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Is the Segway Really That Sensible

09/09/2008
Old-Wonky Face

Old-Wonky Jaw

You’ve probably seen by now that comedy LibDem MP Lembit Opik has been staging a typically humourous ‘protest’ outside the Houses of Parliament by riding his Segway PT up and down in the road outside.

The reason behind this gloriously impromptu comic showcase is that it is currently illegal to use the Segway PT on Britain’s roads or pavements. Now this doesn’t seem to make all that much sense – after all, the Segway is a pretty cool device. Aside from the fact that it’s an untapped mine of comedy gold (a fact which the producers of Arrested Development definitely recognised), they do have the potential to get people out of their cars.

But, really Lembit, is the Segway really the best way to acheive this? Lots of people have already pointed out that the Segway’s claims to environmental purity are somewhat damaged by the obvious fact that it runs on electricity. Opik and the other members of the pro-Segway brigade are pretty quiet when it comes to mentioning the device’s £7,000 price tag. But most of all, thanks to the necessities of health and safety, you look like an idiot driving one.

It seems strange to go to all this trouble to protest for the right to ride a device that gets people from place to place without using their cars, when such a device already exists. Perhaps someone should tell Lembit about the bicycle?

It does all the things that Lembit wants his Segway to do, but it does them better. It’s cleaner than a Segway, requiring no energy except that which you provide yourself. It can be considerably faster than the Segway’s top speed of 12.5mph. It’s got a much smaller vertical footprint, so you can get many more cyclists on the road than you could Segwayers. And they’re cheaper – £7,000 would buy you many many bicycles.

So it seems an obvious choice – get off your PT and on your bike…

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