Mounties love Segways

Two-wheeled electric scooters known as Segways received a thumbs up from Sylvan Lake Mounties this summer, says an Alberta Transportation spokeswoman. Heather Kaszuba said the RCMP passed on its findings on how well the Segways worked and by all indications, they were a smash hit.

Two-wheeled electric scooters known as Segways received a thumbs up from Sylvan Lake Mounties this summer, says an Alberta Transportation spokeswoman.

Heather Kaszuba said the RCMP passed on its findings on how well the Segways worked and by all indications, they were a smash hit.

“They were using the Segways regularly and there were no concerns and no complaints,” said Kaszuba on Tuesday.

The RCMP detachment borrowed a couple of the upright, self-balancing machines in 2007 and used them on a trial basis. Seeing success, it bought two for use in 2008 and again this year.

They are primarily used on weekends to cover the beach and downtown area.

The province is conducting a pilot program with a number of users — Sylvan RCMP, City of Edmonton’s Emergency Medical Services, Calgary Police Service’s airport division and Segway Edmonton Operating Tours — to determine provincial policies and regulations.

All users were given special permits since Segways are illegal to use under the provincial Traffic Safety Act.

“The review will continue through the winter,” Kaszuba said.

Kaszuba said she couldn’t speculate as to when any regulations may be developed.

No new groups have applied for the special permits.

Alberta Transportation is also seeing positive findings for Segway use coming from a U.S. Department of Transportation study released in September 2004.

The study, Characteristics of Emerging Road and Trail Users and their Safety, analyzed the differences between various users, including those who rode adult tricycles, power wheelchairs and Segways.

Compared to most other users, Segway users had higher eye heights, shorter lengths, shorter braking distances and faster deceleration rates, and required the least space to make a three-point turn.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

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