Page last updated at 13:10 GMT, Tuesday, 22 April 2008 14:10 UK

MPs want Segways allowed on roads

Segways
Segways are widely used in other countries, including the US

Ministers should look at overturning the ban on two-wheeler Segway scooters being used on roads, MPs say.

Conservative transport spokesman Robert Goodwill said the government had been "dismissive" and urged it to consider allowing the vehicles in cycle lanes.

The Lib Dems joined the call to legalise what was described as a "safe and reliable" mode of travel which was green and could cut congestion.

There are 2,000 Segways, usually costing about 4,300, in the UK.

Currently the zero-emission vehicles, which use gyroscopes to maintain balance, can only be driven on private land.

'Limited trial'

The MPs want them to be reclassified as road vehicles usable in cycle lanes and, possibly, on the open road in areas where there are no cycle lanes - such as in the countryside.

Mr Goodwill, MP for Scarborough and Whitby, said: "We would like a limited trial to see lessons can be learned

"They look like they shouldn't stay up, but you might think the same thing if you hadn't seen a bicycle before and looked at one for the first time."

Segways, capable of speeds up to 12mph, can be recharged using household mains supplies and have a range of up to 24 miles.

Sinclair C5s
C5s were allowed on the road, but seen by many drivers as dangerous

Some 250,000 have been sold worldwide, having come to international prominence in 2003 when US President George W Bush fell off one while on holiday.

Police forces in some US states use them in city centres and at airports.

Mr Goodwill said: "It would be good if the government made a proper assessment, but they seem to have ruled it out."

He denied that, if allowed on the road, Segways would be regarded as a hazard by motorists in the way that the Sinclair C5 electronic vehicle had been during the mid-1980s.

Mr Goodwill said: "The trouble with C5s is that they were very, very low down and people felt vulnerable with them. With a Segway you are standing where everyone can see you.

"I think the government has been a little bit dismissive in ruling them out without looking at the arguments."

In its guidance, the Department for Transport says it would be "difficult" for scooters such as Segways to meet the standards required to be classified as road vehicles.

It is illegal to use them on highways or pavements.

Segways and other scooters are not included in the same category as bicycles, as they cannot be pedalled.


SEE ALSO
Falls bring Segway scooter recall
14 Sep 06 |  Business
Bush fails the Segway test
14 Jun 03 |  Americas

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