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Councilor LaMattina Leads Strict New Segway Rules Through City Council to Ban Sidewalk Use

Segway tour operator, Boston Gliders, located on the corner of Hanover & Commercial Street would be subject to the new regulations (NEWF Photo)

New regulations adopted yesterday by the City Council ban Segway tours from sidewalks and parks. The new rules put the Segways on designated routes traveling in the street, including bike lanes.

In a matter sponsored by the North End / Waterfront’s City Councilor Sal LaMattina, the City Council voted unanimously to pass the first Segway regulations in the City of Boston. The new rules are largely applicable to Segway tour companies, such as Boston Gliders located on the corner of Hanover and Commercial Streets. However, personal Segway use is also restricted.

The City Council is responding to complaints from residents, including those in the North End / Waterfront, that many sidewalks are too narrow and congested to accommodate both pedestrians and Segway vehicles. In addition to sidewalks, parks and plazas are also Segway-free zones. Disabled people are exempt from the new regulations.

Councilor LaMattina’s office has distributed some talking points on the new Segway regulations:

– This legislation does not altogether ban Segways from the City of Boston.  Instead, it provides a regulatory structure for their use.  It allows Segway tours and allows the use of Segways for disability purposes.

– This legislation reduces public safety risks by ensuring the users are trained to ride Segways and only operate in designated areas of the City.

-It does not allow the use of Segways for personal, recreational use.

– The differences between the original draft and the new draft before the Council help to streamline the licensing process for Segway Tour companies.  They must all be licensed through the Boston Police’s Hackney Division. Segway tours may only operate on routes approved by the Boston Transportation Department.

– The new draft grants the Boston Police Department authority to promulgate additional regulations for the operation of Segway tours, as well as set the appropriate fees.

– The new draft also incorporates some suggestions provided by industry, to allow them some flexibility in the operation of their tour groups.  For example, they are required to wear reflective vests unless BPD approves of a company’s choice of uniform.  Rearview mirrors are required on these vehicles, unless the industry proposes a viable alternative – perhaps helmet mirrors – so long as the BPD approves.

– Segway users must all be shown a safety video prior to their operation and sign a FAQ sheet that they understand the rules and regulations and the safety risks of driving one.

– This has been in process for more than over a year.  The City Council held a hearing on the issue in March of 2010.  This legislation was developed over the course of several months and was filed earlier this year.  A hearing on this docket was held mid-May.

– Importantly, disabled individuals may continue to use Segways as a mode of transportation.  However, in the interest of public safety the may not ride in groups larger than 2.  This will ensure that large groups of Segways do not impede the flow of pedestrian traffic.

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11 Replies to “Councilor LaMattina Leads Strict New Segway Rules Through City Council to Ban Sidewalk Use

  1. The Segway issue is new everywhere. I have found the Boston Gliders people to be most co-operatiove, especially in Christopher Columbus Park.
    "Parks and plazas are also Segway-free zones"
    Aren't these rules applicable to bicycle people, also?
    Too bad we have no controls for those skate-boarders who have no respect for rules and regs.

  2. Kudos to Councilor LaMattina. The narrow sidewalks and crowded streets of the North End are the textbook worst case for Segways. But anywhere they are used, they're heavy and quick, and pedestrians and cyclists are always going to lose when the two collide. Dean Kamen promised years ago, even before the Segways were unveiled, that his then-secret invention would change the way urbanites moved around their cities. No one should complain, then, if they also change the way cities regulate that movement.

  3. Yay Councilor LaMattina! I can't tell you how many near misses I've seen in the neighborhood. It's just insane to have these things on sidewalks or in parks. The tours are a nuisance, but the employees are really reckless when whipping around the neighborhood on their own. I can't wait until they're gone!

  4. When does this go into effect? I saw a bunch of them over in Columbus Park yesterday forcing their way through the crowd coming to see the Stanley Cup at Tia's. One of them almost took out an old lady.

  5. Well there must be some issue since it took all of 31 hours for there to be a federal law suit filled. I hope Sal Lamatina will cover the huge legal bill.

  6. @Federal law suit. You must own or work for the Segway tour company. The issue is PUBLIC SAFETY and the inconsiderate behavior of the company's owner, its tour leaders and the tourists who force pedestrians off the street, plow through crowds, go the wrong way up one way streets, and think they own the sidewalks, the pathways in the parks and everyone else should get the hell out of the way. Hope YOU have the money for the lawsuit and all the fines you will be getting.

  7. Unlike you I believe in equal rights, have you never seen a bike go the wrong way up a one way street? You argument is the epitome of ridiculous and all it's going to lead to is an increase in taxes…taxes that you will one day complain about much like you're doing now

  8. @RUserious2….take a look in the mirror if you want to see the epitome of ridiculous. How you got from a public safety issue to equal rights and increased taxes is mind boggling. How the hell do you know what I do or do not believe in? Just proves my point about you being ridiculous and downright nasty. Maybe you should use your imagination to come up with your own screen name.

  9. I applaud Councilor Lamattina's legislation. Between bicycles and segways riding up and down Commercial St. sidewalks (where I have lived since 1978 and raised a family and I myself ride a bike IN THE STREET) , I am tired of giving way when I am walking on the sidewalk to segways as well as bikes. Sidewalks are for pedestrians.

  10. I've seen Segway tour riders barely able to control their rides. How much training can they be getting? I hope Boston Giders loses their lawsuit.

  11. I have been a resident of the North End for 15 years. I strongly support the Segway regulations. This morning, I was forced off the sidewalk for the third time by Segway users. To add to the annoyance factor, the speed of travel and lack of care shown by the Segway tour companies in the North End creates potentially dangerous conditions for all pedestrians, particularly young children and older folks. In particular, large groups of inexperienced Segway riders do not mix well with the narrow sidewalks and heavy pedestrian use found in the North End.

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