What is a Segway?
Segway PTs have two wheels, a platform to stand on, a post with a set of handlebars that are used for steering and two electric motors. The top speed on a Segway is about 12.5 mph. The devices can travel up to 24 miles before needing to be recharged.
Segways Require a Balancing Act
Segways might look more like amusement devices than serious transportation alternatives, but they’re used by police and other emergency services across the globe. Riders lean forward to increase a Segway’s speed. They’ll stand upright to slow the device down. What can make Segways dangerous is that riders are required to balance themselves on the Segway platform. They must also shift their weight in order to turn. Hazardous road conditions and debris can make a Segway dangerous, especially at or near maximum speeds.
Common Segway Accident Injuries
Rarely do Segway riders wear helmets or any protective gear, so when Segway accidents happen, serious injuries often result. Those can include any of the following:
- Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries.
- Facial and dental trauma.
- Multiple fractures, including wrists, arms, ribs, and ankles.
- Knee and shoulder injuries.
The fact that riders treat Segways as toys and not transportation devices contributes to accidents and injuries. Hospitalizations and surgeries are often required.
In 2010, the Annals of Emergency Medicine warned that traumatic head and brain injuries were becoming increasingly common in Segway accidents. It reported that the pervasive lack of helmet use contributed to those injuries. A few days after publication of that warning, the owner of Segway was killed in an accident that occurred when he was riding one of the devices.
Operating a Segway safely is more difficult than it appears to be. For injured users, inadequate training by Segway rental companies is a critical issue. If a company that owns or manufactures a Segway or any of its component parts is held liable for a user’s injuries or death, the injured individual or their estate could be entitled to compensation for damages. If you’re so inclined as to rent a Segway, rent it from a reputable company, and put a helmet on as soon as you’re ready to get on the machine.
Call an Attorney
If you’re injured in an accident, call Bay Area Bicycle Law at (415) 466-8717 to arrange for a free consultation and case review. We’ll be pleased to answer your questions and advise you of the full range of your legal rights. In certain cases, short and strict time limits apply, so contact us at your earliest possible convenience.