“What the heck is that?” I asked my friend the other day, when he showed up to a party with a scooter unlike anything I had ever seen before (pictured above). The transportation device which operated like a Segway, but without the handlebars, was in my mind the “scooter of the future”. While these machines don’t have a specific name, they have become very common in much of the United States, United Kingdom and parts of China (where many of them are manufactured). Commonly referred to as “Segway scooters”, even though they are not made by Segway, or “hoverboards” even though they are nothing like the Back to the Future transport machines, they are much easier to maneuver than they would appear. It took me just about 10 minutes to master the art of using my friends self-balancing scooter, but I could certainly see some safety concerns that could arise.
This scooter became the talk of the party, with most people never having seen one before. However, it was just 3 hours in, and one guest managed to drive it straight into the swimming pool on my buddy’s porch. While these scooters are not all that common quite yet, they are beginning to garner the attention of law enforcement and public safety administrators worldwide.
Just this week in the United Kingdom, it has been announced that these scooters have been made illegal to ride in public. Because they operate in a very similar fashion to Segways, the UK government is categorizing them the same. This means that they are illegal to ride on streets, sidewalks, and other public locations, and should only be permitted for use on private property, in accordance with a law written after an official 2011 ruling concerning Segways.
“You can only ride an unregistered self-balancing scooter on land which is private property and with the landowner’s permission. The Department for Transport would advise that appropriate safety clothing should be worn at all times,” the CPS says.
It should be expected that other governments will begin to notify the public of their rules for these scooters, which more than likely will tend to fall under the local Segway rules as well.
When it comes down to it, one can see the danger that these vehicles could cause. Potentially more dangerous than Segways, I’ve personally seen several falls take place, which if they occurred on roadways or sidewalks could have been quite devastating, not only for the rider, but also for people walking or standing nearby.
What do you think the laws should be concerning these super fun, futuristic looking transportation devices?