Testimony in opposition to Bill 98
And then there are Segways. Segways are in a word historic. If you canít
recognize this at least you can recognize the fact that Segways have unique
operating characteristics and have nothing to do with scooters. For
goodness sakes they are so different that there is not even a throttle or
brakes. People talk about how fast Segways go and miss the much bigger
point. For the record their top speed in humans terms is running pace.
However the genius of Segways, is they are the only machines that go zero
miles an hour. Try to stand on a scooter or a bicycle when itís not moving
and it falls over. A Segway is fully operational at 0 mph. To lump Segways
in as scooters because they donít fit neatly into any category is in a word,
unacceptable. This goes against both the spirit and culture of a great city
that has always adapted to new ideas.
Unlike others here I talk from experience. I have 500 hours of experience on
a Segway in NYC. It's important to note that this is 500 more hours than
anyone at the DOT. 500 more hours more than anyone on the city council. 500
more hours than anyone in the mayorís office and 500 more hours experience
than any of our cities well meaning activists. So my testimony is based on
factual data and first hand experience. Not opinion.
There are about 200 Segways in NYC
and they have been operating for 18 months.
At 10 hours a week, which is a fairly conservative
use estimate, there are 150,000 Segway operating
hours without one injury or one fatality.
In comparison in that same amount of time there have been 21,750 pedestrians
seriously injured and 250 killed by automobiles in NYC.
But you're considering banning Segways.
Segways can give the elderly and those with disabilities a dignity of
movement that prior to Segway would be impossible to imagine. In fact the
medical applications of this device have yet to be explored but they are
clearly huge. I have spent a lot of time working with the elderly and
showing them the machine. The oldest person I have a had on a Segway was 91
years old. The biggest problem was getting the machine back. Think about it.
A walker or a Segway. Crutches or a Segway. A wheel chair or a Segway.
But you want to ban them?
Can you at
least recognize the disabled use?
Can you at least recognize the elederly's right to move around our city with
a sense of dignity and mobility? Can you at least recognize how much safer
we will all be with older citizens on Segways instead of behind the wheel
How much energy
does a Segway use?
A Segway uses electricity, which means there is no tailpipe spewing
pollution. But if you converted the energy it uses to a gasoline equivalent
which Citystreets has had done it gets 450 mpg. 450 mpg. Since weíre not
getting leadership on a national energy policy that reduces our nations
reliance on foreign oil from WashingtonWhere is this leadership going to
come from? From you. 450 mpg. This changes things. The city has never
considered being in compliance with the clean air act. Now it can. How come
we are not talking about this? Donít you know that in certain neighborhoods
more than 25% of kids have asthma? 450 mpg.
But you are considering banning them?
So if Segways
arenít scooters what are they?
Hereís one way to think and talk about them. At Citystreets we have begun to
think of a new class of vehicle, one that isnít completely defined yet but
whose working title is Urban Electric Vehicle. Segways fit neatly into this
classification. They are clearly vehicles that are designed for cities
unlike most of the cars on ours streets that that are designed for highway
use and are totally out of context in our city.
Instead of banning Segways you should immediately initiate a 4-6 month study
to and start evaluating them so you can begin to learn what Citystreets has
an obvious head start on. You should talk to us privately so we can share
our observations and experiences. We can help you solve the real issues,
which is how to train people to operate Segways safely. How to integrate
them into our city.
Cities have existed for thousands of years. Cars, which have transformed our
landscape, have been around for a relatively short time. An evolutionary
blip if you will. For years people have talked about reducing our reliance
on automobiles because they know our addiction to cars is unsustainable.
Others like Citystreets have focused on the public health threat posed by
cars in our city. And now there are security reasons to reduce our nations
oil use which means reducing car use. But Dean Kamen is the person who
invented the worldís first self-balancing gyroscopic human transportation
device that can allow us to stop thinking and start planning new ways to
move around our city without relying on cars. History will view the period
as the beginning of a new era. Specifically the end of civilizations
automobile period. If you think I have been harsh. I am being kind to how
history will judge you if you actually go through with your ill conceived
plan that lacks vision and leadership and is against the interest of the
people that you swore to serve.