The Segway was ridden by Gerri Moriaty, a Fuji MTB team member. She's a Segway employee and was mobbed whenever she Segwayed out from the Fuji booth.
US IBDs wanted to know when they could start selling them...
[For more Segway stories, click on the links below or, to get all seven stories to date, do a search on 'Segway' in the top left-hand corner seach box].
ITDP is worried Segways will take turf from bikes and pedestrians
Here's what the US-based Institute for Transportation and Development Policy has to say about Segways:
"With a top speed of 12.5 mph, the Segway – similar to an electric moped except that it is slower and costs as much as a new car – could provide a provide a cleaner, quieter and smaller alternative to cars. Instead, the Segway folks are pulling out all the stops to take turf away from pedestrians and cyclists.
"As of June 2002, 24 state legislatures had passed bills that were Segway-friendly and all other legislatures had bills pending or bills expected to be presented, according to Matthew Dailida, the company's state-government affairs manager.
"At the federal level, thanks to effective lobbying from the corporation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has deemed the Segway equal to a motorized wheelchair and would ostensibly operate free of regulation.
"While Federal law as it stands does not allow the Segway to be used on federally funded sidewalks and bike paths, on April 25, 2002, a bill that would change this law in favor of Segway users passed the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, though it has not yet reached the full Senate.
"Currently its major customers are the US Postal Service and various police departments, displacing trips mostly made before by bicycling or walking. What will happen to already epidemic levels of obesity as the devices displace even more walking and cycling trips? What will happen when the first 70-pound device strikes a pedestrian?"
And check out this spoof Segway/Legway press release from ITDP:
-- For Immediate Release --
Zero-Emission Vehicle to be Unveiled at Earth Summit
--Revolutionary 'Legway' is powered by biomass fuels and consumes less energy per passenger mile than any known mode of transport--
“With the exception of the chloroplast and possibly the clothesline, the Legway is the most affordable, useful, and environmentally-friendly invention known to man.”
Paul Steely White; firstname.lastname@example.org; (212) 629-8001
New York, NY-- At the upcoming Earth Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, researchers from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) will unveil the ‘Legway’, a $150 zero-emission vehicle powered by biomass fuel. “While the vehicle can run on everything from trans-fatty acids to simple sugars and starches, our studies show that complex carbohydrates yield optimal performance,” said Dr. Walter Hook, ITDP’s Executive Director.
The Legway, (code-named ‘Jasmine’), is purported to consume less energy per passenger mile than any known mode of transport, including walking. ITDP researchers claim that the Legway can travel over 16 kilometers on the energy equivalent of a bowl of rice.
Recent trials conducted in New York City and Accra, Ghana showed that the Legway measures up to the Institute’s performance claims. “While top speeds are in excess of 40 kilometers per hour, average speeds are about 18 – 23 kilometers per hour”, said Paul Steely White, the Africa Regional Director of the New York based Institute. “I’ve actually been using one to get to work and it works quite well, except that many motorists act strangely-- as if a quiet, non-polluting vehicle does not belong on the road,” added White.
ITDP is already working to convince cities to build special infrastructure for the vehicles-- measures they think are justified given the claimed environmental and social benefits.
The development of the technology behind the revolutionary invention is mysterious and intriguing. A rudimentary version of the Legway can be found buried in Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus. The technology was partially rediscovered in the late 1800’s, applied in the emerging aeronautics industry, and then forgotten as the automobile age got underway. In the 1950’s Albert Einstein was rumored to have dabbled with the technology as he was developing his Theory of Relativity.
[see attached photo]
Why has it taken so long for the invention to surface? Some point to powerful corporate interests who have benefited from the suppression of Legway technology: the oil and automobile industries, and big-box retailers.
While most fully equipped versions of the Legway cost $300 - $500 (and even over $1,000 for sportier models), ITDP has been working with top designers in China and the U.S. to develop models that are affordable for the African market. “We think we can get the price down to about $60 per vehicle, which would make the Legway ideal for the developing world, helping millions access schools, jobs, clinics, and markets,” stated White.
White waxed on, decrying increasing urban car use that, "...is congesting streets, increasing respiratory illness among children, and isolating the non-motorized majority."
Dr. Yaakov Garb, an ITDP scientist, qualified the Institute’s claim that the Legway is a zero-emission vehicle. “Though a tiny amount of CO2 is released, and an occasional incomplete burning of the biofuel can result in methane and sulphur emissions, these discharges are miniscule… rendering the Legway a virtual zero-emission vehicle.” Dr. Garb noted that the transport sector is the fastest growing source of Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
Dr. Garb also pointed out that that other "alternative" vehicles that claim zero or low emissions, such as electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are actually very polluting, due to 1) highly toxic production processes, and 2) the electric power that must be generated to charge them. “With the exception of the chloroplast and possibly the clothesline, the Legway is the most affordable, useful, and environmentally-friendly invention known to man," continued Dr. Garb.
Dr. Hook, in response to a question regarding the barriers to full commercialization of the vehicle, replied, “The Legway is the only affordable alternative to fossil-fuel transport…there are only 3 barriers to the widespread commercialization of the Legway.” Hook enumerated the three barriers as:
1) Safety. “The Legway works best on traffic-calmed, tree-lined streets with special lanes.”
2) Status. Because the Legway is inexpensive, the bourgeois may shun it. “Automobile congestion is killing city economies. People have to make the decision to be either upwardly mobile, or actually mobile.”
3) Sprawl. The Legway works best in dense communities, where average trips are below 10km. “Trips farther than this are best bridged by high-quality public transport systems, for which the Legway can act as an effective feeder mechanism.”
The Legway: The affordable, practical alternative to fossil-fuel transport.