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Segway Accidents: An Ongoing Crisis?

The Segway experienced two major spikes in media coverage. The first came in 2001, when inventor Dean Kamen announced the upcoming release of the gyroscopic whizzing platform. The second happened in September 2010, when the owner of the Segway company, Jimi Heselden, was killed after driving his Segway off of a cliff.

I, for one, am disappointed that the Segway has fallen off the MSM's radar. Don't they care that it's going to change the world? As a service to anybody thirstin' for updates, here is what's happened in the Segway universe since Heselden's tragic death.

• In August, Don Greenfield of Middletown, Pennsylvania, died after falling from his two-wheeled machine. He and his wife were riding on "newly purchased" Segways when he hit a pothole and spilled. "He was found lying in the middle of the road," according to the president of the Central Pennsylvania Society of Miniature Enthusiasts. "Medical folks said he died instantly. He was an organ donor."

• In October 2011, IBM employee Marschelle Syverson was cruising on his Segway when he was hit by a drunk driver running a red light. Syverson died at the hospital.

• In September of this year, a toddler in Honolulu was left with bruising and red welts after being run over on the sidewalk by a careless Segway rider. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser quoted his mother: "He was rushed to the hospital by ambulance, crying all the way. The whole time I'm thinking, 'My God, what if they had run over his little neck or his tummy or chest?'" (The newspaper also noted that the city has received at least 18 complaints about Segways.)

• A Connecticut jury awarded a man $10 million after he tumbled from a Segway and suffered brain damage in 2009. According to the Associated Press: "[John] Ezzo's lawyer, Robert Adelman, says his client was riding the Segway blindfolded and without a helmet through an obstacle course set up by company workers when he fell off and injured his head."

• A Segway dealer in Richmond, Virginia, got sued three times in one year by people who fell off of its vehicles. Reported Richmond Biz Sense: "The suits, all of which were filed in Richmond Circuit Court, describe alleged instances of the Segways lunging or lurching despite the riders’ attempts to control them."

• The Segway was banned in cities from New Zealand to the U.K.

This guy was arrested three times for riding his Segway while intoxicated. The city of Medina, near Minneapolis, is debating whether to take him to court using tax-payer money, because it can't figure out if driving drunk on a Segway is an actual crime.

In other news, the website for Segway now opens with a window advertising SegwaySafety.com.

John Metcalfe is a staff writer at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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