Disabled Want Segway Transporter Banned In San Diego
Critics Say Device Would Be Dangerous On Sidewalks
12:33 AM, Feb 27, 2003
A number of disabled people want the San Diego City Council to ban the Segway Human Transporter from city sidewalks.
The Land Use and Housing Committee didn't take any stance on potential regulation of the stand-up scooter-type device when it met Wednesday, opting to wait for more input from a citizen's committee.
But it heard from a number of people with physical disabilities who said the high-tech ride would imperil them on city sidewalks. The Segway can operate at up to 12 mph, but it can be limited to lower speeds using different keys.
Linda Gwizdack of the San Diego chapter of the California Council of the Blind said guide dogs have already had to be prepared for quieter cars, and others said the Segways would cause stress for guide dogs.
"We are unequivocally opposed to the use of this device on the sidewalk," Gwizdack said.
She said she has had collisions with pedestrians who don't respect her white cane and fears what would happen if she came across someone "with that kind of attitude" on a Segway.
"I'm going to be mowed over," he said.
A representative of Walk San Diego called Segway a "wonderful, innovative transportation option," but said it shouldn't be mixed with pedestrians on sidewalks.
On the other side, several people touted Segway as safe and good for the environment.
Susan Moore, a Pacific Beach resident who recently bought a Segway, said the required training course stressed safety and courtesy.
"We found out how easily maneuverable they are, -- how slow you can ride them, how you can stop so easily," she said.
She said she wanted to use hers to ride to the drug store, errands and even exercise class.
The state of California has classified Segway riders as pedestrians who can use it on sidewalks.
Future city discussion of potential regulations will include whether the devices should be allowed on city sidewalks, whether riders should be at least 18, and possibly setting a speed limit of 8 mph.
Councilman Scott Peters, who chairs the committee, wants to see the Segway help get cars off the road for short trips.
"If this takes off, I think we'll be better off," Peters said.