back to article Tory proposes street-legal Segway legalisation

The Segway personal transporter should be allowed to be ridden on UK roads, a Conservative transport spokesman has said. Segway Should Segways be allowed onto UK roads? According to a report by the BBC, Robert Goodwill, MP for Scarborough and Whitby, has urged ministers to rethink the vehicle’s classification. Currently, …


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  1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    One use springs to mind immediately

    Excellent, lets cancel all MP's travel expenses except for one segway each.

  2. Ru


    They can't be that much more irritating than a badly driven 'mobility scooter', but I don't see a whole lot to approve of. Why not just get a bike? I daresay, one of these days some clever gentleman will find a way to power the humble bicycle with the aid of electricity. No doubt such a device will be rather more practical than a segway, and be perfectly legal to drive on road and on bike lanes...

  3. Steve Evans

    One condition...

    Given the wibbly wobbly nature of these bl**dy things, all people using them should have insurance to pay for the damage they are going to do as they bounce down between the lanes of stationary London traffic, and a number plate for we can identify them.

  4. Herby

    What about the "congestion fee"

    Do you wear a license plate hung around your neck?

    It would be an interesting sight!

  5. Sam

    A drawback

    In typical British weather, won't the drag from the sou' wester be a problem?

  6. druck Silver badge


    Britain does not want to be come a nation of fat lazy bastards, well any more than it is at the moment. You either walk or you get on a bike. Bikes are bad enough on the roads without some 6mph gyroscopically stabilised mountain of lard holding up traffic and ignoring red lights.

  7. John Hutchinson

    Cycle lanes?

    "he is pushing for permission to use the two-wheelers in cycle lanes" - erm, excuse me but why should they have a bit of "my" road space? The amount of road allocated to cyclists is pitiful enough as it is without having to dodge around people who are too lazy to walk or get on a bike.

  8. Ian Mills
    Gates Halo

    Effing great.....

    .....just what we need, this ridiculous nonsense clogging up cycle lanes.

    /rant ends

  9. John Widger


    You're in a shopping precinct (Mall for you 'Merkins.) do you park your segway or what?

  10. Anonymous John

    return their “personal transporters” for an essential software update

    What? No USB socket so you can connect it to your PC and download updates? I'd expect nothing less for something that cost over £4000.

    Windproof jacket and funny looking helmet please.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    * should be allowed anywhere

    On what basis are they not? All ultra low power vehicles should be allowed as the motor is too small and the weight too low to make more damage than a pushbike.

    Which would you prefer, that the person is in a car or a 25cc micro scooter or Segway?

    The motoring organisations will no doubt object, but then they do have a vested interest in driving people to cars.

  12. Mike Bronze badge
    Paris Hilton

    better idea

    so you're looking for a low emissions way of byassing the traffic using the cycle lanes? nope, i can't think of anything with low emissions that can be used in a bicycle lane, not a single thing

    someone ask paris, i'm sure she could think of something

  13. peter

    Mobility Scooter

    Class 3 vehicles are those with an upper speed limit of 8 mph (12 km/h) and are equipped to be used on the road as well as the pavement.

    These vehicles MUST NOT be used on motorways (see Rule 253). They should not be used on unrestricted dual carriageways where the speed limit exceeds 50 mph (80 km/h) but if they are used on these dual carriageways, they MUST have a flashing amber beacon. A flashing amber beacon should be used on all other dual carriageways (see Rule 220).

    Great, Segways on a 70mph stretch with maber lights. If they want to follow this up, just copy the mobility scooters law.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Remember the Sinclair C5?

    It might have looked fun and was great for running pensioners over in holiday parks but I don't recall seeing too many C5s scooting down Birmingham's Bristol Road.

    Would anyone actually have the cojones to use a Segway on a main road? If the increase in motorised trike things (I won't call them wheelchairs because a lot that I see aren't used by bonafide disabled wheelchair users) is allowed to continue unabated then surely Segways must also be tolerated.

  15. Tanuki
    Thumb Down

    Crash Test Dummies.

    Sure - legalise the Segway for *road* use, and require them to have numberplates - but only after it's been put through the EURO-NCAP crash-tests!

    El Reg should send along a couple of spare vultures to witness the 30MPH side-intrusion test.

  16. Richard Cartledge

    Streets Ahead

    In Cardiff, they use them on footpaths and cycle paths as part of officially endorsed tourist/public tours which cost £25.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Well done!

    Well done for showing someone with sense enough to wear a helmet, unlike the suited dick-head rolling up and down St James Street in London the other day. On his mobile in one hand, satchel on back and no helmet, I was hoping the prat would fall off and my colleagues and I would have something to laugh at when the ambulance arrived!

  18. Anonymous Coward


    I would have thought that Segways are safer than bikes and thus I see no reason they shouldn't be allowed on roads in the same way as bikes. If I could afford one I would happily use it to get around town.

  19. Anigel
    Paris Hilton


    Perhaps someone should tell the dude who regularly zips along Hammersmith Road on his one that he is not allowed on the road.

    Paris as I bet she knows how to segway

  20. Anonymous Coward


    for lazy Tories that run red lights and stop signs.

    this should weed them out of the general gene-pool in next to no time especially in london.

    obviously they wont need insurance, and indicator lights, or MOT or a brain cell to run (fits the tory ethos down to the ground(or in camerons case under it)

    (of course every other road user will have to pay for thier destructive rampage [Segwrage] )

    (if anyone sees him about on one) he'll make a good statistic, for once ;p

  21. Hollerith

    too dangerous

    It goes faster than normal London traffic and might frighten drivers.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Scarborough and Whitby?

    Surely it would never get up the hills!

    The BBC article proposes allowing them in cycle lanes or "in the country" where there aren't any cycle lanes. Well the cycle lanes we have in the cities (even London) are so disjointed they would be impossible to use there, either. D'oh!

    £4300? Sheesh!

  23. Leo Rampen

    Good News

    Currently segways and other vehicles (like electric scooters) are illegal either because you can't get them certified to run on the road, or because to run them you need a license, tax, an MOT and insurance. If UK Gov really want people to take personal responsibility for CO2 reductions, surely legalising small electric scooters, electric bicycles, segways, electric skateboards etc would allow people who would otherwise drive to use far more economical methods of travel. Current UK law (perhaps rightly so) makes owning a car quite a chore, however it should be amended to make small personal transportation legal without licenses.

  24. Richard Waterhouse

    How to...

    How to get a Segway onto British roads.

    Take the 'S' out of "Seg" and the 'F' out of "way"

  25. Haku


    One of the main reasons electric bikes are legal to ride on roads is because they have pedals and are not totally reliant on battery+motor power (but using a throttle on an ebike is a lot of fun - especially in summer when you get too hot pedalling)

    But if the Segway does get the thumbs up and it becomes legal to ride on the road and/or pavement then it'll open up the floodgates to a massive range of electric powered transport, which would be good and bad at the same time.

    Good because there are some excellent pedal-less 'bikes' & scooter type vehicles just waiting for the red tape to be cut, but bad because it would probably mean an influx of cheap crappy battery powered scooters, and guess what age range would probably be using them the most... pavements would become less safe than they are from the power-less scooters kids are on, or if they were on the roads then car drivers would have yet more people to avoid running over.

  26. MYOFB
    Paris Hilton

    Remember the C5??!!

    How the hell the C5 was made "road legal" is anyone's guess but it's probably a good thing it never took off en masse because had it done so, then there would have been carnage wreaked on anyone using it.

    Now enter the Segway and the same could be said of it . . . except,

    1. The C5 could trundle along at 15mph, the Segway gets up to 12.5mph. What's 2.5mph between friends?? Nothing!!

    2. Riding along a street full of parked cars was utter lunacy in a C5 because if a 'real' car driver entered from a side street then the chances were high they wouldn't be able to see the damn thing. 15mph is fast enough to be a deadly problem. At least on a Segway you're stood up and in all but a couple of scenarios, a Segway driver would be seen, as they would be visible above the parked cars, being in a vertical orientation as opposed to the semi-prone scrunched up position taken by a C5 driver.

    It goes without saying, the 17 years between the C5 and the Segway have seen a very large increase in road traffic but as far as I'm aware, owners of a C5 can still get out and about on the road in it.

    Yet owners of a Segway (which I personally consider to be a safer 'vehicle') cannot.

    Given a choice between riding/driving a C5 or a Segway in 1985 traffic, 2001 traffic or 2008 traffic . . . Give me the Segway everytime!!

    I'm not a C5 or Segway owner, shareholder, opponent or proponent just someone who can see the difference between the two.

    /Paris . . . Cos she doesn't mind being in a 'semi-prone scrunched up position' as long as she can make it to a 'vertical orientation' afterwards!!

  27. Rick Brasche

    are there enough of these?

    are there even enough of these overpriced toys to justify the time and expense to modify legislation to allow these? Not to mention the inherent stupidity of allowing slow, double-track powered vehicles on streets? What's next? Grandma's mobility scooter up and down the road?

    Surely such ground breaking legislation will be a huge benefit to the dozen or so rich lazy folk or poseur wannabe trendsetters who bought into these crappy rigs.

    But like in America, instead of addressing issues that affect thousands, spend time addressing and catering to the tiny self-defined minority...

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It was called the Zike and it flopped badly.

  29. Alan

    @ Ru

    * one of these days some clever gentleman will find a way to power the humble bicycle with the aid of electricity *

    Already done, but electric bicycles are just too expensive.

  30. Elmer Phud

    Tory With Alternative Transport

    Yup, twat. They're too slow for bike lanes and too fat to easily overtake. Bah.

  31. Liam Proven Silver badge

    A cheaper, healthier alternative

    People could do what I do. Get an old bike of Freecycle, do it up and ride it to work.

    Factoring in the walk to and from the Tube station, it's as fast as getting the Tube - and I travel from the very edge of London on the Surrey borders to SW1 - and it saves me >£5 a day.

    Quick, healthy, fun. Doesn't cost a few grand and makes you fitter rather than fatter.

  32. Haku


    "but electric bicycles are just too expensive."

    Not when you compare it to car ownership.

    My UM36 electric bike cost £900 with a lithium battery a year ago, roughly in the middle of the price range of ebikes. Maybe it is expensive for a bike (looked at the top end normal bikes lately?) but I don't own a car so it's basically my main transport, I ride it literally daily but if I'd bought a car for £900 (or even got one free) instead I'd then have to shell out on tax/mot/repairs/fuel/insurance...

    Someone on an electric bike forum worked out their car over 4 years of ownership & eventual sale cost them 70p/mile (adding up all car related receipts) yet an electric bike can be less than 4p/mile (factoring in a replacement £300 lithium battery every 2 years but not factoring in the initial bike cost).

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Lorks a Lordy

    Who wants these stupid fatty-transporters on their streets!? Not me.

  34. The Wanderer

    Re: No.

    "Bikes are bad enough on the roads without some 6mph gyroscopically stabilised mountain of lard holding up traffic and ignoring red lights."

    Could you provide an address where I can send the bill for my pants having been soiled due laughing long and loud at this line? Not to mention a keyboard and monitor soiled with spewed coffee?

    ...but I promise not to hold you personally responsible for the psychological damage due to snickering every time I think of the Segway from now on...

  35. Michael Kean

    Australia is similarly affected.

    G'day all :)

    I bought an Electric scooter recently for $120 (about 50GBP) then shortly thereafter found they're illegal on public land in all states bar Victoria. (So, 80% of Australia, including the bit I'm in :( )

    In Aus, the power limit for any electric bike / scooter is a mere 200 Watts - whereas I think the UK limit is 300 Watts and the US is 750 Watts. Another caveat is that the bike / scooter must have pedals attached to be road legal.

    The 200 watt scooter can get up all the hills here in Black Mountain, but only 8KM will flatten it on this steep terrain. Top speed about 20k/h (14MPH) With drum brakes and a solid build it's about as safe as it's gonna get.

    There are many electric bike conversion kits around on the 'net, but finding ones that are Aussie legal is difficult since most of them are 300->750 watts. I really hope that Australia too will reconsider these restrictions because it makes suitable vehicles hard to find.

    The cheapest conversion kit I've found new on eBay was $500 (200GBP) using a hub drive motor, but sans batteries. Most reputable ones are $1,000 (400GBP) Segways are never seen here.

    I reckon we need these changes - we're currently in the silly situation that people can get away with whacking a small petrol motor on a bicycle making it practical but highly polluting, but can't really achieve a similar power with electric because of an imbalance in the power laws. Not exatly green!

  36. Jon Biddell

    Segways - perfect idea

    I think they would be a perfect idea hare in Australia at least.

    To the guy who whinged about them being given "a part of my road space", refering to cyclists, you have no RIGHT to be on the road. You have no licence, no insurance, no MOT, etc.

    Yes, you can use the road but you don't have a RIGHT - that is for those of us who pay our MOT, insurance, road tax, etc.

  37. Matthew
    Thumb Down

    Get a damn bike

    FFS are people too lazy to ride bikes anymore, there faster too!!

  38. Anonymous Coward

    @ Well done!

    Oh God, Health & Safety alert.

    I feel nauseous.

  39. Anonymous Coward


    "Riding along a street full of parked cars was utter lunacy in a C5 because if a 'real' car driver entered from a side street then the chances were high they wouldn't be able to see the damn thing. 15mph is fast enough to be a deadly problem."

    Speaking as someone who has spent much of the past twenty-five years riding a wide variety of recumbent bicycles and tricycles everywhere from central London to the Nevada desert, I can say without fear of contradiction that above statement is Clearly Bollocks.

  40. Peter Clarkson


    "negligible carbon emissions"

    Encouraging Segways on the road would only draw people away from its nearest equivalents, the bike and the trusty foot.

    Compared to a bike, which goes faster, and has a lower energy cost in manufacture in the first place, I'd say the lifecycle carbon emissions for a Segway are pretty high for what you're getting. After all, there's nothing 'carbon-free' about electricity.

    So let's not be duped into thinking the Segway is green.

  41. Dr. Mouse

    @ Leo Rampen

    Re: "make small personal transportation legal without licenses"

    NO! I completely disagree! In fact if it was up to me I would TIGHTEN the law in this regard.

    The point of driver licensing is basicaly to ensure you know about your vehicle and the road before you use them. Take the CBT as an example. You have to demonstrate adequate control of a motorbike, basic knowledge of the highway code, etc.

    So then, what about the 10-year-old out on his bike/skateboard etc. He usually knows nothing about the road except what his parents or school have taught him (and who trusts THEM?). Sure some (like me) take cycling proficiency, but this is not a requirement. I think it should be.

    Lets face it, most people (including myself) are too lazy to cycle to work. But give them the option of a vehicle which doesn't take much more effort to use than a car, and they don't need a license to use (or even for the vehicle to be in a safe state to use) and you have the recipe for disaster.

  42. Paul

    Electric scooters...

    Are not, infact illigal (Well the ones that look like "real" scooters, not the chav toys)

    You can buy them and ride them if you have have:

    1) A CBT.

    2) Number plates

    3) A Motorbike helmet.

    4) Tax

    5) All the other stuff for a 50cc scooter.

    And if they become legal without these things then that is truly silly.

    I have seen one being driven around Oxford befor, with non of these things, in the Cycle lane. The ideot nearly ran me off the road, but then Cyclists do that alot cutting down the side of traffic.

    As for Cegways on the road, there are reasons they are illigal, and this will never get passed. I think the Torys are trying to make them selfs look cool, but they just look like old school tory prats.

  43. Anonymous Coward

    RE: Jon Biddell

    I agree, but you are SO going to get flamed by angry cyclists about that.

    I think its somthing to do with whereing Licra that makes them so angry.

  44. volsano

    Motorised users do not have road rights.

    >Yes, you can use the road but you don't have a

    >RIGHT - that is for those of us who pay our

    >MOT, insurance, road tax, etc.

    Yes we do. Some users have a RIGHT to use the roads - that's a right that predates motorised transport's usage of the roads.

    Motorised transport users can apply for a LICENSE to use the roads, provided they are legal, trained, taxed, insured, etc. They never have a RIGHT, just an easily revocable license.

    Maybe you were thinking of road RAGE which many motorised users do have.

  45. Elmer Phud
    IT Angle

    Road Rights pt2 or 3

    In the U.K. cyclists have the right to use the roads according to the Road Traffic Act(s). In fact it's motorists who have more restrictions and anyway, we was here first and you've just tagged along and used things made popular by cyclists - stuff like inner tubes and tarmacadam.

    As Segways are electrically powered vehicles and not electrically assisted vehicles (such as electric bicycles) they should come under the same regulations - and do they have the equivalent of a 'dead man's handle' to avoid slowly mowing down a bus queue due to a heat attack?

  46. sig

    @Jon Biddell

    It's motorists who don't have a 'right' to use the road: they have to be licensed. Common Law gives non-motorised traffic the right to use the highway; this includes pedestrians, horse riders, animal-drawn carriages, and cyclists.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Great, more pathetic 2-wheeled toys on the road

    Segways belong on the pavement, not the road. Where bicycles belong is a matter of much debate in this household (IMHO too fast for the pavement and too slow for the road). I know that all the cyclists are going to flame me now, but first can you please tell the bloddy-minded fools who ride cycles on motorway-style roads, when there is a perfectly good dedicated cycle path alongside, to FOAD? Thanks.

  48. Anonymous Coward

    The real problem - speed?

    On my (cycle) ride home from work the other day i followed a bloke on a Segway and I thought it looked like good fun. They may not be as 'green' or as healthy as a push-bike but obviously they are a much more efficient than a car from getting one person from A to B. I'd rather share the road with a load of these than with half-wits in 4x4s in the middle of London.

    We should have legislation to get people out of cars and onto smaller more efficient forms of transport. London, and probably most other towns and cities would benefit from "Low Speed" zones where 20mph was the maximum. Cars, Motorbikes, Cycles & Segways could all get along just fine if they were all going at about the same, low speed.

  49. W

    @Jon Biddell


    Unfortunately that's not what your invigilator said at the end of your test for a driving licence. You know. The licence you have to earn in order to gain the right to take a car onto the road.

    Can't speak about Aus, but in the UK at least, post 1936, the public highways have been funded out of general taxation. The vehicle licence fee does not come close to covering highways expenditure. And the effect of cyclists on road wear and tear is effectively infinitesimal compared to the axle weights of motorised vehicles.

    So in effect, non car owners are subsidising the roads network. No need to thank me. Maybe have a go at HGV drivers next tim, eh? They're the ones who don't pay their way, based on axle weight and road damage caused. Plus, they are far and away the major source of M-way hold-ups with their audacious +1mph overtaking manoeuvres.

    NB: I note you quoted incorrectly, by omitting

  50. W

    @Jon Biddell (2)


    NB: I note you quoted incorrectly, choosing to claim a quote of "my part of the road rather than the correct ""my" part of the road."

    Those quote marks around 'my' were there for a reason...

  51. Simon Wells


    ...are pedestrians, who have been gradually giving over more and more street space to motorised vehicles for more than a century, supposed to cope with a fairly large and heavy object almost certainly driven by an idiot moving at twice their speed along the same pavement?

    I realise that I am actually making a huge assumption that anyone who wants to ride/drive/be laughed at in control of a Segway is an idiot. But I think I'm on solid ground. Suspect they are the same demographic as buying the WiiFit.

  52. Andy

    Good grief

    I am shocked at how many oppressive nanny-state loving bigots there are posting here. What's with this urge to ban, prohibit, prevent and generally encourage the control-freakery that is prevalent in local and national government these days, hysterically demanding more and more legislation as some kind of panacea? How depressing.

  53. Ian Berry

    Segway Practicality

    I have been commuting to work on my Segway here in Essex every day for 3 years. The only time I don't use the Segway is when it is raining hard and to be honest out of a whole month this would only be an issue about 2 or 3 times. I have found the latest i2 Segway to be far safer and more practical for uneven pavements than my previous i-180 model and to date I have not had one incident. The only thing I feel the Government should do if Segways are officially made legal is that every body has to pass a formal test to ride one to ensure the safety of other road or pavement users. I noticed that some of you commented on the lack of exercise created by using a Segway, well lets face it people use their cars for silly journeys to pop down the shops that they could easily walk to now but they don’t so using a Segway is no different and a least you are getting the equivalent of 650 mpg in equivalent CO2 emissions. I personally feel that Segways are a useful and practical support mechanism to our over crowed roads and should be used in combination with other new technologies.

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