City council to consider banning Segways from busy sidewalks

City Councilor Sal LaMattina (East Boston, North End, Charlestown) says he knows firsthand what it's like to get run into by a Segway - and wants to keep it from happening to people on busy commercial streets in Boston.

LaMattina told the council today that when he worked for the city transportation department, when Segways were new, he and transportation Commissioner Tom Tinlin went to Segway headquarters in New Hampshire to check them out. Company officials told them a pedestrian couldn't get hurt if hit by one - but he wanted hard proof, so he told Tinlin to get on a Segway and ram him.

"Let me tell you, it hurt," he said.

"Clearly, clearly, they cannot be operated on busy commercial streets like Hanover Street or Newbury Street," he said, calling for regulations on just where the two-wheeled vehicles can go.

Councilor Bill Linehan (South Boston, South End), agreed: "All we need is mechanical machinery running up and down our sidewalks, he said. "This is a walkable city, not a Segway city."

The next step is for the council to hold a hearing on the vehicles. LaMattina's call for a hearing.

Earlier:
Some North Enders fed up with tour groups on Segways.

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Comments

Slower

Yes, Mr. LaMattina is correct. If you tell someone to run you over with a Segway, you might feel some pain.

If someone intentionally runs you over with a Segway, that's assault...not a reason to outlaw Segways.

In fact, if someone runs someone over with a Segway, intentional or not, it would have happened ANYWHERE. It could have been a North End sidewalk, a crosswalk on Comm Ave, or the middle of the Minuteman Trail. This is a manufactured call to action. How many Segway-on-pedestrian problems has this tour had? I think they said they had THREE people total out of EIGHT THOUSAND so far ever fall off of one of their Segways and get a minor bump or bruise.

The neighborhood is bitching about things like his personal/work van being parked in residential zones (legal because it has a residential sticker AND commercial designation, both). They clearly just don't like HIM because he "ruins" the neighborhood in their mind. This isn't about the Segways any more and more about abusing a new business owner.

Scooters are allowed on sidewalks for parking. How many scooter-on-pedestrian injury/deaths have there been in the city? (I haven't heard of one yet) And they just specifically ALLOWED that in response to the recent reclassifications of different-sized scooters. It would be absurd to say "park your scooter on the sidewalks of the North End...but, you there on the Segway, you're under arrest!".

you're comparing a moving

you're comparing a moving segway to a stationary scooter? I don't get it. This law isn't about segway assassins, its about clueless tourist driving an unfamiliar, 100 pound device moving at 12mph in a neighborhood of 15000 residents, thousands of tourists, choking roadway traffic and 3' sidewalks. No one is accusing them of intentionally running down people, assault has nothing to do with it. It is the same idea that makes bicycling and skateboarding illegal on sidewalks. If segways can be there than by all means I should be able to ride my bike on the sidewalk on Newbury Street, no?

You're right

It sure would be absurd to say "park your scooter" etc.-- but they're not talking about parking the Segways on the sidewalk, they're talking about riding them. As Boxy Brown would say, that's an important piece of information, man.

But seriously, I appreciate your advocacy for, and belief in, your preferred mode of transportation, but again, there's a big, big difference here between scooters and Segways. I don't ride one, but I agree with the basic points of how scooters can help relieve traffic congestion, pollution, and parking issues for people who want to get from place to place without using a car or public transportation. (And before you bicycle people speak up, yes, I realize that bikes are far superior to everything else in those regards, and yes, I do ride one, and probably for more years in this city than you have)

But we're not talking about bicycles-- we're talking about practical uses for vehicles. Segways may well be used by some people, here and there, as commuting vehicles, there's just not a lot of people around here who do, or even would, given the landscape, traffic, etc. Which isn't what we're talking about here-- we're talking about a business which further crowds already-crowded streets, entirely for recreational purposes. Would you support a scooter-touring business, based on Beacon Hill, that turned tourists loose on the crowded, narrow, walkable streets there, as these Segways are doing in the North End? Maybe you would, but that doesn't mean that other people aren't free to decide that it's not what they want around them, and to call on their elected officials to do something about it.

Please.

1) How is a parked scooter comparable to a Segway moving down a sidewalk at 12MPH? Apples and Oranges.

2) Mr. LaMattina seems to rightly conclude that if a Segway were to accidentally hit someone, mild to serious injury could occur.

Not only that, but the city could be held liable for that if they turn a blind eye to this. Busy and narrow city sidewalks are not a place for motorized vehicles period. I’m really finding it amusing that anyone would try to justify anything other than that.

I have no issues with the business, but they need to keep to the streets and step off the damn things when they want to get to a landmark only accessible by foot. Ideally, they along with bicyclists should help each other and push for dedicated light vehicle lanes for bikes, segways, and small cc scooters.

Um..

Just curious, but how do the 3 of you responding think that a "parked scooter" gets to where it parks?

The driver doesn't pick it up on the street and lift it over the curb...

I'll take this one

It gets there when the (likely) Communist riding it goes for a short distance from the nearest curb cut, or, if the (alleged) miscreant is athletic (thanks to PEDs), maybe they hop the curb. They certainly don't go for any distance down/along the sidewalks. Only a moron would suggest that. Are you calling all of us morons?

"a pedestrian couldn't get hurt if hit by one"

Awesome. Segway officials are implying that there's something about Segways-- some force field; perhaps The Force itself-- which prevents them, even when they're moving at the speed of a fast jogger, from causing any harm to a pedestrian... even though pedestrians can and do get hurt by errant joggers and even other pedestrians. Segways, then, defy the laws of physics, and perhaps even of space and time.

And here I was, thinking that _I_ was a skilled bullshitter. Obviously I still have much to learn.

Sal ought to hop on a Segway

Sal ought to hop on a Segway and take a ride around East Boston, then, perhaps he'd realize how much time he is wasting by "working" on legislation to ban the Segway. If he took a look, he'd see the trash, graffitti, and blight that he ought to be worried about, not to mention the vagrants in Central Square (and spreading) the street corner thugs, and numerous other issues. If these issues were being worked on seriously, perhaps then, someone in East Boston could AFFORD a Segway and the area could attract more professional people. As it is, his answer for most troubles is "we've been working on that for years" and "it's a long standing issue." Something stupid like this, and it's a race to do something. What about the truly important issues?

How would the Segway be used to address the thug/vagrant issue?

Would they be rammed, or would they just be herded somewhere?

But seriously, how are you figuring that removing these people from the area will put more money in the pockets of other people there? I could see how cutting down on crime can attract more yuppies, but the reason they started coming there in force in the first place was because of overinflated housing prices elsewhere in metro Boston. Now that a lot of this economic group either had to bail or isn't buying; at the same time, more people are desperate and there's less money to prevent crime, so there's more of it. Not making excuses here, but it's not like more yuppies leads to less crime-- more like the other way around.

But I am interested in learning more about using a Segway as a crime-fighting and gentrification tool. Tell me more.

Good These things absolutely

Good

These things absolutely shouldn't be used in parks or on sidewalks be tourists with minimal training.

Those odd octo-bike contraptions have to use the roadways and are told to stay off the busiest of streets, Same with the horse carraiges. Segways should too.

So, then they'll be in the streets?

Just curious. I mean, there are places bikes aren't allowed on sidewalks, but they can still ride in the streets safely (assuming everyone plays by the rules). Unless you mean to suggest that areas of our city are to have Segway blackouts. I didn't realize Kamen was inventing a personal LNG tanker...oh wait, even THOSE are allowed closer to the North End than some of the insanity from people who probably haven't even seen more than 3 Segways in their entire life.

Two issues

1. you can only ban vehicles from roadways according to whether a road is limited access or not - and I think that applies to more than bicycles

2. you can't ask someone who is using a segway as a mobility aid to "prove" that they need it, because that violates the ADA

Segway use

It is amazing all this fuss, They have been here for 2 years plus and no safety issues! Did people miss that. They must be doing something right!