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Old 01-30-09, 11:39 PM   #1
Roody
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Why hate on Segways?

Segways are carfree devices that probably have a mininal impact on the environment. They seem to mix pretty well with other modes of transportation. The inventor, Dean Kamen, seems like a sincere and caring guy--even if he does drink his own pee.

So why do we (most bike commuters) hate on Segways so much?
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Old 01-31-09, 12:05 AM   #2
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Do people ride those things in the street? I've never seen one. I didn't know they were hated.
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Old 01-31-09, 12:09 AM   #3
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They're illegal unless licensed like a vehicle (may be changed in the future as it's virtually impossible to get now) in the UK so you don't really see them outside.
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Old 01-31-09, 12:10 AM   #4
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I'm not keen on them because I've seen them in use around here. They're wide; especially if you have the little hardcase panniers for them. They take up much more than half the sidewalk, forcing people out of your way. They top out at ~12mph; far faster than anyone is walking around. I rarely see the Segway riders keeping a slow and steady pace with any other pedestrian traffic. They're weaving around people like a kid on a skateboard. Finally, they're squirrelly for new operators; much like a bicycle. Except that Segways are allowed, if not specifically confined to the sidewalk with other pedestrian traffic.

Conceptually, I have no complaints. In practice, I'm just not diggin' them.
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Old 01-31-09, 12:25 AM   #5
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A Segway rider can't be taken seriously, it's just silly looking. That said, I don't hate the things.
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Old 01-31-09, 12:57 AM   #6
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It's basically a high-tech Jazzy. I don't hate them; I just sort of pity the riders.
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Old 01-31-09, 01:17 AM   #7
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I don't hate them, but I would say they are ridiculous in the same sense that we "need" cars to be prosthetic extensions of our bodies because we (speaking generally of people) are too pathetic to get around using our own muscles.

What advantage does a segway have over a bicycle, other than appealing to those folks to whom even the wonderfully-efficient mode of transport we all know as cycling is too difficult?

With all that being said, (1) I don't claim to be an expert, because I've never used one of these things, and (2) I realize that they may make sense in limited applications such as for some urban police.

Though I'd rather see folks on segways than in cars.
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Old 01-31-09, 01:22 AM   #8
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I've ridden a Segway many times, back when they first came out. They're incredibly easy to ride; I've taught a number of people to ride them in less than 3 minutes.

They're fun to ride for a few minutes - and then you think that you would either be:
A. Actually getting some exercise, by riding a bike or,
B. Moving much faster, as on a motor scooter, motorcycle, or car.

I could definitely see using one in certain situations - like, if I were a foot patrolman and I had to patrol an area all day (like, a beach or amusement park). Or I weren't physically able to ride a bike. Or if I were a property manager and had to scoot around all day long (say, running around a big resort or university campus or apartment complex or industrial park).

I don't see any reason to hate them.
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Old 01-31-09, 01:53 AM   #9
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So why do we (most bike commuters) hate on Segways so much?
When is the last time the commuting forum even had a segway thread and did it really have any significant segway hating in it?

I call strawman on you Roody with this thread!
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Old 01-31-09, 02:18 AM   #10
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What the funk does a Segway have to do with bike commuting?
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Old 01-31-09, 03:22 AM   #11
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I went to a place in Denmark that had an off-road Segway track and saw a large number of people riding them. All types of people: attractive girls, young kids, old people, businessmen, fat people, skinny people, myself, my friends, etc. I have determined that it is impossible to ride a Segway without looking like an idiot.

Other than that, I just don't really see the point. They have a reasonably large footprint, they're not very fast, and yet you're not getting the exercise benefit of walking or cycling. Other than a few specific applications, the only real use of them that I can think of is that they're neat and people like novelty.
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Old 01-31-09, 09:00 AM   #12
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I like segways. We have two in our city. They're allowed on sidewalks now.
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Old 01-31-09, 09:10 AM   #13
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Manufacturer and inventor of Segway announced well in advance of bringing them to market that they were the be-all, most ultimate, earth moving invention for people of all time (or something to that effect). Then the world got a look at them and hasn't stopped laughing.
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Old 01-31-09, 09:26 AM   #14
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I don't hate them, but compared to a bicycle the are not very practical. They are heavy, slow, short range and if you run out of power, you can't pedal it home. I prefer to pedal to exercise and to go farther. They might be handy for someone who can't pedal due to a health issue.
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Old 01-31-09, 09:28 AM   #15
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This thread + Segway = FAIL
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Old 01-31-09, 10:03 AM   #16
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The director of the summer camp where I've worked for many years uses one to get around the camp. There are roads all around camp, and when there aren't he does fine riding it on the grass. it's a great way for him to get around, rather than the golf cart he used to drive. He must put on 30mi /day going back and forth around camp.
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Old 01-31-09, 10:55 AM   #17
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When is the last time the commuting forum even had a segway thread and did it really have any significant segway hating in it?

I call strawman on you Roody with this thread!
So I'll put you down as loving on the segways. Will you sell your bikes and buy one?

To answer your question, I don't think there has been a thread on this forum about segways. There have been posts with segway hating. What got me going was that I had talk with some commuters who hated segways a couple months ago. Then there was a recent thread in Living Carfree about how Segways slide on ice, and nobody had much good to say about them. I wondered if this was the consensus, and why.
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Old 01-31-09, 11:06 AM   #18
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I like segways. We have two in our city. They're allowed on sidewalks now.
Some bike and pedestrian advocates don't think letting them on the sidewalk is such a good idea. They're heavier and less maneuverable than a bike and they don't have to have lights, bells or other safety equipmant.

John Allen on segways
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Old 01-31-09, 11:25 AM   #19
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Segways are great for mall cops. I think for commuting they suffer from being neither fish nor fowl. They are not really fast enough for riding in the street and they look as though they would be difficult to provision with lights. I've never seen one ridden in the street (but then, I scarcely never see them other than in malls, airports and such with cops on them).

On the other hand they are too fast for sidewalks. Fundamentally, sidewalks are for pedestrians.

Overall I guess they just seem less practical than alternatives like bicycles, scooters and cars.
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Old 01-31-09, 11:31 AM   #20
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Some bike and pedestrian advocates don't think letting them on the sidewalk is such a good idea. They're heavier and less maneuverable than a bike and they don't have to have lights, bells or other safety equipmant.

John Allen on segways
Unlike a bike they comfortably travel at 3mph allowing them to move right behind a walker for long distances. I'm not convinced they belong on streets with high speed limits although I see no reason they shouldn't be allowed in 25mph zones. There's probably no need to regulate it though. Much like bicyclists most segway users will probably go out of their way to avoid 40mph 5 lane suburban-nightmare-ways.
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Old 01-31-09, 11:36 AM   #21
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Segways are great for mall cops. I think for commuting they suffer from being neither fish nor fowl. They are not really fast enough for riding in the street and they look as though they would be difficult to provision with lights. I've never seen one ridden in the street (but then, I scarcely never see them other than in malls, airports and such with cops on them).

On the other hand they are too fast for sidewalks. Fundamentally, sidewalks are for pedestrians.

Overall I guess they just seem less practical than alternatives like bicycles, scooters and cars.
On the contrary. I think they're perfect for suburban sidewalks. Suburban sidewalks are empty most of the time and a "rush hour" would involve two people passing each other in opposite directions.

Distances are long. If you need to travel 2-5 miles it's really too far to simply walk (unless you have a lot of spare time) but if you can maintain 8mph on a segway for most of the trip a 5 mile trip is about the same time commitment as a 2 mile walk.

They might not belong on urban sidewalks. And unfortunately they're expensive and unfamiliar enough that suburban American will be afraid of them an unwilling to give up their Tahoe (for a normal car) in order to buy one.
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Old 01-31-09, 12:13 PM   #22
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On the contrary. I think they're perfect for suburban sidewalks.
We have snow and ice on our sidewalks for 4 or 5 months of the year. How do the segways do there?
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Old 01-31-09, 12:53 PM   #23
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Segways are a gateway vehicle. If popularized they would just increase the numbers of people who must ride mobility scooters later in life due to physical neglect. If you can get their on a Segway, you can get their on foot or by bike.
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Old 01-31-09, 01:02 PM   #24
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Because they make even the most elite anti-terror cops look silly and lazy?





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Old 01-31-09, 01:11 PM   #25
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So why do we (most bike commuters) hate on Segways so much?
Outrageous Cost + lack of practicality + lack of portability (oversized and overweight) + lack of protection from the elements for the operator seems sufficient. Over the top promotional hyperbole from the inventor and investment backer (Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers) is a good reason too.
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