it is raining?
o Will Segway operators be charged with J-walking?
o How will the TTC view Segways:
· Will commuters be allowed to drag their Segways on to the subway, buses and the Red Rocket?
· Will Wheel-Trans Operations allow Segways? And how will the Wheel-Trans operators challenge Segway owners, who will try to game the system, if they claim that their Segway is a “personal mobility device” that they require because they are a person of disability?
o Will there be any cargo size or weight limitations?
o Can the Segway operator pull a cart similar to those designed for bicycles --- with shopping goods or a child?
o Will a Segway operator be required to give an audible signal or shout before overataking a pedestrian.
o Will there be decibel maximums on the auditable sidewalk signal?
o While somewhat extreme, Will there be any restriction on the transport of hazardous material? Its conceivable that a Segway owner would would transport a Jerry can of gasoline back home from a neighbourhood gas station.
o Can the Segway be parked on the sidewalk or does it have to be parked in a designated parking spot on the roadway? What ever the parking restrictions they would be intended to preclude obstructions to pedestrians and motor vehicle traffic --- wouldn’t they?
o If the Segway is in a designated “handicap” parking spot on either public or private property is it in violation of any by-law and/or subject to a fine?
o What are the Rules of Responsibility for a Segway operator on the sidewalk?
o Where the sidewalks are discontinuous does the Segway operator travel on the roadway like pedestrians, along the left shoulder of the roadway facing oncoming traffic or like a bicycle operator travel on the RHS of the roadway?
o Will there be any operational restrictions “during daylight hours only”?
o Or, will there be a requirement that the Segway be equipped with headlamps for after sunset use?
o Down the road, Will there be provisions for designated “Motorized vehicle lanes” on the sidewalks?
o Where a group of Segways are travelling together, are there any provisions that they travel in a single line on the sidewalk?
22. Any Segway approval would put the seniors, the disabled and pedestrians at risk and would forever change our definition of the “sidewalk as a place where people can walk and converse”.Ask an urban planner to define the cradle of civilization, and thoughts drift to that innocuous but vital ribbon of concrete, the sidewalk. "Lowly, unpurposeful and random as they appear, sidewalk contacts are the small change from which a city's wealth of public life may grow," Toronto resident and icon Jane Jacobs wrote in her classic The Death and Life of Great American Cities.
23. Police Departments in Ontario are taking a no nonsense approach to errant Segways:
(a) Niagara Regional PD
Police, in the Niagara Region are enforcing the law --- One man in Niagara Falls made headlines last September, 2004 for being the first known Segway rider in Canada to get fined: $8,000 for not having insurance or a license plate. He also made an illegal left turn off a sidewalk. (ref. Toronto Star 2/28/04).
o When that Segway owner appealed the JP reduced the $8000 fine to $90.
Reference Globe and Mail Wednesday, July 6, 2005 Updated at 11:38 PM http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20050706.wsegway0706/BNStory/National/Niagara Falls, Ont. — "In what is believed to be a Canadian first, a Niagara Falls real estate agent has been ticketed and fined for driving a two-wheeled battery-powered scooter (Segway) on a public street.Pierre Lefeuvre, 54, made headlines last fall after he was charged with failing to have a licence and insurance for riding his Segway Human Transporter along a city street. Mr. Lefeuvre took his battle to provincial offences court Wednesday, claiming the high-tech gadget that can move at speeds up to 20 kilometers an hour, isn't a motor vehicle, and thereby didn't require a licence or insurance. Justice of the peace Santino Spadafora dismissed his claim, saying Segways fall under the Highway Traffic Act's definition of a motor vehicle and that police were justified in filing the charges. “They are motor vehicles and subject to the laws under the Highway Traffic Act,” Justice Spadafora said, before imposing a $90 fine for failing to have a licence plate on the vehicle. Charges of failing to have insurance and making an improper left turn were stayed."
(b) London Police Services From the London Police Services site at http://www.police.london.ca/MediaReleases/ArchivedMediaReleases/scooters.htm you will read - “Last year London saw the emergence of the motorized scooters and mini motorcycles. These vehicles, developed and used primarily in California have made their way into Ontario as ‘fun’ vehicles to ride. Very few have any redeeming transportation value for commuters.” - “Statistics coming from the United States indicate that collisions involving motorized “toy” vehicles are on the rise and that 39% involve children under the age of “There have been a number of deaths associated to these vehicles as well”. -“In order to be licenced and allowed on Ontario roads, vehicles must pass numerous stringent safety tests. These “toy” vehicles don’t and therefore are not safe to be on the roads”. - The Segway is included in this array of “toy vehicles”; however, “until such time that these motorized contraptions are legalized they have no place on our roads, sidewalks or public pathways. Please don’t waste your money purchasing them only to be frustrated and disappointed later by the police doing their job”.
24. Transportation Alternatives, is a 5500-member NYC-area non-profit citizens group working for better bicycling, walking and public transit, and fewer cars. While it seems like such an organization would partner perfectly with Segway, members of TA see it differently. The following are a series of quotations from TA Projects Director Noah Budnick in presentation(s) to the NY City Council’s Transportation Committee Hearings in March, 2004.
· "Segways are incompatible with pedestrians and are no different than bicycles or any other motor vehicles,"
· "It's an amazing technology, but it doesn't belong on the sidewalk. It belongs on the street with the bicyclists and rollerbladers.”
· “Sidewalks are for people to walk and jog on, and children to bicycle on. It is wrong and unsafe to make toddlers, parents with baby carriages, little children on tricycles, disabled persons and the elderly share scarce sidewalk space with any motorized vehicle - whether it is a so-called ‘Electronic Personal Assistive Mobility Devices’ or a motorcycle.”
· “There is a well-funded commercial lobbying campaign underway to convince legislators that the "Segway" device is somehow inherently different from other motorized vehicles. It is not! It is a heavy, motorized platform, which can attain speeds of 15-20 mph. We deplore the self-serving efforts of the manufacturers of "Segway" to obtain special classification and privileges for their motorized vehicle on the unfounded premise that it is safe for sidewalk travel while others are not.”
· "Segway devices belong in the street with cars, motorcycles and other motorized vehicles. New York's pedestrians should not be part of the national testing ground for the Segway scooter.”
25. The Sierra Club in open letter August, 2002 (at http://massbike.org/mbpv/letter_archives/RIsierraclub2002-08-12.html ) to state legislatures has said:
· “children, the elderly, the disabled, and those that must walk, are most at risk. Depending on the provisions governing their use, the scooter users too may be at risk, especially at intersections”,
· rush to judgment includes “no requirements for licensing, registration, liability insurance, or for any enforcement provisions of the limited restrictions”,
· “One of the local (Sierra) Club's priority campaigns, encouraging walking to school, would certainly have been set back if sidewalks were given over to these vehicles as children might be especially at risk”,
· There is also a concern that once some electric motor scooters such as Segways are allowed on bike paths, it opens the door to legal and illegal pressure to allow fossil-fuel powered scooters on the paths also, as has indeed been reported to have happened in California”,
· “It is incredible that an out-of-state company can have such influence over our laws for a product not yet even tested, that has the potential to destroy the pedestrian environment and the value of our bike paths as a place for non-motorized recreation and travel”’
· “If the Segway lobbyists come to your state, beware. Do not trust them to live up to their compromises”.
26. Bicycling advocacy groups on both sides of the border say, “Segways should join bicycles on the roads because their speed is comparable to that of a bike”. (sic)
The League of American Bicyclists had urged postponement of any state and local legislation legitimizing Segways until its potential benefits, risks, and impacts are more thoroughly examined. There is also a concern that once some electric motor scooters are allowed on bike paths, it opens the door to legal and illegal pressure to allow fossil-fuel powered scooters on the paths also, as has indeed been reported to have happened in California.
25. Pedestrian advocacy groups also had concerns. Walk America noted that no one should be traveling faster than the speed of pedestrians on the sidewalks. The National Center for Bicycling and Walking noted that obesity rates were already rising and people need to walk more, not less. There was concern that those with fast, heavy vehicles, like the Segway, would overpower and intimidate those walking, or enjoying sidewalks for conversation, window shopping, strolling.
These pedestrian groups have said:
· “It will diminish the use value of public sidewalks to pedestrians,
· Its introduction raises privatization and social equity issues.
· It is not just to ammmend laws to allow on sidewalks a $5000 device affordable only to the upper class individuals exclusively controlled by a single for profit vendor and his camp followers?
· There will be increasing incidents of sidewalk rage.
· Pedestrians are not regulated traffic and do not travel in a straight line. Vehicles going up to 12.5 mph should not be mixed with pedestrians.
· There is no viable way to enforce the safe operation of Segways on the sidewalk; although, they are demonstrably dangerous to operate on the sidewalk
· There is no way to expect police to enforce a speed limit on the sidewalk. It is difficult enough for them to enforce the speed limits on our roads.
· Redefining the accepted definition of "pedestrian" for the benefit of a single company is outrageously inappropriate. While I agree it is an extreme analogy, this could lead to other redefinitions, such as redefining "bicycle" to include Harley motorcycles; so that, they could use bicycle lanes.”
28. More on Regulations:
The City of Toronto already regulates bicyclists, pedestrians, couriers and motor vehicles. If Segways are approved for sidewalk use then is it not reasonable that Segways probably will have to be similarly regulated? How does the Toronto Works Committees propose doing this because the natural and parallel linkage between “approvals” is “regulations”? Or are the citizens of Toronto to believe that the Segway owners as a group are capable of self-regulation in the same way that snowmobilers, dirt track bikers, skateboarders and ATV owners believe themselves capable of self-regulation?
Lets be realistic any approval of the Segway will cause some problems as it competes with pedestrians, bicyclists, and motor vehicle drivers for space on the existing transportation grids i.e. roads, sidewalks and trails and the extremely wide range of conditions that the Segway can affect. They span from densely crowded city sidewalks to wide shouldered rural highways, from urban playgrounds to vast park preserves. Speed and space conflicts, and the rights and obligations between pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and Segway users are issues needing examination.
Municipalities and the province already regulate bicyclists, pedestrians and motor vehicles; so, it stands to reason that Segways probably will have to be similarly regulated. The task is to know enough about the Segway’s ramifications to assure reasonable control while not inadvertently stifling this technology.
Our group, Innovative Mobility believes that:
a.) Some group must initiate and pay for Segways operating within existing pedestrian transportation system and their users, with a view to devising model regulations on usage.
b.) There be studies to see if safety equipment such as reflectors, running lights and mirrors are appropriate under conditions such as night operation on sidewalks and when speed governors may be appropriate in pedestrian environments or for classes of users such as children.
c.) Some interim restrictions be put in place whereby Segways be governed by regulations already in place for pedestrian and bicyclist use on public rights-of-way including, sidewalks, streets, trails, and road shoulders, and use on public lands such as parks, playgrounds, and preserves.
And all this for the benefit of some Segway.com franchisee and a group of elite people who can afford the $5000 purchase price for the Segway?
The Disability Issue*:
* Addendum 12/11/05 follows
The “disability” factor in the Segway approval equation is the most difficult literally a “catch 22” because no one wants to create further hardship for the disadvantaged. However as difficult it is to turn down someone of disability who has just given a glowing testimonial on how the Segway has changed their lives, please consider that:
(a) Many disabled group themselves want the Segway banned from city sidewalks.
(b) Only a select few disabled will be able to afford the Segway purchase price of $5000 plus.
(c) “People who use electric scooters or wheelchairs probably are doing so out of necessity. People who can hop on and off Segways, balancing carefree, probably are doing so by choice.”
(d) “The National Safety Council has determined that the average reaction time for an emergency braking situation is three-quarters of a second. At even 12mph (i.e. 20kph), a Segway would therefore travel an average of 13 feet before the user would even initiate braking.” Segway claims that the device can be stopped in an additional 5 feet (which would be a remarkable 1 g of deceleration force if true!) for a total stopping distance of 18 feet. It is possible that some people of disability would have impaired reaction times beyond the National safety Councils ¾ second determination.
(e) The Ontario Ministry of Transport does not recognize Segways as personal mobility devices in the same way as they do motorized wheelchairs and medical scooters.
(f) It's not an American or Canadian Disability Association -approved vehicle for persons with disabilities.
(g) Segways have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Revenue Canada etc. as medical devices.
(h) Public transit allows electric wheelchairs, but since Segway is not classified as a mobility device, it is a disallowed electric vehicle.
This part of the Segway debate is difficult and totally understandable. But, please resist the subjective rush to judgment “by approving Segways on the sidewalks!
- *December 11, 2005 Addendum to the “Disability Issue” as it pertains Segways and municipal bylaws ----
Learn from the City of London, Ontario, Canada’s boondoggle!
The City of London, Ontario, Canada has made a major blunder, in our opinion, with a bylaw earlier this year whereby “the City’s Streets Bylaw was ammended to permit the Segway HT as a personal assistive mobility device. Only people with disabilities will be able to use the Segway on City sidewalks and paths.” By “permit(ting) the Segway HT as a personal assistive mobility device” London, Ontario has put the Segway in the same classification as motorized wheelchairs and medical scooters.
Now by default and precedent under the Ontarians for Disability Act, 2005, Segways fall within that municipalities expanded definition of “personal assistance mobility device”; so now, wherever wheel chairs and medical scooter are allowed Segways are allowed. This municipal bylaw boondoggle means Segways have unfettered access to restaurants, professional offices, private transportation etc. in the same fashion that wheelchairs have the right of access to these “private sector” and “public sector” enterprises.
Apparently the bylaw change to recognize Segways as personal assistance devices was done without qualifying either “Segway” or “disability”. So potentially, in the extreme, a person with an in-grown toenail will be permitted to ride their dual axle Segway, capable of 30kph into a restaurant or the theatre.
The catch-22 to London’s bylaw “to allow people with disabilities” the right “to use the Segway on City sidewalks and bike paths” is it will put at risk other people with disabilities along with all the other sidewalk stakeholders.
London’s by-law has no requirements for Segway riders to have liability insurance as recommended by the Segway Corp.--- nor is there any sidewalk speed limit or requirement for the Segway rider to wear a helmet.
We see London Council’s apparent egalitarian motives to enable those disabled, that would or could afford to spend $6000 to purchase a Segway, resulting in major liability and safety issues for all other sidewalk stakeholder including the “disabled” who by definition under the forementioned 2005 Act as both ”visible or invisible” – “including physical, sensory, hearing, mental health, developmental and learning disabilities that are protected”.
Beware of the precedent:
Segway of Ontario holds the marketing rights for the Segway in all of Ontario. It is also my understanding that their Segway marketing strategy is not just to sell, rent or lease Segways from their storefronts but the whole array of newfangled “fun” wheel apparatus most of which like the Segway is being introduced as “for use on the sidewalk” or what the London Police Services calls “toy vehicles that have no place on our roads, sidewalks or public pathways”. It is our opinion that while their agenda before the Works Committee in January is stated as “request for Segway approval on TO’s sidewalks” their hidden agenda is to push the Segway through your Committee in order to set the precedent for a whole myriad of motorized “toy” wheels for the sidewalk. As Committee members you may want to check out Segway of London (Ontario).com (aka Urban Transportation) site, where they are advertising Go-peds, EVT Electric Scooters, Electric Mopeds, etc.
While they are not my words, I’m hearing the words of the Transportation Chair of the Sierra Club ringing in my ears when he said and I quote Barry Schiller “If the Segway lobbyists come to your state, beware. Do not trust them to live up to their compromises”.
Councillors don't be hood winked by the hoopla and the spin orchestrated by the Segway.com marketers, franchisees and camp followers. Segways are not evil, we believe that they are innovative and phenomenal technology --- but they do not belong on the sidewalk. There is simply too many unanswered safety issues to redefining the accepted definition of “pedestrian” for the benefit of a single company. Please keep the sidewalks safe and do not provide preferential sidewalk access to the wealthy for the sole economic benefit of some Segway.com corporation.
Due to space limitations on this site I have not included the pics in this attachments section; they are however available on the .pdf coversion of this document --- e-mail me if you want this file email@example.com
- The Segway dual axle sidewalk sweeperJust the perfect piece of equipment for the couriers, especially if it is equipped with the optional trailer.
- Canadian Tire’s electric scooter
- Pocket crotch rocket
- Bombardier Embryo proto-type
Will be electric; however, the option of being powered by a hydrogen fuel cell is being developed. Proto-type is capable of 30 mph.
- Electric tricycle
- Segway Clone – Rad2Go Electric Chariot
Significantly cheaper than the Segway selling at $1000 to $1200 US for the 24 –volt models and a more expensive, faster and higher powered model will begin selling in the spring of ’06 between $1500 and $2000.
Something to look forward to!
Segways sell for around $6000
From the Ontario Ministry of Transportation site at: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/vehicle/emerging/index.html#segway
1.) Personal Mobility Devices (Motorized Wheelchairs and Medical Scooters)
Do not require registration, licence plates, driver's licence or vehicle insurance
Persons operating motorized wheelchairs are treated in the same way as pedestrians.
The expected behaviour of people, who use wheelchairs to improve their mobility, is generally established by municipal by-laws. Operators should check with their local municipality to ensure by-laws permit their use on sidewalks.
A sidewalk should be the first choice for someone using a wheelchair or medical scooter. When there is no wheelchair accessible curb, the person should return to the sidewalk at the first available opportunity.
If there is no sidewalk available, people using wheelchairs or personal mobility devices should travel, like pedestrians, along the left shoulder of the roadway facing oncoming traffic.
2.) SegwayTM Human Transporter
Cannot be operated on roads in Ontario
A personal human transporter (i.e. SegwayTM) is defined as a self-balancing, electric-powered transportation machine designed for one person, with a top speed of 20 km/h.
The definition of motor vehicle in Ontario's HTA encompasses this type of personal transportation vehicle. However, this device does not meet Ontario's equipment safety standards for on-road use.
This device is not included as a vehicle intended for on-road use under the MVSA, and is considered a device for a pedestrian environment.
Personal transportation devices may be operated where the HTA does not apply, such as on private property.
Anyone using a SegwayTM should contact local municipalities for by-laws pertaining to their use on bicycle paths and sidewalks.
Resource material credits to:
2.) Toronto Works Committee Minutes, October 11, 2005
3.) Noah Budnick, Projects Director, Transportation Alternatives http://www.transalt.org/
4.) Ontario Ministry of Transportation http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/vehicle/emerging/index.htm
5.) Ray Kelly NYC Police Commissioner
6.) Zac Wald, board chairman of California Walks
7.) Linda Gwizdack, San Diego chapter of the California Council of the Blind
8.) Andy Clarke, Planning and Development Network
9.) Faith Keenan, Business Week, 1,16, 2003
10.) Patricia Brown, New York Times, 1/5/03
11.) Matt Smith, San Francisco Weekly, 12/18/02
12.) Rachel Gordon, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/26/02
13.) Chris Daly, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/16/2002
14.) Segway.com http://www.segway.com/
15.) International Centre for Disability Resources on the Internet http://www.icdri.org/News/segwayacb.htm
16.) International Centre for Disability Resources on the Internet http://www.icdri.org/News/segwayacb.htm
17.) American Council of the Blind http://www.acb.org/
18.) Dr. Sheela Basrur, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health
19.) City of Toronto http://www.toronto.ca/
20.) Jane Jacobs, "The Death and Life of Great American Cities
21.) Noah Budnick, TA Projects Director
22.) Transportation Alternatives http://www.transalt.org/
23.) Jesse Day, executive director of the New York Bicycling Coalition
24.) New York Bicycling Coalition http://www.nybc.net/
25.) Barry Schiller, Rhode Island Sierra Club Transportation Chair http://massbike.org/mbpv/letter_archives/RIsierraclub2002-08-12.html
26.) Report “The Use of Motorized Devices on Sidewalks and Public Areas” to the Hawaii State Legislature, June 2003
27.) London Police Services http://www.police.london.ca/MediaReleases/ArchivedMediaReleases/scooters.htm
28.) Helen Henderson, Toronto Star “Segway outcry reveals blinders about disability” at http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&call_pageid=971358637177&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;c=Article&cid=1129758430796&DPL=JvsODSH7Aw0u%2bwoRO%2bYKDSblFxAk%2bwoVO%2bYODSbhFxAg%2bwkRO%2bUPDSXiFxMh%2bwkZO%2bUCDSTmFxIk%2bw8RO%2bMKDSPkFxUj%2bw8UO%2bMNDSPgFxUv%2bw8YO%2bILDSLkFxQh1w%3d%3d&tacodalogin=yes
1. Please feel free to copy, bend, fold, staple and mutilate this document --- there is no copyright on any of the foregoing.
2. This document is intended to be dynamic and changes will be made to reflect Segway developments and my time schedule.
3. For a printer friendly version of this document "Segway - A Pedestrian Friend or Foe in the Urban Environment" in the .pdf format e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
For a full spectrum evaluation and analysis of all Innovative Mobility's Segway concerns please visit all our sites at:
1.) http://www.segwayforontario.blogspot.com/ "Segway for Ontario (an antithesis)"
2.) http://www.segwaycaveats.blogspot.com/ "Segway Caveats for Municipal Council Consideration"
3.) http://www.segwaydisabled.blogspot.com/ "Segways are not Disability Devices"
4.) http://www.segwaypilotproject.blogspot.com/ "Pilot Project For Segway In Ontario Is A Mistake"
5.) http://www.segwayillegalinontario.blogspot.com/ "Segway Riders Face Stiff Fines In Ontario"
Disclaimer:The word “segway” has come to mean a whole myriad of “fun” sidewalk toys in todays lexicon. Whether it is a two, three or four wheel --- electrically or gas powered ---“personal assistance vehicle”, “personal mobility device” or whatever --- under the trade name Segway, Embrio, Nolet Electric Cruiser, Rad2Go Electric Chariot --- or colloquially as “ginger”, “ruth” or “fred”, --- they do not belong on the sidewalk. Innovative Mobility does not see these vehicles, regardles of what they may be called, as evil but rather innovative and amazing technology that belong on the roadways and not on public pedestrian pathways where they present a clear and present risk to pedestrians and other City stakeholders. Our mantra is pure and simple to all municipalities and regulating bodies “Please keep the sidewalks safe and do not provide preferential sidewalk access to the wealthy” by allowing them to use the sidewalks as their playground”; “there is simply too many open ended and unanswered questions to allow even limited trials of these sidewalk SUV’s or to approve only for use by persons with disability.” Bill Brunton for Innovative Mobility
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