This Segway was spotted on Witherspoon Street near Small World Coffee this weekend. Evidently, some local resident was taking advantage of the wonderful weather to Segway into town! The Segway was locked to a traffic sign with a standard U-lock.
For those who are not familiar with the Segway, it is an electric ‘personal mobility device’, where the user stands on a wheeled platform and operates a tilting stand at the front to direct movement in any direction. Here is a short video of people riding Segways. Launched in 2001 amid much hype, the Segway was expected to revolutionize personal transport. It’s fair to say that this has not yet happened, and many people remember the Segway more from the time George W Bush crashed one, the 2009 movie ‘Paul Blart, Mall Cop‘, or the sad story about how the company founder died after driving a Segway off a cliff.
Despite all that bad press, the Segway could play a great part in helping us get around in future. Silent, and far more energy-efficient than cars or scooters, Segways could enable people to get around without using cars. The entry level Segway PT (‘personal transporter’) retails for about $6,000, so whoever was driving this machine clearly had made a significant investment. However, it can reach 12.5 mph with a range of 24 miles, making journeys of a few miles speedy and effortless. People often wonder whether it is legal to ride Segways on roads and sidewalks. In New Jersey the answer is a clear ‘yes’. A 2003 state law specifically written with Segways in mind authorizes their use on streets and sidewalks with no requirement for a license or insurance, but requires that users wear a helmet.
Walkable Princeton recognizes that compact, urban development brings many lifestyle, economic and environmental benefits, but can only be successfully realized with an integrated transportation policy. Although we are called ‘Walkable Princeton’, we support everyone having the freedom to safely walk, bike, rollerblade or Segway to their destination. Ideally, Segways and other mobility devices should be separated from pedestrians and cars, to reduce the risk of crashes. However, every Segway journey is a journey that takes a car off the streets, saving oil, reducing the space required downtown for parked cars and protecting the atmosphere. Congratulations to the Princeton Segway community, but please ‘Glide Safely‘!
Are you a local Segway enthusiast? What do you think about these devices sharing the roads and sidewalks? Feel free to leave us a comment!