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Dutch police have banned Segways from all "public roads, bike paths and walkways", AP reports.

The ban, which came into force on New Year's Day, was provoked by the country's Royal Traffic Agency's classification of the Segway as a moped and its refusal to approve the vehicle due to its lack of a brake.

Agency spokesman Hans van Geenhuizen explained: "It doesn't have a brake, you brake by leaning back, and that's clearly not permissible."

The clampdown came as a bit of a shock to the Netherland's Segway importer, Piet Kruijt, who admitted he's been "completely ambushed" by the decision. He reckons he's sold "a number of hundreds" of Segways, and added: "We're working on all fronts to get this resolved."

Leo Maats, a spokesman for the traffic enforcement division of the national prosecutor's office, "confirmed the rule would be enforced, but with so few Segways in operation it may take some time for the message to trickle down".

Indeed, an Amsterdam police spokeswoman admitted she was "not aware of the policy change". Furthermore, she rather splendidly confessed complete ignorance as to what a Segway is*.

Dutch Segway vendors, meanwhile, are adamant that the matter can be satisfactorily resolved. Distributor Hans de Jong declared: "This is definitely not the end of the Segway in the Netherlands." ®

Update

Thanks to all those readers who wrote in to say that the Dutch use Segways at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport. Tis true, but apparently that counts as private property, so the new law doesn't apply.

Bootnote

*Truly an example of where ignorance is indeed bliss.

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