Segways go on sale. No need to walk ever again

Sidewalk interloper

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As revealed on US breakfast telly this morning, Dean Kamen's Segway<</a> is on sale from today via the Amazon 'early adoptors' club. Delivery is US-only and your $4950 machine actually ships in March at the earliest (although in a bid for even more publicity, 30 consumers will be hand-picked to receive their Segways before Christmas).

"Segway enthusiasts who choose to purchase the first Segway Human Transporters through this program will have the world watching them," promises Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway.

A ton of info on Segway technology is on Amazon.com, the first place in the world to offer Segways for sale (and currently the only place in the world to offer the consumer versions of the 'sidewalk interloper'.) News of the sale via Amazon.com was broadcast today on Good Morning America, the breakfast television programme.

Segway HT

Think five thousand bucks is too much for a Segway? Earlier this year an auction on Amazon.com saw the first three Segways built going for $160,100, $104,100 and $100,600.

Despite the fact that the expensive Segway will make fat Americans even fatter, Segway claims that using a Segway is good for your health, and your wealth:

"Enhancing your strength and mobility will expand the boundaries of your neighborhood by enabling you to cover more ground in less time. And it will help you accomplish things that might have otherwise required a vehicle, creating benefits for your household—such as saving money —as well as benefits for your community and society as a whole."

The Segway website stresses that fast, heavy Segways have "no impact on the pedestrians around you." Is this a comment that Segway Corp will come to regret for not only is America the land of the obese, it's the land of the litigant...

In an article in Time last year, Kamen said Segways are ideal for downtown transportation. Unlike cars, they are cheap, clean, efficient, maneuverable. Unlike bicycles, he told Time, with not a shred of irony, they are designed specifically to be pedestrian-friendly.

"A bike is too slow and light to mix with trucks in the street but too large and fast to mix with pedestrians on the sidewalk...Our machine is compatible with the sidewalk. If a Segway hits you, it's like being hit by another pedestrian."

And on the Good Morning America website, Kamen again repeated his claim that bikes are more dangerous to pedestrians than Segways will ever be.

So far, 32 US states have rushed through legislation to allow use of Segways on sidewalks, bike paths, and certain roads. The rest are being lobbied hard, something which greatly worries many bicycle advocate groups. © BikeBiz.co.uk.

Bikebiz.co.uk is mostly trade-only. BikeBiz.co.uk came joint second with BBC.co.uk in the European Online Journalism Awards 2000 and was 'highly commended' in the B2B website category of the PPA Awards for Editorial Excellence 2002


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