America, September 20, 2004
Send them to the streets, where they belong!
America's laziness has reached yet another pinnacle of inactivity, for yesterday, on my four-mile lunch run to the Capitol Building and back, I spotted a new and shocking sight. Seven people on a tour riding Segways along the sidewalk in front of the Capitol.|
Apparently, City Segway Tours is now offering two daily tours of the National Mall, which is wrong on so many levels. First, Segways are motorized vehicles, no matter what the inventor claims. There's a motor, wheels, and a steering device. He even filed the patent under 'Transportation vehicles'.
And we're not talking a wheelchair for the disabled. In fact, Segway says you have to be 'able-bodied' to use it. As a motorized vehicle, it belongs on the road, like a car, and should require a license and insurance to drive.
At the least, it's an electric scooter or bicycle, neither of which is allowed on sidewalks. It is over 250 pounds (80lb Segway + 170 lb rider), two-feet wide, and barreling down a sidewalk at 12 miles an hour, three times pedestrian speed, it is a sidewalk SUV.
A sidewalk SUV that will run over people, crash into cars, and throw a few rides into the hospital. Hell, not even our illustrious President could take a spin without a spill. This being America, lawyers are standing by. I know if one of them hits me, I'll sue my way into retirement. That is if I survive.
We are already such an obese nation, and this just makes it worse. Gone will be one of the last places suburban Americans are forced to walk, the National Mall. Underfit and overweight, I can see soft tourists swarming 'round in Segways, Segway knockoffs, or even homemade contraptions, all using Segway's electronic personal assistive mobility device loophole to flaunt what was once a simple rule: Pedestrians on the sidewalk, everything else on the street.