','subtitle>',$line); echo $line; $line = "\n"; } else if (strstr($line, '','updated>',$line); } else if (strstr($line, '','published>',$line); } else if (strstr($line, ' Impractical Proposals <br> Santa Monica: Segways dangerous on the bike path


Segways dangerous on the bike path

Used as we are to having the safety rules on the Santa Monica Bike Path honored mostly in the breach, it was still dismaying to see the photograph in Friday's Santa Monica Daily Press of the gaggle of Segways blocking the route.

The rule against motorized vechicles on the bike path is clear and unambiguous. It's also one of the few regulations that is routinely enforced, and for good reason: the margin of safety on the path is already dangerously compromised without the addition of heavier, self-propelled vehicles piloted by unskilled, often juvenile drivers.

Segway probably figures that as a national corporation with a showroom in Santa Monica, they can get away with ignoring laws that, if you are a young weekend visitor to Venice, can get you a moving violation if you dare to venture north of Navy on your rented scooter. If Segway wants to hold sales pitches by the beach for buyers of its pricey gadget, there is a huge, nearly empty parking lot south of Pico that the city is always happy to rent.

As admirable as these vehicles may or may not be (and, personally, I'd be happy see them clogging our streets; but, remember, there are enough questions about their safety for bans to have been considered or imposed in locales as divergent as Toronto, San Francisco and Disneyland), whether or not they are a solution to our commuting woes, they don't belong on the bike path.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh please.
It's a question of speed, visibility, and maneuverability. And in those factors, Segways are more like bikes than anything. Cars can't see either of them. They both go about the same speed (although bikes can easily outrun them). And actually, Segways are easier to manuever and stop in an emergency. Anybody who has ridden both (myself, an avid biker and segway owner, included) would know. The idea that adding a vehicle with a max speed of only 12-mph and easy navigation makes bike paths more dangerous is just farfetched, anal, and untrue. So what if you encounter one? You slow down and wait for the moment to pass. Big whoop. I see it no different than if you encounter a slow biker.

Dangerous? Let me tell you what's dangerous. Leaving Segways to mix with 50-mph cars is dangerous. Leaving them to mix with walking pedestrians, even though easier than bikes, is also dangerous. The thing I find the most dangerous is actually biking on sideways, but that seems to be ok here.

1:26 AM  
Blogger John Gabree said...

No question Segways are fun. And it may be true that an experienced Segway owner, like yourself presumably, is not a risk on the bike path. Here's where the danger lies: since the Segway store is using the bike path for demonstrations and learners, people are on the bike path who are not necessarily in control of their vehicle. This is a problem with bikers and skaters, too -- it would be great if the city would designate a beginners area, say in that bi unusued expanse of concrete at the end of Ocean Park Boulevard, but it is the bike bath, not the motorized personal vehicles path. And it is a big when beach visitors rent scooters and motorbikes and then tear up the path half in countrol of their rides. Powered vehicles are prohibited for the very good reason that they make an already unsafe situation even more so. It sounds like you are special pleading for an exception to that rule for the Seqway. Why an exception for an expensive vehicle available to only a handful of people? As far as sidewalks vs designated bike routes, maybe. Segways are more visible than bikes by being higher, but most of the other objections stand. Segways might make a valuable addition to the fleet of vehicles for local commuting, but this is one time when a city study might actually be useful. Should the be in traffic, on the bikeways, on the sidewalks? I see no clear answer. I do know that the prohibition against powered vehicles should stand.

11:39 AM  

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