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Pavement hogging Segway rider convicted

A UK first

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A Yorkshireman is the first person in Britain to be fined for driving a Segway on the pavement.

Coates 51, an unemployed factory worker, was fined £75, and ordered to pay £250 costs and a £15 victim surcharge at Barnsley Magistrate's Court.

Coates bought the two-wheeler after taking one for a spin on holiday in Florida.

"I've used it ever since for going to work and for trips into Barnsley," he told the Daily Mail in an interview he gave when charged last year. "They are perfectly safe and I've even let my mum, who is 86, have a go on it."

According to the UK Press Association, Coates's prosecution was seen as a test case by British Segway users. But why?

Under UK law, Segways are classified as motor vehicles, which means that it is illegal to ride one on the pavement. Period. It is also illegal to ride Segways on UK roads. For either to change, the House of Commons must vote to change the law.

Segway has lobbied for many years for such a change, butthe closest it has got to bothering Parliament was in 2009, when LibDem buffoon Lembit Opik sponsored a parliamentary debate to make "self-balancing personal transporters" street legal.

"To paraphrase Shakespeare, I come to legalise Segways, not to praise them," he said at the time. "The evil that machines do lives after them – the good is oft interred with their cogs, and so it could be with the self-balancing personal transporter."

With friends like this ... thankfully Opik was turfed out by his decidedly more sensible constituents at the last election. ®

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