By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Segways — those two-wheeled, self-balancing transport devices — have become a popular way for tourists to see Center City in recent years. A top city official says there are no plans to ban them from sidewalks, as bicycles are.
Segway tour companies now operate in the historic district, throughout Center City and all the way up the Parkway to the Art Museum. Deputy Mayor for Transportation Rina Cutler says in the past several years there have been no Segway accidents.
“We have no data that shows us there have been any accidents with them, either vehicular or pedestrian, no complaints relative to near misses, or any thing else regarding Segways,” Cutler said. “What it tells me is that they are probably not a public safety issue at this point.”
As a result, Cutler says, there are no plans to ban them from city sidewalks. This despite the fact that state law both prohibits bicycles on sidewalks and gives cities the option to ban Segways from sidewalks.
“At this point we’re just going to take a wait-and-see attitude and make sure they’re not impeding public safety. If we find that they are at some point, if their numbers grow, then we’ll probably seek some legislative action. But we don’t think it’s necessary at this point.”
Cutler rejects the notion that Segways on sidewalks are an accident waiting to happen. In fact, says Cutler, there are far greater risks to pedestrians, including other pedestrians who are texting as they walk.
“I think that pedestrians run a greater risk of safety issues because they’re distracted and won’t lift their heads up from their smartphones than they ever are going to be from Segways.”