"Segway enthusiasts who choose to purchase the first Segway Human Transporters through this program will have the world watching them," promises Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway.
A ton of info on Segway technology is on Amazon.com, the first place in the world to offer Segways for sale. And, for the moment, the only place in the world to offer the consumer versions of the ‘sidewalk interloper’. News of the sale via Amazon.com was broadcast earlier today on Good Morning America, the breakfast television programme.
Think five thousand bucks is too much for a Segway? Earlier this year an auction on Amazon.com saw the first three Segways built going for $160 100, $104 100 and $100 600.
Bikebiz.co.uk has featured nine stories on the introduction of the Segway, and how this fast, heavy device is steamrollering opposition to it being allowed on sidewalks (ie pavements).
Despite the fact that the expensive Segway will make fat Americans even fatter, Segway claims that using a Segway is good for your health, and your wealth:
"Enhancing your strength and mobility will expand the boundaries of your neighborhood by enabling you to cover more ground in less time. And it will help you accomplish things that might have otherwise required a vehicle, creating benefits for your household—such as saving money —as well as benefits for your community and society as a whole."
The Segway website stresses that fast, heavy Segways have "no impact on the pedestrians around you." Is this a comment that Segway Corp will come to regret for not only is America the land of the obese, it’s the land of the litigious? [One US law-firm is already preparing for likely lawsuits: "We believe that the Segway HT is potentially a legal nightmare and will be the basis for many lawsuits, both from the corporate and consumer side." http://www.sue-it.com ]
In an article in Time magazine last year, the Segway’s wunderkind inventor said Segways are ideal for downtown transportation. Unlike cars, they are cheap, clean, efficient, maneuverable. Unlike bicycles, he told Time, with not a shred of irony, they are designed specifically to be pedestrian friendly.
"A bike is too slow and light to mix with trucks in the street but too large and fast to mix with pedestrians on the sidewalk…Our machine is compatible with the sidewalk. If a Segway hits you, it’s like being hit by another pedestrian."
And on the Good Morning America website, Kamen again repeated his claim that bikes are more dangerous to pedestrians than Segways will ever be.
32 American states have so far rushed through legislation to allow use of Segways on sidewalks, bike paths, and certain roads. The rest are being lobbied hard, something that greatly worries many US bicycle advocate groups.
For the full list of Segway articles (including comment pieces from bike trade people who reckon the Segway should be embraced by the bike trade) type ‘segway’ into the search engine, top left corner of the screen.