Going the Segway of the Dodo
It was meant to be a rapid and environmentally friendly way of navigating urban sprawl, a futuristic conveyance that would revolutionise the way humanity gets about in a brave new world. But the days of the two-wheeled mobility device known as the Segway appear to be numbered, in Britain at least. A judge in Yorkshire has ruled that the gadget, which can reach speeds of 12 mph and costs £5,000, will now be be classed a motor vehicle. This means that owners will not be able to ride the machines on pavements or cycle paths. Judge Michael Rosenberg fined Segway enthusiast Phillip Coates, 51, £75 plus £250 in court costs after the gentleman was caught riding the contraption on the pavement in his hometown of Cudworth last year. As UK law doesn’t permit the devices to be ridden on public roads, it means that they can now only be used on private land, with the permission of the landowner. But while the Segway’s future in Britain looks bleak, it remains legal in most states of the United States of America and Europe. Fellow Segway buff Lembit Opik, the former Liberal Democrat MP turned comedian and media personality, attended the hearing. He blasted the ruling, deeming it “ridiculous.” He added: “It’s up to the Government to explain why it is allowing this farce of uncertainty to continue.” Last year, Jimi Heselden, the British tycoon whose Hesco Bastion company owns the Segway brand, died after riding one of the scooter-like devices off the side of a cliff in Thorp Arch, West Yorkshire.