The document following with the subject “Segway - A Pedestrian Friend or Foe in the Urban Environment?” was specifically prepared 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 their January 12, 2006 meeting. However, the information contained herein is for the most part generic and will have an application to any municipal council at the global level.While our request of the Toronto councillors is very simply to “ban the lease, rental and operation of Segways in Toronto”. There is very considerable supporting documentation with annotated references before we conclude this paper with the summary statement “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.
January 2, 2006 Addendum to the original post: At this January 12, 2006 Works Committee Meeting, committee members should be prepared for the Segway.com principles to play the "handicap / disability" card in order to present themselves as being altruistically motivated and the Segway as a "personal assistance mobility device". Caveat emptor, there are very severe precedent implications to any Toronto approval of Segways on sidewalks and bike paths as a "personal assistance mobility device" for the disabled in regards to both the:
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.
Disney in 2004 banned Segways due to what they saw as Segway legal problems arising from potential safety issues and those who are looking to game the system and take unfair advantage of accomodations for the disabled. "People who use electric scooters and wheelchairs probably are doing out of necessity --- people who can hop on and off Segways, balancing carefree, probably are doing so by choice!"
”Preparation of this paper was a group effort by “Innovative Mobility” a student research group dedicated to studying new yet responsible solutions to today’s transit problems. Now while I was just one of the participants in the preparation of this paper, I am our group’s Communications Intregrator; so, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
for questions, suggestions and/or reaction(s). I will also allow comments directly to this blog, “Segway Caveats for Municipal Council Consideration”, without censorship. If you haven’t already been there, our student research group have another site, "Segway for Ontario (an antithesis)" at http://www.segwayforontario.blogspot.com/ that has been up and running for several years now and is picked-up by essentially all the search engines.
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.
Please contact me directly for a printable version of this report in .pdf format.
On a personal note from myself and our group "The subject of Segways is fraught with controversy because everybody has an opinion.The opinion of myself and the group that I represent is "that Segways do not belong on any publicly funded pedestrian infrastructure". Our blog sites are an assemblage of opinions and were created for the specific purposeof disseminating those opinions. "