back to article Yorks cops charge Segway rider under 1835 road law

South Yorkshire Police have charged a Segway rider with breaking the 1835 Highways Act by riding the gyro-hog on the pavement. Phillip Coates, 51, was collared by coppers in his native town of Barnsley while whooshing down to the shops on the self-balancing two wheeler, The Star reports. A local copper stopped him because he …


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  1. JimC

    Saw someone riding one on the road

    In Kingston on Thames the other week... Confusing and struck me as pretty damn dangerous...

  2. frank ly

    Legal Stuff

    It seems the legal argument will rest on whether a vehicle powered by an electric motor can be considered as a 'motor vehicle'. They actually get paid for this.

    1. Tiny Iota

      Dangerous Greens

      Imagine the G-Wiz carnage on Britain's pavements!

    2. Richard IV

      As ever, it depends

      Electric bikes aren't classed as motor vehicles in law unless they top 15mph under power.

      Segways only manage 12.5mph.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        So it was legal

        Segways ARE bicycles. Two wheels- that's the literal translation of Bicycle!

        It's a 2-wheeled electric vehicle that fits nicely into the "not a motor vehicle" category. This should be a quick and easy victory for the defence.

        And then I'm buying one.

        1. StuartMc


          ...that riding a bike on the pavement is also illegal!

    3. Fizzl

      No bikes on the pavment!

      Peddle bikes, electric bikes and even granny scooters are not permitted on the pavements and subject to a fine of £30.

      So unless he can persuade them it is a shoe I don't think they will be allowed in future.

      1. dazedandconfused


        Actually mobility scooters are allowed on the pavements as long as they don't exceed 4mph. The larger ones that do 8mph are only allowed on the roads.

        1. Dazed and Confused


          OK, I might like to walk faster but 4MPH is still a lot faster than most people walk. I hate to bring up the "Think of the kids" argument, but many of our pavements are infested with sub-adult creatures who are quite out of control of their disinterested parents. These things are going to do a lot of damage to a toddler I don't fancy being hit one.

          I don't know what the answer is, probably there should be some sort of driving test and a license to use one which can be revoked for inconsiderate use.

  3. Yorkshirepudding

    speaking as a yorkshireman

    i find a segway far to posh for the down t'earth street of gods county* get back down t'earth cocker!

    *if such an omnipitant being existed of course.....

    1. Anonymous Coward

      We used to DREAM of 'aving English teachers..

      That is all.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Should be interesting

    So say plod wins this, will they then go and nick all the mobility scooters and cars, that use both the road and pavements.

    I thought not, though I would then go for harrisment if I got nicked again on my segway

  5. MontyPole


    There's a loony old twit who rides one of these things on the footpaths round Huddersfield. Goes flat out up behind people then slows and swerves at the last minute.

    Whether they're classed as motor vehicles or not, they've no place on a footpath.

    1. Matthew Anderson

      Point proved

      So if one man drives his car and 100 miles an hour in a 40 zone we should ban all drivers from our roads?


      So long as bikes, motorised bikes, skateboards and the like are used responsibly then there is no reason for them not to be on the footpaths or anywhere else for that matter (ok so not on motorways) but just because some old codger in your town drives like a lunatic does not mean that everyone should shoulder the responsibility of his dangerous driving. Get real dude ;-)

      1. AceRimmer


        A footpath is for foot traffic

        By your logic bicycles and mopeds should be ridden on the pavements as well as long as they are ridden "sensibly"

        The problem in much of the UK is that the pavement isn't wide enough to allow shared use and pedestrians need protection from mechanisation.

        1. JCL
          Thumb Down


          Absolutely, I'm sick of leaving stores and risking getting mown down by bikes and such like. @Matthew - I'm not sure it's MontyPole who needs to get real...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            I'd like to chip in my 2p worth: Whenever I see a cyclist on the pavement (subject to them being over about 12) I am filled with an urge to shout: "GROW UP, You're a big boy/girl now use the road, or get off and push." There have been many cases where cyclist have actually killed people while they've been cycling on the pavement and there is no excuse. The addition of a motor makes it worse.

        2. Andus McCoatover

          Oh, really??

          "...pedestrians need protection from mechanisation."

          Here in Finland we can ride a bike or a moped on the footpath, FFS. Indeed, in some parts of the city, riding a bike on the road'll get you a fine..We built the fuc*king footpaths with this in mind. Gerrit?

          (Sallitu Mopoille = Permitted for mopeds)

          Maybe mechanisation (sheep, ass, goats, Fred Dibner enthusiasts, etc.) need protection from jay-walking or 'stuck-the-bluetooth-in-and-don't-look-where-the-fuc*k-I'm-going' pedestrians...

          1. Originone

            Are all Finnish signs so unintuitive?

            I will take you at your word that Sallitu Mopoille = Permitted for mopeds, but if it does then that sign is almost non-sensical given the picture is of a man holding a childs hand.

            1. Anonymous Coward

              Not really.

              It's a standard pedestrian walkway sign with the allowed for mopeds tacked underneath. If you read Finnish you understand it if you don't then you should learn :)

              I will say however that bikers in Finland are irritating, pavements are wide and they still seem to be able to almost run into you from behind and then shout at you for being in their way. If you're not on foot you belong on the road, I think that's simple.

              1. Andus McCoatover
                IT Angle

                Learn Finnsh??

                Only if you really want to go insane!

                22 variants of (the)* English word 'what' -- Mikä, mitä, mitkä, minä. ...etc.

                Godawfully difficult, but rewarding, honestly. I'm loving learning it. It's structured like a programming language, hence the IT angle...

                *There's no definite or indefinite pronouns. Neither do 'he' or 'she' exist.. Just 'Hän'.

        3. Law

          next step then...

          I've never seen these segways in towns, maybe it's just south of england that gets them, but up 'ere in t'north we don't need that sort of namby pamby stuff... personally - I think umbrella's need banning first... I don't see why my eye needs to be sacrificed daily just because some girl or man in a suit doesn't want to get a tiny bit wet, or refuses to use an umbrella that doesn't have razor-sharp spikes. :)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds right to me.

    That sounds about right to me - if you argue that they're not in the same class as motobikes or cars (Need a tax disc), you can only really claim that they're in the same category as bicycles. You can ride a bike on the road without needing a disc, but go on the pavement and it's a fine.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Unless you're vaguely connected to the police

  7. Anonymous Coward


    just like the mobility scooter and electric wheelchair.

    the law needs to be refined to allow personal mobility assistance.

    1. Red Bren

      It already is

      Class 2 and 3 mobility scooters are permitted on the pavement, but restricted to 4mph.

      1. max allan

        How much?

        4MPH? If that's the limit then there are a lot of old lawbreakers riding round my town terrorising the walkers.

        1. Andus McCoatover

          Surely you're confusing..

          ..mobility scooters with the council's sit-on lawnmowers. Both usually driven by geriatrics, but the latter wear orange ear-defenders with "Council Property" written on them, which is how you can easily differentiate.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        My arse!

        1. Tom 260


          There is an 8mph category of mobility scooter, but those are restricted to the road only (ones with 4/8mph speed controls can use either pavement or road, but must use the appropriate speed for the situation). Curiously, the driver of a mobility scooter cannot be prosecuted for causing death by dangerous driving....

  8. Lionel Baden


    Or self Balancing !!!!

    i would go for that if i was the defense

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      So how do you get them to go forward? Do you have to push them? Could help as part of a fitness regime after all.

  9. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!

    additional charge

    Of being a pretentious git in a public area.

    He's actually quite lucky it was the cops that stopped him. Barnsley isn't exactly known for its tolerance of "posh buggers" (pretentious is too big a word there*)

    *i live in Sheffield. Barnsley is the only place we're allowed to look down on as 'rural'...!

  10. Anonymous Coward

    If not illegal, most definitely ridden by nutters!

    Saw some plank the other day riding down Piccadilly pavements on one. Suited and booted, coffee in hand holding the handlebars and phone in the ear with the other hand! People having to move aside for the ass-hat!

    Sorry but your favourite deity gave you Shanksy's Pony, use it!

  11. Dazed and Confused

    Get them off the pavement

    There are enough problems round here with mobility scooters trying to mow down pedestrians. This guy might drive his Segway carefully and with consideration for other users of the pavement, but if he wins then soon enough there will be plenty of selfish/arrogant b*******ds threatening life & limb.

  12. Ken 16 Bronze badge

    They're not bicycles

    They were banned from Amsterdam after a tour company started Segway tours of the city using the bike paths. It's got 2 wheels and an engine, how is it different to a motorbike?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No engine actually

      Just a motor. But far be it from me to defend these bizarre things.

      On the road, just like the cyclists, please.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "how is it different to a motorbike?"

      In a number of highly conspicuous ways including the fact that it is clearly a Segway.

      That said, I would agree that they shouldn't be on the pavements. But given that I've never even seen one in real life, they don't annoy me half as much as those damn wheelie suitcases that allow their owners to drag around the highly important cargo of cinnamon flavour dental floss that they no doubt must have wherever they go.

  13. phil 21

    back in the eighties

    there were quite a few cases where the police were targetting skateboarders with the same law, basically the 'willfully using a carriage of any kind' bit. I'm not sure if anybody ever got prosecuted, I assume not as there were never any followup articles in the skate mags of the time. Always seemed a bit petty to me, stopping people under sixteen and threatening them with court, for riding a board on the pavement ...

  14. TseTT


    I would prefer something faster than a Segway to get out of Barnsley........

    1. Andus McCoatover

      Leaving Barnsley...

      Barnsley escape velocity is multiplied by 2 to the the power of the number of tarts there...

      (OK, You get the icon, yes?)

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Legal beagle

    I'm impressed his solicitor seems more interested in the case law aspect than her the defence of her client!

  16. Red Bren

    So which law should he be charged under?

    The Highways Act of 1835 is the appropriate statute for this charge. Just because the law has been on the books for a while, doesn't make it obsolete. In fact, its a shame some more recent legislation isn't as carefully thought out.

    Motorised or not, you are not allowed to ride a segway on a footpath, just as you are not permitted to drive or cycle along one.

    1. Mike Richards

      The use of the word 'carriage' is a good one

      Because it's not too specific and can be extended to other forms of wheeled transport without requiring the text of the law to be rewritten. It's left to the courts to decide if a mode of transport is a carriage or not. If only more law was written like this (but then I'd prefer Roman Law anyway rather than our system, but that's getting me started...)


      There's a similar case; Corkery v Carpenter (1950), where a man was found guilty of being drunk in charge of a 'carriage' under the Licensing Act of 1872. The court ruled (and it has been subsequently upheld) that bicycles constitute carriages, so I don't think there's much hope of this case deciding otherwise.

    2. Andus McCoatover

      Thanks for the link.. I read it, the Highways Act 1835 requires TWO 'Justices of the peace' to decide.

      That'll bung the costs up, nowadays there's usually (in a magistrates court) only one, IIRC. (Haven't been nicked in UK for awhile)

      I'm not a lawyer, but as a British Citizen I'm expected to have full competence of the law, as "Ignorantia legis neminem excusat". = ignorance of the law excuses no one.

      Oh, I also need Latin fluency, too. Maybe so I can have a seance with some long-dead Romans?

      Bloody legal system's blatant arrogance.

  17. Anonymous John

    1835 Highways Act?

    It was all horses and carts then. Plus a few primitive bicycles.

    It makes interesting reading though.

    "and if a highway is out of repair, the parish surveyor may be summoned before the courts and ordered to complete the repairs within a limited time."

    Has that happened lately?

    Offences include: "Not having the owner's name painted up [on the cart].

    That could have been a nice little earner for the government as car owners have been breaking the law for the past century.

    1. max allan

      Is your name on your tax disc?

      If your name is on the tax disc, you're in the clear. I can't remember if it is and can't be bothered to go outside in the rain and check.

      I do like the idea of summoning the parish surveyor to court and limiting the time to repair.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Oh good

      So next time I happen upon a parked up police mobile I'll have have to check for presence of said owner's name and in its absence request the occupants to report themselves for breaching the terms of the 1835 Highways Act. Something to look forward to... :)

      1. Alan 6

        No it isn't

        Just the registration number and make of the vehicle

      2. Daniel Wilkie


        It DOES have the owners name painted down the sides. In big letters. For example round here they say "POLICE".

        The copper doesn't own it, believe it or not their employers actually provide them with a car :o


    3. Dogbyte
      Thumb Down

      Owner's name

      @Anonymous John

      "Offences include: "Not having the owner's name painted up [on the cart].

      That could have been a nice little earner for the government as car owners have been breaking the law for the past century."

      I think that's probably covered by having a registration number that's traceable to the owner. Though HGVs, I believe, are still required to display the owner's name.

    4. Rogerborg

      Loads of laughs, that

      "Offences include: "Not having the owner's name painted up [on the cart]."

      If you get convicted, bring a private prosecution against the magistrate who sends you down for not having his name on his Jag (and yes, they always drive Jags - it's practically a precondition of acceptance).

    5. RichyS

      Don't encourage them

      The government doesn't need any encouragement to raise more revenue...

      Anyway, I suspect the registration plates cover the 'owner's identification on the vehicle' side of things.

      Well, unless your name's Dave Audi, or something...

      Road-sign icon, obv.

    6. Lionel Baden


      I like the highway being repaired in a certain amount of time

      Not having the owners name painted could easily be reclassified as number plate

    7. beerandbiscuits

      Except that nearly all of the Act has been repealed.

      See the statute law database link above.

      This law is used frequently against pavement cyclists, so it's no surprise that they're extending it to another menace.

  18. Leo Rampen
    Thumb Up

    Legal Precedent

    The UK has long needed a clear legal precedent for electric vehicles. It's the same issue with electric scooters and bicycles. Currently, it seems that mobility scooters/wheelchairs are ignored by the police (although probably technically illegal), likewise electrically assisted bicycles. The grey area that you'll get pulled over for is things like segways, electric scooters, electric skateboards etc.

    These are very low emission vehicles, and assuming they're not simply being used to replace walking, they make a lot of sense for commutes up to 10 or 15 miles, where it's too far to cycle without turning up looking like you've just had a shower.

    A quick google shows that 70% of people outside London commute by car, and that the average distance driven a day is (assuming 235 working days a year) about 13 miles. 6.5 miles is within the range of a small electric scooter, and even if only 10% of people were to use something like that (without the hassle of a scooter license), it would cut (back of the envelope calculations) 5.409*10^6 Tons of CO2 a year, which is about 1% of our total emissions. (calcs available on request)

    Not a huge amount, but still quite significant. And scooters are fun!

    1. Paul 172

      Yes, but...

      They're electric scooters, not magic scooters. So they take their energy from the national grid, is this so much more efficient at generating energy and transmitting it to houses than a petrol or diesel engine is?

      Solar powered scooters maybe ?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        RE: Yes, but

        "is this so much more efficient at generating energy and transmitting it to houses than a petrol or diesel engine is?"

        Actually it is. Especially if the scooters are re-charged off peak when there is a surplus on the grid and if the scooters battery's are able to recharge when they brake.

      2. Leo Rampen


        My basis for that calculation is from a very unscientific googling of "electric scooter mpg equivalent", which brought me to

        They are obviously going to use energy. The main reason scooters are so much more fuel efficient at carrying a single person somewhere is because they weigh so much less. A Lithium Ion battery is 80-90% efficient. An electric motor is somewhere between 80 and 95% efficient ( A power station is around 40% efficient. That gives an electric scooter an efficiency of about 27.5% at converting coal into motion.

        Compare that with an internal combustion engine efficiency of about 20%. An electric drivetrain will therefore be about 37.5% better at converting energy to motion, assuming the same power requirements. In practice an electric car has a greater advantage because it can use regenerative braking.

        Scale that electric chassis down from a car to a scooter (with perhaps a 3kW motor), and you get considerable improvements. My calculations show that a 3kW scooter going flat out at 30mph would use 362kJ/mile, which would be the equivalent of about 400mpg (quite far off the claims I used last time).

        Adjusting the calculations I made before for this new number, there isn't really any change in the overall emissions, because the scooter has emissions that are a factor of 10 smaller than those of the car.


      Electric Propulsion Devices

      Not at all eco-friendly as their batteries require re-charging with far from "green" mains electricity!

      1. chr0m4t1c

        "Green" electricity

        What we tend to forget when talking about the inefficiencies of generating electricity for electric vehicles when compared to diesel/petrol vehicles is the additional pollution caused in getting those fuels to our vehicles in the first place.

        IIRC, to get fuel to your vehicle it goes something like this:

        Drill->Pump->Store (at well)->Pump->Store (at distribution depot)->Pump (into tanker)-> Transport->Store (at refinery)-> Pump->Refine->Pump->Store->Pump->Transport->Pump->Store (finally at the filling station)->Deliver.

        If your electricity is only generated from gas, oil or coal then that process is largely the same for all fuels, but if you generate from a renewable or something like nuclear, then the electric vehicle does start to look much better.

        IIRC, each litre of fuel adds something like 250-300g/km to whatever your car produces.

        Mind you, the arguments over what pollutes more are largely redundant if you consider that fossil fuels are a finite resource anyway; if we don't stop using them voluntarily we'll have no choice once they run out.

        N.B. I am not a "Peak Oil" or Eco nut, just someone trying to take a balanced view.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh the legality

    I think it should be fairly self-evident that "ride" here means riding some animal, or an animal-drawn vehicle. And I think it's pretty clear even to lawmakers that such things are not motor vehicles. So.

    You can argue about the legality of using a segway on the pavement on grounds of road rules, but this particular argument seems to hinge on deliberate mis-interpretation of the law as written. That is, the words "ride" and "drive" ment something else back then. Do we re-interpret the law to mean something else than it was written to mean, or do we dismiss the allegations because the law cited is not applicable?

    It's a question of integrity of law. But we already knew how much integrity the plod has. I mean, really, why didn't they bring terrorism allegations?

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      @AC "Oh the legality"

      > "But we already knew how much integrity the plod has. I mean, really, why didn't they bring terrorism allegations?"

      Because they couldn't pin "trying to take photos in a public place with an SLR camera" on him, I guess... :P

    2. Mike Richards

      Except that's not the way law is written

      'I think it should be fairly self-evident that "ride" here means riding some animal, or an animal-drawn vehicle. And I think it's pretty clear even to lawmakers that such things are not motor vehicles. So.'

      Had law makers wanted they would have specified animal-drawn vehicles. They did not so we can't make the assumption the law is limited to animal-drawn traffic. The law was drawn up to reduce the risk to pedestrians from ALL non-pedestrian traffic. Vehicles with engines or motors fall under its remit.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is Aunty DoT an import?

    A DoT spokesman told the paper: "Current legislation restricts Segway use in the UK to private land such as airports and shopping malls. "

    ... shopping malls? I didn't think we had any shopping malls in the UK.

    If Aunty DoT is an American plant, then perhaps the Segways will be look on favourably than the local law enforcement.

  21. hirudo

    cops and Segway

    It is rather different in the US - I had my collar felt by a cop riding a Segway on the pavement a couple of weeks ago in Charlotte North Carolina.

    He pulled up and demanded to know what I was doing but as soon as he heard my accent he said "Oh you are a Brit - that's OK"

    He was actually pretty friendly but he wouldn't let me have a go on his Segway!

    On another note they also have cops on mountain bikes there that also ride on the pavements

    The ones on the bikes were noticeably leaner than the ones riding the segways...

  22. Scott 19

    I'd be

    More concerned that the beak are going to start trolling through the books for more laws like these now they could be losing S.44.

    Not wearing a hat on a Sunday that's a shilling fine, which with inflation is a grand to you.

    1. Anonymous John


      I think males over 14 are still required to practice regularly. With the added bonus that Plod could nick them weekly for carrying offensive weapons.

      1. Robert Hill

        Why - YES...

        It is a silly thing, but yes you are required to practice Archery some number of Sundays each month if over 14...but of course, public archery ranges are few and far between, and if you take a longbow into your back garden I think your neighbours would probably call the police.

        Extra points if you can talk the police into charging your neighbour with breach of the archery statute, rather than getting yourself nicked for having an offensive weapon!.

      2. CADmonkey

        offensive weapons

        An arrow, even if notched into the string of the bow, isn't an offensive weapon until you draw it.


    2. Sooty


      There is still a bridge somewhere in England, that has a notice bolted to it warning that defacing it in any way is punishable by transportation to Australia!

  23. gb030104


    What happens if a push-bike goes past the copper first, but he ignores it before stopping the Segway? Is he not supposed to stop both seeing as they're the same offense, or use his judgment to ignore both of them?

  24. LuMan


    Oddly, my pal and I were collared by the filth a few years back after procuring a gas-sprung pogo stick from some well-known gadget outlet. Apparently you can get over 6ft of height out of one of these things.

    After about 25 minutes of hurling ourselves skyward (not quite to 6ft, admittedly) plod tuned up and told us to stop as the pogo stick classes as a form of transport and is not permitted on the footpath outside my mate's house. We offered to go on the road and use it, but the rozzer objected further. Sheesh!

    Still, on the bright side, my 12-year old nephew has cleared 6ft after a few months of practice and can maintain this height for about 8 consecutive springs!! Good lad!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It could be argued in a legal case* that Segways are not a motorised form of transport. The motor doesn't provide motive power. It's only used for balancing. The fact that a Segway moves is nothing to do with the motor moving the thing forward. Highlighted by the fact that it doesn't have an accelerator and when upright can't be made to move forward. The motor is trying to keep the Segway upright. The motive force is coming from the rider leaning forward. The analogy is that of a person leaning forward. If they lean forward enough, then they need to put their leg forward to stop themselves falling. A Segway is doing the same thing.

    Anyway, if its got two wheels it's like an electric bicycle. They're not banned are they? So get a fine for riding on the pavement, but Segways should be allowed on the road.

    * A legal case in which a good lawyer can twist the interpretation of the law to their requirements. Spirit of the law against the letter of the law kind of thing.

    1. Dazed and Confused

      No motive force?

      If the rider leans forward, their top half should go forward and their feet should go backwards. The Segway is pushing forward to stop them hitting the ground so that they are kept in a constant state of falling. The energy to move forward is not coming from the potential energy of the person standing up relative to the person nose down in the dirt. It is coming from the Segway. So it my book that counts as motorised.

      A simpler test would be.

      Are there any motors in the Segway?

      Are they connected to the wheels?

  26. leona 2
    Paris Hilton

    So us girls can though right?

    because it says "shall not keep 'his' waggon" Which doesn't seem to cover the female gender, so us girls can 'drive' whatever we like on the pavement then :)

    1. mulder

      are woman legaly allouwed outsode the house?

      Keep in mind this law has been writen in the times that woman where suposed to be at home taking care of the housekeeping ect,

      This makes me wonder if there are some still active laws in the uk that could ban woman from working.

    2. Richard Gadsden 1

      The male embraces the female

      Really, that's what the law says. Honest.

  27. g e

    Don't forget

    You can still shoot a Welshman with your longbow in Cheshire on a Sunday, I think!

    And NO impersonating Chelsea Pensioners :o)

  28. Velv

    Sinclair C5, mobility scooters, etc ?

    What made the Sinclair C5 road legal and the Segway not ? (or was it?)

    I'm guessing lights and reflectors is the key factor, but they should be easy to fit in exactly the same way as on a bicycle.

    1. Richard IV

      Cycle laws are intrinsically mad, but especially...

      The C5 got a special set of regulations designed for it, all wrapped up as part of Statutory Instrument (1983 No. 1176) to the Road Traffic Act. Tricycles (or teeny wheeled quadricycles) get special exemptions. Bells and reflectors are required at the point of sale, but not the point of use. Electric versions have to have a special plate attached stating the power output and manufacturer (I suspect that this may be at least part of why the Sadway isn't legal on HM's highways). Imported bikes get exemptions, but not imported electric bikes. The list goes on...



  29. Winkypop Silver badge

    1835 ??

    Back then some guy invented the self-balancing horse...

    That was banned for a while too.

    Hang in there dude.

  30. dr48

    bikes and scooters

    Those questioning the use of electric bikes on the pavement - cycling on the pavement is an offence in itself. Though if we're going to get specific, kids under 10 can't be prosecuted as they're below the age of criminal responsibility.

    And on the 4mph mobility scooter front, the 2007 revision of the Highway code says: "Powered wheelchairs and scooters must not travel faster than 4 mph (6 km/h) on pavements or in pedestrian areas". Law UICHR 1988 reg 4.

    Shame nothing seems to get done about either.

  31. Mad Mike


    What really happened here is that the user of the segway probably gave the constable some grief at being stopped, so the copper, being a public servant and all, decided to get all high and mighty and do him for something, somehow. If you look hard enough through all the old laws, there's something banning just about everything, it's just that intelligent people are not vindictive and realise ancient laws meant for one purpose should not be bent to apply to something recent.

    Provided people are using the pavement in a reasonable way, anybody should be able to use it for anything. If people do stupid things or are inconsiderate, they should be prosecuted regardless. Even someone walking on pavement, but pushing through and knocking people over should be done regardless of their 'right' to walk on the pavement.

    Epic fail by the police.

    1. NightFox


      Do you mean Epic Fail based on what you simply guess might have happened based on no apparent evidence whatsoever apart from your pre-conceived ideas?

  32. David 45

    Speedy carts

    You've heard of Hell's Angels bikers? Well, around these parts we have Hell's Grannies mobility scooters! I have seen some mobility scooters driven by elderly folk going at a fair old pace along the pavements in my town in the UK. Didn't think they were allowed to be manufactured to go much more than walking pace but they certainly go some. Some pavements are quite narrow and if anyone stepped out of a shop doorway, they would be bowled over, sure as eggs is eggs. Do they have to carry any form of insurance, does anyone know?

  33. Ragsnot


    Now when I were a was illegal to ride a bike on the pavement and we had our collars felt by coppers if we did!

    Is that still the case?

    I do wonder because this morning I saw a bike mounted PC riding on the pavement and I nearly stopped to chastise him!!!

    Anyway...haven't they got anything better to do? *long suffering sigh*

    1. Rolf Howarth

      Coppers riding on the pavement

      You do know that the police are specifcally permitted to break motoring laws (red traffic lights, no entry signs, speed limits, etc.), don't you? (Though only if they need to as part of performing their duties, and they do still need to give way and not drive dangerously)

  34. vogon

    Segway Vs Pushbike

    OK, so the Old Bill got shirty with someone riding a Segway on the pavement/footpath.

    Here's a question : How come they aren't bothered by pedal cyclists riding on the pavement? If it's 'illegal' to ride a Segway on the pavement, how can it be 'legal' for a push-bike to be ridden there?

    Oh yeah - in case you haven't noticed, push-bikes-on-the-pavement is a pet hate of mine for various reasons...stick to the road, that's what it's there for! Or, at least SLOW DOWN you maniacs...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      fined for bike on pavement

      Down in Guildford there is a footbridge over the a3 that saves cycling round a dangerous junction.

      The council often sit on the bridge in the morning fining people who dare to cycle over it, even if you go slowly with few others about.

      They know many students will do it so their gaurenteed the cash and as they tell you either pay the reduced fine now or go to court for much more, the "fine" is a donatation so they can spend it on what they want not the tight limits an actual fine would impose.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Oh good stuff

    While I don't live in the UK and don't much care if some tosser rides his toy around your country, I am someone who uses your language.

    This Segway thingy has a *motor* and it is a *vehicle*. Therefore anyone who argues that it is not a *motor vehicle* is illiterate.

    ... and if they happen to be riding a Segway while making such an argument, I'd think it would fair to allow pedestrians to test it's auto-balancing feature by hitting the rider with a croquet mallet.

  36. kain preacher


    In the States its legal to ride a bike on the road. You will find in major cites they also have bike lanes on the road in the States .

    1. tony trolle

      some Califoria cities

      let you drive golf carts on the roads (not the main st aka high street).

  37. Anonymous Coward

    He should get...

    ...a public caning for being a pretentious twat.

  38. Chris 35

    Cycling on the pavement

    I frequently cycle on the pavements on my daily commute of 3(ish) miles as some of the roads are too dangerous for a cyclist averaging 15mph - in fact, some of the cycle paths have been removed from the roads and placed onto the pavements.

    I have seen plenty of coppers and the most they've ever done is raise a hand to wave good morning/evening to me.

    I think the main reason why they've never said anything is that I have reflectors and lights on my bike and I am wearing a high-visiblity coat and cycle helmet.

    I think that this goes a bit further into the territory of antisocial behaviour than the article suggests.

  39. Niall Wallace 1

    Construction and Use

    Simple answer to the Segway problem, make it road legal.

    Which means the Constructions and Use.

    If it's a bike it has to meet the appropriate BS and if it's a vehicle it's got to meet the requirements for one of them.

    Any vehicle must have 2 independant brakes, that's why cars have a hydraulic system and usually a cable system. Most pedal cycles have independant front and rear brakes (as do motorcycles) although many (fixed gear) single speed cycles forego the rear brake in favour of the fact you can cause a braking action by resisting the turning of the pedals.

    how many has the segway got?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The law seldom keeps up with technology but citing a road law from 1835, no, having a road law from 1835 is a bit... daft.

  41. David Neil

    Segways and shopping centres

    They have one for the 'security guards' in the Clydebank shopping center (outside Glasgow).

    God only knows what they think they are up to, the security guards consist of 3 fat (20 stone) blokes over 50 who look like they could have a heart attack at a moments notice and one lady in her 40's who insists on wearing boots with heels on them - even if you slowed down enough for the Segway to catch you they would be f'ed trying to chase you more than 5 paces.

    I'd have taken a photo, but they filled the centre with loads of signs saying photography is prohibited, and even complained at people taking pics of the Brownies doing a carol concert....

  42. JohnG

    DfT Factsheet

    The cop was following department for Transport guidance for "self balancing scooters":

    Segways are not invalid carriages and therefore, cannot legally use the pavement.

    Segways would be classified as powered vehicles, requiring registration plates, road fund license and insurance BUT because Segways have not acquired European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval, they cannot be registered.

    Bottom line: Segways can only be used on private land in the UK.

  43. Mike Flex

    Mr Opik

    > the Commons' keenest Segway campaigner Lembit Opik was told to get on his (old-fashioned) bike by voters at the last election.

    How Cheeky of them. (Though I see he's no longer getting her vote either.)

  44. John Tserkezis
    Thumb Down


    "Whether they're classed as motor vehicles or not, they've no place on a footpath."

    What about the three or four wheeler buggies the old-farts use? Bashing into pedestrian's legs, shopping trollies, children, little furry animals etc. They're not allowed on the roads anymore for good bloody reason, but give them a GoKart and the footpath is theirs.

    Ah, no problem you say, there is a *specific* exclusion for those.

    My big fat hairy arse. That's what I say.

  45. Stephen Bungay

    I fail to understand the problem...

    Being smaller than a bicycle with much the same footprint on the ground as a person, and moving at speeds from walking pace to running, I fail to see the reason for the resistance to adoption of these devices. I do not own a Segway nor do I work for the company that makes them or any of their partners or affiliates.

    I really do not understand why there is such resistance against using these devices. With congestion charges and all of the concern about CO2 emissions etc. it would seem that allowing these machines to be used in the same manner as bicycles should be promoted rather than stifled.

    Not everyone is in good enough condition to ride a bicycle (physical handicaps is what I speak of, not level of physical fitness), and the form factor integrates well with existing infrastructure, or at the very least as well as bicycles do, and far better than skateboards. If we put chairs on them to make them wheelchairs would there be as much hew and cry? I think not, and hey, thats not a bad idea is it, far nicer than most of the wheelchairs out there now, you read it here first.

    Pros I can think of are

    - It is man sized in footprint.

    - It can easily transition from platforms to tube/subway cars (although getting it down to that level may be challenging).

    - It can be stowed in the boot/trunk of a car, a supermini (Yaris/Fit/Versa/Astra,Peugeot 207, VW Polo etc) would be better than a traditional sedan.

    - It has zero exhaust-gas emissions

    Cons I can think of are;

    - It costs more than the average bicycle

    - It is heavy (getting it into your car is problematic)

    - For some unknown reason there are people against using in the transportation mix.

  46. Anonymous Coward

    Standard bureucracy fascism

    A DoT spokesman told the paper: "Current legislation restricts Segway use in the UK to private land such as airports and shopping malls."

    Essentially: Babble.

    DoT PR-personnel knows nothing about legislation and says whatever he's told to say.

    DoT has enough power (by the law) to allow anything (literally) in traffic in UK, thus that decision has nothing to do with law, but DoT internal politics, mainly vehement resistance to anything new. Standard bureucracy fascism shines through: Everything is forbidden unless _we_ allow it.

  47. fred #257

    Segway = pointless?

    How much power does it use just balancing itself? To put it another way, how much better energy mileage would one get from a battery-powered bicycle that doesn't need computers and gyroscopes just to keep itself upright?

  48. Bernard M. Orwell

    Old Archery Laws

    As a battle re-enactor, I've heard this tale and all sorts of variations on it dozens of times. "Legal to carry a bow in (insert city), legal to kill a welshman so long as you shoot across the border, legal to use crossbows if you're wearing a particular tartan..."; the list goes on. There's even one about it being legal to stone people to death with cabbages if they're from one particular town and you're from a neighbouring one!

    It's all cobblers.

    There used to be two laws, dated back to the 15th/16th century, that required all Englishmen over the age of 14 to practice with a bow, and another from a few years later banning welshmen from carrying a longbow except in service to the crown. Both of these laws have been repealed (albeit in one case as late as the 1960's!) and even where they aren't I think you'll find there are laws forbidding the carrying of weapons of ANY kind without a license these days.

    For more information, and some real research on the subject, take a look at

  49. Tim #3


    Ignoring all the fuss about the legality of these, I'm far more concerned to see they cost £5k. Yes really. What sort of idiot....?

    For that money I could get a sedan chair and, er, create employment for a couple of people (or what better way of crims doing community service). And keep out of the rain.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @kain preacher

    > In the States its legal to ride a bike on the road. You will find

    > in major cites they also have bike lanes on the road in the States .

    Mostly ... though there's one place in the news recently which has past a law banning cycles from its roads on "safety" grounds.

    N.b. on the topic of Segways ... ITV's Tour de France coverage last night revealed that their camera man uses a Segway to film the "Chris Boardman on a bike describing the road close to the finish" segments!

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Don't think the law was specifically changed for the C5 - I think it was more that the law was changed to legalise electric motors on bikes etc - Sir Clive was already thinking about "proper" electric cars and when this law came in I think he thought that using this to produce the C5 would raise income to support the "proper" car development and also get people enthused about electric propulsion - though in reality it had completely the opposite effect,

  52. Max_Normal

    "how is it different to a motorbike?"

    A Sopwith Camel has two wheels and an engine, can I fly one on my motorbike licence?

    1. Ken 16 Bronze badge

      congratulations on having a Camel!

      No, I think you'll find that's a flying machine (the wings are a clue) and requires a pilots license to actually fly, though it would be legal for you to taxi it, without a license, in exactly the same places as it's legal to ride a Segway - private land and aerodromes.

  53. Andus McCoatover

    OK, had enough of this shi*te.

    What the fuc*k is the difference between a bloke on a Segway (purportedly illegal) @ 4m/h and me strolling down a pavement pushing an old-fashioned lawnmower* @ 4m/h (legal)??

    Both about the same width, same speed, similar appearance but the difference is I don't ride the lawnmower.

    Plus, the lawnmower has its blades rotating at full chat. Don't see any blades on a Segway...

    Sod my guts.

    * - Segway prototype?

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