back to article LibDem cheeky boy rides to Segway's rescue

Lembit Opik, the Liberal Democrat MP who functions as the House of Commons' own taxpayer-funded clown, has used parliamentary time to campaign to make Segways street-legal in the UK. Describing his own Segway as a "miracle of convenience" to a near-empty chamber, the Daily Sport's top political columnist sponsored a debate …


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  1. Andy
    Thumb Up

    Hurry Up!

    I wish they would get their fingers out and make them legal for use on roads - it's the only thing stopping me buying one!

  2. Alastair Dodd
    Paris Hilton

    Who voted for this


  3. Joe
    Thumb Down

    Do no MPs ever turn up for debates?

    Surely that's what they get paid for?

  4. Hywel Thomas

    Think of the tax

    Come on Gordy ... VAT, Pavement Fund License, VAT on compulsory 3rd party insurance. What's not to like ?

  5. Jimmy Floyd

    How dare you

    I take issue with the notion that Lembit Opik is "the House of Commons' own taxpayer-funded clown."

    That's George Galloway, surely?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re:Do no MPs ever turn up for debates?

    Do you really want your MP to turn up for a debate about Segways when they could be dealing with more important aspects of government or perhaps constituency issues etc. etc? Sounds like this was a waste of parliamentary time...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Quick! Shop him!

    He's used them on public roads then. Isn't that ilegal? ;)

  8. Slik Fandango

    to Alastair Dof

    The Welsh I believe.

  9. Richard Gadsden


    No, turning up for debates is not what they get paid for.

    They get paid for representing their constituents, which mostly means helping people who have approached their MP for help with a problem they are having with the public sector. Also voting, but they don't have to sit in the chamber to vote - they can sit in their office listening to the debate and doing something useful and then run through the lobbies if there's a vote.

  10. Richard
    Paris Hilton


    Why use these things? We would just be that closer to being as fat as the Americans!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Why?

    Why use these things? We would just be that closer to being as fat as the Americans!

    You quite obviously have not tried to shop at a Tesco in Hull...

  12. Anonymous Coward

    I read it and wept

    "Their commuting effectiveness was proved by James Brown’s interesting research at the university of Derby, in collaboration with the BBC."

    How wonderful that the Godfather of Soul is reseaching Segway's at my local uni!

  13. Dr. Mouse

    Admission of Guilt?

    <QUOTE>Opik responded with reassurances: "I use a Segway on the United Kingdom’s roads, and indeed the byways of Montgomeryshire, and not once have I come to grief even though I have the road-based model."</QUOTE>

    If it is illegal to use them on public roads, is this not an admission of guilt?

    Should he not be arrested?

    Also: If he tried to deny it, would that not be admission of lying to Parliament, which would surely get him in hot water? (The admission, not the lying, we all know politicians lie, but they don't ADMIT they were lying!)

    Sounds like a bit of an eejit to me...

  14. Ashley Stevens
    Thumb Up

    Electric bikes

    They should legalise electric vehicles under a certain weight and speed limit. That would also legalise electric bikes which are also illegal both on the road and on pavements at present. It shouldn't be just "self balancing" - human balanced vehicles should be OK'd too!

  15. Christoph

    If they are legal to ride on pavements

    The obvious result will be:

    "I have a LEGAL RIGHT to ride on this pavement! GET YOUR £$%^&* ZIMMER FRAME OUT OF MY £$%^&* WAY YOU £$%^&* OLD £$%^&*!!!!!"

  16. James Taylor


    I take issue with that, i shop at tesco in hull and i'm not...oh're right

  17. Elmer Phud
    IT Angle

    Road Legal

    Andy -- "I wish they would get their fingers out and make them legal for use on roads - it's the only thing stopping me buying one!"

    Currently the law prohibits self-powered bicycles (not the ones where you have to pedal to make the motor work) unless you've got all the license, MOT etc etc. Is the Rt Hon.ex-member for Cheeky going to include leccy-powered bikes or is it just the upright Sinclair C5?

    I know which one I'd choose - If I really, really had to - if negotiating traffic and it wouldn't be the wide self-powered lectern*

    *Just realised that's what the bloody things are - mobile platforms for tossers spouting off about how green they must be

  18. lglethal Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    How exactly do Segways help the environment?

    I always thought good ol' Shanks Mule WAS the most environmentally friendly way to get from A to B! & following that wouldnt the old bicycle be the next best alternative?

    Sounds like someone is on Segway's payroll...

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Climate Change?

    So Segway is the answer to the "climate change problem" is it? Wow. And I thought we in the US had cornered the market on frivolous lying scumbag politicians.

    Anyone want to bet that this asshat is heavily invested in Segway?

  20. Rick Brasche

    my mother gave me a self balancing transporter for my birthday

    the day i was born, called "legs". uses no fossil fuel, but I admit it does emit greenhouse gases after Taco Bell consumption. Took me awhile to learn how to use them, but after getting the hang of it I use 'em everywhere. With add ons like "arms" they go everywhere-up trees, down cliffs, they're amphibious too.

    Segway=Fail no matter how anyone spins it.

  21. gsl

    Greener than walking

    Opik was on GMTV yesterday morning. He tried to claim that the Segway was greener than walking. Even a breakfast TV presenter has more clue than that and Garraway pulled him up on this, he waffled something about breathing more heavily when walking.

  22. Dave Gregory


    Why, why, why? Oh, please tell me why I am a lib dem voter.

    Oh yes, it's because even if they are clowns, they're still better than the other two parties.

    Plus I get to hold my hands up after every election and say "well, I didn't vote this government in."

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Yet another MP with his head up his arse

    Hello, credit crunch? I don't feel the need to say more.

  24. Stewart Haywood

    Electric Monks

    I recall the idea of an electric monk from a Douglas Adams book, "The Long Dark Teatime of The Sole' I think. I just imagined a whole flock of rural vicars wizzing around on these things and thought of electric vicars. A large bible nailed to the handles would allow them to read the lesson as they crashed from house to house leaving a trail of spilled tea and squashed cucumber sandwiches in their wakes. Oh, I have just realized that I have been seeing the Dick Emery vicar with the teath riding one of the things.

  25. Haku

    Re: Electric bikes

    Electric bikes ARE legal on roads without the need for insurance/tax/mot etc. provided they stick to a few rules:

    1. The motor must not exceed 200 (average) watts (250 for Europe).

    2. The motor must not power the bike beyond 15mph, meaning if you pedal faster than 15mph the motor will cut out.

    3. The bike must not weigh more than 40kg.

    4. The bike must have pedal power - this means scooters that only rely on the motor to move aren't legal, this includes Segways.

    I have been using an electric bike for getting on 2 years now, never had problems with police over it - apart from one time being stopped for cycling at night without lights on the pavement (because car drivers often go way too fast as there isn't much traffic to contend with), so I flicked the switch on my handlebar which turned on my lights and went on my way (on the road). Most of the time the police don't give a rats ass that people cycle on pavements, I feel safer on the pavement during rush hour (especially large junctions) and am always curteous to pedestrians as I get off and walk past them.

  26. Ascylto

    UK playing catchup?

    I was in Vienna last year and witnessed a whole posse of Seggies (about 15 of 'em) arrive at a tourist spot in the city by road. Presumably they are street-legal but almost more importantly they were quiet and well controlled by their tourist 'drivers' who, I'm sure, couldn't have had a great deal of training..

    Well done, Lembit.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Eco-sphere FTW!!!!

    ' In closing, Opik said that legalisation of the Segway for street use was "essential" if the government wants to address "climate changes that threaten our eco-sphere". '

    Yes indeed, for a Segway goes faster, uses less fossil-fuel-derived energy AND costs less than a bog standard push-bike.


  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Greener than walking.

    It truly is, how could you possibly doubt the member?

    "Personal transporter fuel, which is electricity, causes 16.6 g of CO2 per kilometre. By comparison, let us consider human fuel, known more commonly as food. A beef eater, by which I mean an eater of beef not a Yeoman of the Guard, who could of course be vegetarian for all I know, causes about 497 g of CO2 emissions per kilometre by expelling energy from that food. Egg eaters produce more than 105 g per km, and that does not even take into account the 11.25 g per km that people create merely by breathing. It can therefore be revealed, for the first time in British history and the history of the House of Commons, that it is greener to go to work on a personal transporter than to go to work on an egg—even if you hold your breath."

  29. Joe

    @ Richard Gadsden

    Ah fair enough. I never knew they could listen in on debates from elsewhere. Also it's the Iraq debate that preceded this, which nobody turned up to, that made me question it. Couldn't really care less about segways

  30. Sam

    Greeneye posts

    You're only jealous because the ugly bugger managed to pork Gabriela.

  31. Mike Groombridge


    i've seen the cheeky's live on the club tour and the other one was better looking plus lembit gave Gabriela manic depression which is why they broke up.

    i heard they were going to relaunch there career as a ironic goth rock group (still called the cheeky girls that being the irony ) to suit her new outlook on life

  32. Steven Jones

    CO2 comarison - electric bike vs bread power

    To test the Clown Prince of the House of Common's proposition that electric power produces less CO2 than a cyclist, then here's a calculation of a bread-powered cyclist vs an electric bike recharged using the UK mains (assumed to be 460gm CO2 per KWh).

    First maked the assumption that 100W of human power drives a bike at the same speed as 100W on an electric bike (with the extra weight of the electric bike, that might not be quite true, but let it pass). Also assume that human beings have a thermodynamic efficiency of about 30%in converting food into mechanical energy (humans are subject to just the same laws of physics in this regard as any other way of burning fuel with oxygen to produce mechanical energy, albeit the mechanism is more complex). Also assume that any cycling mechanical energy is in addition to rest rate (and that riding an electric bike requires no extra human energy).

    To power a bike at 100W for an hour using electricity means that 0.1KWh (360KJ) is required, which is 46 gms of CO2 with curren UK grid production mixes.

    Typically bread has about 200-250Kcals per 100gm and its production and distribution is estimated at about 65gm CO2 per 100gm. Put the two together, take the average 100gm of bread as 225Kcals, then we get about 0.29gm CO2 per Kcal or about 0.069gm CO2 per KJ . With human beings having a thermodynamic efficiency of about 30% in producing mechanical power, that means about 0.23gms CO2 per KJ of mechnical energy.

    This means that 360KJ of bread-fed human mechanical energy would result in about 83gms of CO2 emission. I'll omit the CO2 breathed out (which would be significant) on the basis that it would be absorbed by the food plants used to replace what was eaten.

    So (for bread power at least), it appears he is right - the electric bike only generates about 55% of the CO2 when compared that for a similar amount of mechanical energy from a cyclist. No doubt the cycle is a bit more mechnically efficient, which will narrow the gap, as would choosing a less CO2 intensive food source (although I chose bread as it was reasonably good in that respect). For a fried-breakfast powered cyclist, then the numbers will be a lot worse - even with a more calorifically-intensive food source due to much higher CO2 emissions in production. Also the electric bike requires more energy in manufacture - but then there are sources of electricity witrh lower CO2 than the UK average grid.

    So save the planet, and get an electric bike is the answer I suppose.

  33. Ian

    For those still confused as to why electric vehicles = green

    It's not that they're inherently green right now, due to the fact we use dirty power. The idea is that we can use green power like nuclear (and yes, nuclear is green despite lies and fud to the contrary by anti-nuclear muppets) to fuel them.

    If we move more vehicles onto electricity we'll need more electricity and the government plans to replace current coal stations with nuclear, wind or tidal.

    This means eventually the combination of green power and electric vehicles can result in a massive reduction in CO2 emissions. We can't build the green power plants when there's no demand for them though hence why we need to get more green vehicles out there. Also many parts of the UK are already powered by green fuel so are green from the get go regardless.

  34. Anomalous Cowherd Silver badge

    @ Mike Groombridge

    "Gave Her Manic Depression". What? How did he do that? Did he buy it at Asda for Christmas?

  35. Ste Mansfield

    Idiots abound!

    Quote from Lembit's address:

    They are almost impossible to fall off. When I investigated the accident record, I found that one President George W. Bush did fall off one. Segway experts analysed the photographic footage of his misfortune and concluded that the probable cause of his accident was that he had not turned it on. Gentleman journalist Piers Morgan ridiculed Bush for that, and then fell off one as well.


  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For sooth, and hark! Who talks so in these modern times?

    "I use a Segway on the United Kingdom’s roads, and indeed the byways of Montgomeryshire, and not once have I come to grief even though I have the road-based model."

    Does he actually talk like that in real life? I mean, seriously...

  37. Adam Buckland

    He may be an idiot

    But the Segway is a great way to get about and should be allowed. Rode one for two days round Chicago a few years back and would love to be able to use them legally in the UK.

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