A Segway is a two wheeled vehicle that is powered by electricity. The rider of a Segway needs to balance on the device and can ride up to approximately 12.5 miles per hour. The Segway has similar characteristics to motor vehicles, bikes and pedestrians, as a result it can be difficult for people to know their rights and responsibilities when riding such devices. This article will discuss the legal status of a Segway.
It must be noted that a Segway is technically considered as a consumer product. As a result, it is regulated in the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission and not under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That being said, legislation concerning this device is usually handled at the state and local levels.
The Segway is usually considered as a “personal assistive mobility device”, “motorized mobility device” or “electric personal assistant ability device”. Therefore, it is similar to electric wheelchairs used by handicapped individuals.
Representatives of Segway have lobbied states and cities across the United States to allow their use successfully. The device can be used on private property. The vast majority of states have enacted permissive use of the device; however, some cities have specifically excluded the device for use in their borders.
When the Segway is allowed to be used, the rider is usually required to follow specific rules regarding pedestrians. In addition, there are provisions provided regarding the crossing of streets and walking on the left-hand side of the road. State laws determine when the Segway can be used. In most areas, Segways are permitted on sidewalks, bike paths and roads where speeds are slower. Many areas apply pedestrian rules and laws to the use of this device. However, there are some states, like Wyoming, Connecticut, that do not permit such devices to be operated on sidewalks or bike paths.
Due to the fact that Segway operations are legislated at state and local levels, rules vary greatly based on jurisdiction. Some areas limit the number of these that can be used on tours, which is a way the device is popularly used. Other areas consider the device a motor vehicle and require that it must be registered and insured in the state. Some jurisdictions have even established ordinances that limit the speed a rider can go. In addition, local ordinances may restrict where in a city that a Segway can be used, potentially barring it from particularly populated pedestrian areas. Whereas some states and localities may pass laws stating that the rider of the device must be a certain age to ride it legally.
Riders of Segways may be able to buy optional insurance that work in the same way as car insurance. Liability insurance would provide for the payment to another person who is injured by the device to provide for medical bills and property damage. Collision coverage would provide for repairs to the Segway and comprehensive coverage provides for compensation in the event of theft.
The number of Segways sold is relatively low in regards to other types of transportation devices. Therefore, there is limited resources and case law regarding potential lawsuits. For legal advice in a Segway related accident speak to personal injury Anchorage attorneys