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Slowing tourists on Segways

Reported by: Jamie Smith
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Updated: 8/21/2013 11:49 pm
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- City commissioners are fielding a growing number of complaints regarding the increased number of Segway tours in the nation's oldest city.

"They always think they have the right of way and it's almost offensive," said one pedestrian.

Someone even sent photos to city officials of a tour group driving past "do not enter" signs and riding their personal motorized vehicles the wrong way on a one-way street.

"Citizens have brought it to my attention and I've had personal experience with Segways on the streets," said Nancy Sikes-Kline, St. Augustine's Vice-Mayor.

She said she has seen the tours in action and worries about pedestrians possibly getting injured.

"We just want to make it safe for everyone to enjoy the city," said Sikes-Kline.

Fearing for the safety of riders and pedestrians, the full city commission ordered a safety study into how stricter rules can govern Segways. Ron Brown, St. Augustine's City Attorney, told Action News that his office is looking all the way to South Florida for a possible solution.

Miami Beach recently passed an ordinance to levy hefty fines on riders and rental shops whose Segway vehicles exceed 6 miles per hour. Segways can normally reach speeds of 12 miles per hour.

"Of course we would comply while we would challenge [if] the law is necessary," said Keith Richardson, owner of St. Augustine Bike Rentals which is one of the city's three main Segway tour businesses.

City Attorney Brown said he'll submit a proposal to regulate Segways to city commissioners by the end of September.


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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

Karl Sagal - 8/28/2013 8:04 PM
0 Votes
They could find no actual injuries, because there are very few. Bicycles go faster, and cause many more accidents, but they are commonplace. Segways are new and new also means scary. The vice mayor said it herself, she was startled, so now wants to make a law to protect people from the injuries that ARE NOT HAPPENING!. This is a case where people want to make rules to avoid what they imagine, not what is happening. I am all for holding people accountable for what they actually do, not for making it illegal to do something that you do not understand. The segway is just a tool, like a bike or a car. If a driver acts irresponsibly, he is held to account. But all cars are not blamed. If a bicycle rider hits someone, or causes some vice mayor to be startled, and she reacted by trying to make speed limits for all bicycles then it would be fair. But this is not. I have no problem with reasonable rules of conduct on segways, or bicycles, or baby strollers. Hold those who hurt others accountable. But do not make up rules to 'protect' those who have not been hurt. Any honest person who looks into injuries by bikes, or even baby strollers, will find more from them than segways. I am not saying they are all bad, any of these, but while most operators are fine, the very few that are irresponsible need to be held equally accountable. That is, the individual operator, not the entire group.

Karl Sagal - 8/28/2013 9:35 AM
1 Vote
They could find no actual injuries, because there are very few. Bicycles go faster, and cause many more accidents, but they are commonplace. Segways are new and new also means scary. The vice mayor said it herself, she was startled, so now wants to make a law to protect people from the injuries that ARE NOT HAPPENING!. This is a case where people want to make rules to avoid what they imagine, not what is happening. I am all for holding people accountable for what they actually do, not for making it illegal to do something that you do not understand. The segway is just a tool, like a bike or a car. If a driver acts irresponsibly, he is held to account. But all cars are not blamed. If a bicycle rider hits someone, or causes some vice mayor to be startled, and she reacted by trying to make speed limits for all bicycles then it would be fair. But this is not. I have no problem with reasonable rules of conduct on segways, or bicycles, or baby strollers. Hold those who hurt others accountable. But do not make up rules to 'protect' those who have not been hurt. Any honest person who looks into injuries by bikes, or even baby strollers, will find more from them than segways. I am not saying they are all bad, any of these, but while most operators are fine, the very few that are irresponsible need to be held equally accountable. That is, the individual operator, not the entire group.

steseaq - 8/28/2013 8:52 AM
0 Votes
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- While not condoning the use of segways in an illegal manner I would be very interested in if a similar study was done on the use of bicycles. How many pedestrians have been injured by bikes and what is the posted speed limit for cyclists?

Jim McClain - 8/28/2013 5:39 AM
0 Votes
I don't know the actual laws in FL or St. Augustine, but many states regard Segways as pedestrians. Therefore, they are allowed on sidewalks, should glide toward oncoming traffic when on streets and in all other ways abide by pedestrian traffic laws. The exception is, a Segway must give the right-of-way to walking traffic and any handicap mobility aid. The top speed Segs are capable of is no faster than many humans can run. Although responsible behavior dictates one should glide no faster than walking traffic, there may be times it is safe to glide a bit faster, just as it is considered acceptable for pedestrians to run on a sidewalk. I'm not opposed to reasonable regulation for safety's sake, but those considering the new regulations should also take into account the actual damages and injuries caused by Segways on the local streets. Maybe all that's needed is the threat of loss of permit to operate tours, if tour operators can't manage their customers and show respect and consideration to other occupants of the tour's terrain. Just my opinion.

Truthseeker - 8/22/2013 4:49 AM
1 Vote
This "study" shouldn't cost the taxpayers over 10 or 15 million dollars.
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