Community Police & Fire

Segway Accident at Christopher Columbus Park

We received two email witness accounts and confirmed with Boston Police that a serious Segway accident occured on Sunday where a novice rider fell while on a Boston Gliders tour traveling through Christopher Columbus Park. The incident report puts the time at 6:25 pm on Sunday, June 19, 2011. One witness describes the accident scene as follows:

I saw a woman taken away in an ambulance after a Segway accident on Atlantic near Christopher Columbus Park. She was a member of the tour and was taken away on a stretcher, on a backboard, in a neckbrace, bleeding. The tour leader seemed to have disappeared from the scene. He said he didn’t know anything and was just there to pick up the Segway, which he quickly made off with. Nobody from the “tour company” stayed behind to see if their injured customer was OK. An officer arrived on the scene, so I left.

Boston Police said that the woman fell off the Segway and no citations or charges were made against the tour company.

Last week, Boston City Council passed strict regulations banning Segway use from sidewalks and parks. The council ruling would also require a safety briefing and training for tour riders.

Two days later, Boston Gliders filed a lawsuit challenging the new rules in US District Court. At the council hearings, the North End-based tour company said there have been no accidents on their Segway tours. Boston Gliders recently moved into the old gas station site on the corner of Commercial and Hanover Streets in the North End.

11 Replies to “Segway Accident at Christopher Columbus Park

  1. If the Boston Gliders tour guides disappear after an accident and pull an "I know nothing" routine it's easy for the owner to claim there have been no incidents. This is the reason the court should dismiss the lawsuit and the City Council Regulations go into effect immediately.

  2. Not surprising that they are still using the sidewalks and parks despite the regulations prohibiting it. I was walking on the sidewalk on Commercial Street on Sunday and we were asked by a Segway tour leader to allow them to pass. We were trying to figure out why they weren't on the street. It was only a matter of time before someone got hurt.

  3. The owner of Boston Gliders filed a lawsuit against the City Council regulations so those regs recently passed cannot go into effect yet.

  4. I saw the aftermath of another incident a week or two ago in front of the Boston Harbor Hotel. An older man down on the ground awaiting medical assistance. I did not witness the actual accident, so can't say whether he was part of a tour group or a pedestrian that got clipped. There was a Gliders tour group surrounding him though, all on Segways with the name of the company plainly marked on them. Now I have to wonder if this incident too went undocumented.

  5. Not surprised this happened. Several Segway tour riders I've seen have had major problems controlling their Segways. And you really have to stay out of their way on the sidewalks. I'm no fan of bikes on sidewalks either but even the average bike rider has more ability to get out of a tight spot and avoid hitting a pedestrian than these new Segway riders seem to have.

  6. Boston Gliders has filed a lawsuit, but it does not prevent the law from taking effect. The judge denied their motion for a restraining order on the same day it was filed. The press coverage today and yesterday have incorrectly stated that an injunction is in effect, but the docket in the federal court case says otherwise.

  7. I also witnessed the accident and what I saw was a different account of what was described in the article. The tour leader, a young man, immediately called 911 and waited for the ambulance to arrive. He briefed the paramed on what happened and made sure the tourist was all set before he left the scene. There was another member of the company that came to retrieve the Segway…different than the leader of that tour. The young man who was leading the tour acted responsibly and made sure that the tourist received proper treatment.

  8. I witnessed a Segway accident about 2 years ago, at the Strada 234 corner of Causeway and N. Washington streets. I was sitting in my car on Commercial Street, first in line waiting for the light, so I had a clear view. A Segway tour group rounded the corner from Causeway to the Charlestown Bridge, all on the sidewalk. I watched them with interest, because I had recently heard the proposal for expansion of the Boston Gliders office on Commercial Street and the business' testimony that its Seways were safe and accident-free. The sidewalk there is not even, is very narrow, and is encumbered with traffic signal poles and other equipment. A Segway driven by a middle-aged tourist tipped over just after turning the tight corner. It fell over toward the street in what seemed to be slow-motion, but that may be just an impression from my horror and anticipation as it unfolded. She landed hard, and I thought for a moment that she would roll into the traffic lane (we all know that particular traffic lane, with cars quickly turning right onto Causeway Street). What amazed and concerned me most was that the tour guide, about three Segways in front of her, looked back but never got off his Segway. Others in the group, all customers, I assume, came to her aid, but only after what seemed an eternity. All seemed to be unable to comprehend the situation and to be in fear of making any move, given the new ride experience before them.

    The traffic light changed, and there was nowhere for me to go but on my way through the intersection. The woman appeared to be OK but in some pain, and she was still sitting on the sidewalk as I passed. The tour leader was speaking into his cell phone, still on his Segway. The actions of the tour guide and the other customers may have been according to instructions and appropriate; I don't know. It's clear, though, that accidents do happen and can have tragic consequences. The rider was lucky in this case.

  9. A group of riders just came through the North End Park by the bocce courts, so they are still using the parks. It was a crowded scene, too, with a reunion and little league practice going on.

  10. Just before the accident, about a dozen segway riders were cavorting at the end of Long Wharf, rolling their machines over the bas relief sculpture and making it impossible for anyone else to use that space, These seqwayers are a menace to everyone on foot, and they create wear-&-tear on our monuments and pathways.

  11. Last week I had to step aside for a line of Segway riders cruising through Christopher Columbus Park. They were going as fast as bikes. These motorized vehicles belong on the street, not in a park.

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