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Oppressed Dutch Segway enthusiasts have seen the light at the end of their winter anguish, with the Dutch transport ministry promising to review its ban on their use in the flat-as-a-pancake arcadia.

A November ruling classified the walk-shy devices as motor scooters, which meant their use on public roads was banned from 1 January because they lack a proper, sorry, conventional brake. Segwayists instead lean back to slow down.

Now, a relaxation of that stance has been mooted by a new transport minister, who took office on 22 February. Associated Press reports that Camiel Eurlings said on Tuesday he was "positive as a minister about innovations" but would "approach this carefully".

Segway's Netherlands chief Piet Kruijt said the next step was a six month safety review. The pogo stick on wheels has been subject to two safety recalls since it launched in 2002.

The Netherlands' despotic posturing against the unstoppable Segwayist revolution on the continent now looks doomed. Belgium allowed them earlier this month, and legislators in Germany are in the process of approving a bill to flood the autobahns with wheeled pedestrians.

Bully Britain remains a hold-out, with UK distributor BAE systems having gallantly lobbied hard for Segway freedom without success, the BBC reported in 2005. ®

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