Province launching project testing use of segways on streets, sidewalks

Haley Ryan, Metro Halifax
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HALIFAX - A new segway project is ready to roll across Nova Scotia, but a Halifax councillor said he doesn’t see the idea gaining traction with local residents.

People using segways in this file photo from Washington, D.C.

Those who own or lease at least three segways can apply to take part in the project, the province announced Wednesday in a release.

“I think it’s interesting,” said downtown Halifax Coun. Waye Mason, but added segways haven’t become popular even in warmer climates where they’re used all year round.

“I don’t want to stand in its way with regulation, I’m just not too sure exactly who would use it,” he added.

Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan said it’s a project for exploring alternative transportation options.

“I can’t stress enough how critical road safety will factor into the final pilot project evaluation,” he said in the release.

Under the project rules, segway users must wear helmets and be at least 16 years old, or 14 with a guardian’s consent. They can’t travel faster than 20 kilometers per hour, and can’t be used on roads with a speed limit higher than 60 km per hour.

Segway riders would behave as a cyclist on a bike path or trail, but Mason said he doesn’t think large groups of Segways should be taking up space on those routes.

“It’s not biking, it’s not a lot of physical activity,” Mason said. “It’s motorized transport … I don’t see those as necessarily compatible uses.”

The pilot project will run until January 2016, when the department will decide whether to amend the Motor Vehicle Act to allow permanent Segway use in the province.

As of now, Segways are permitted only on private property. In Halifax, you can find them during the summer months on the waterfront.

“We are open to the idea and we’ll have to see where the pilot project goes and what kind of legislative framework is in place to make sure that everyone is safe,” said Halifax Regional Police spokesman Const. Pierre Bourdages.

“We’ll just have to react to whatever the province does,” added HRM Mayor Mike Savage when asked about the issue.

More information on the pilot project is available on the department’s website. Anyone with questions or feedback can call 1-844-428-0174 or e-mail Segwaypilotproject@gov.ns.ca.

Organizations: Segway, Halifax Regional Police

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  • bryan
    February 07, 2014 - 16:19

    How about starting with figuring out how to have cyclists cars and pedestrians in the same areas before more forms of transport are lumped into using the same substandard infrastructure.

  • dave wickett
    February 06, 2014 - 12:58

    As long as they are not street legal, why would an ordinary person buy one? Obviously, they won't be gaining traction until they are legal and people start to buy them.