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  • Segway: how another grand delusion comes to an end.

    Posted on OscarCP Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums Outside the box The Junk Drawer Segway: how another grand delusion comes to an end.

    • This topic has 16 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 4 months ago.
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      • #2275060 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        The Segway company has announced that will stop producing the gyro-stabilize electric scooters as of 15th July of this year.

        https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/jun/23/segway-transporter-production-ends

        Excerpt:

        Segway, which boldly claimed its two-wheeled personal transporter would revolutionize the way people get around, is ending production of its namesake vehicle.

        The Segway PT, popular with tourists and police officers but perhaps better known for its high-profile crashes, will be retired on 15 July, the company said in a statement.

        Segway was for some time a super-secret project code-named “strawberry” that only a few captains of industry were allowed to know what it was all about, and they cryptically, but gushingly, praised as “the start of a new era”, “something that will change the way we live” and more of that kind of sentiment, categorically declared by Bill Gates, Steve  Jobs, and others.

        It turned out to be an electric scooter, and an expensive one at that. With the “cool” touch of being gyroscopically stabilized, much as passenger ships and gunships are to keep them from swaying uncomfortably in rough seas, or preventing their guns being accurately aimed at chosen targets.

        Pretty soon it became clear to all but the enthusiasts that this was a dangerous addition to modern urban life. While they might have had some niche uses inside large warehouses for workers to move around speedily and in “cool” and trendy shops with plenty of floor space for attendants to glide along as if on magic carpets, it was clear that people were using them on sidewalks, where the silent running scooters will pass by common-variety pedestrians, coming at them from behind with the ensuing, heart-attack-inducing scary surprises for the latter and, sometimes, through improper maneuvering, even running them down. City-wide bans on running the scooters on sidewalks came into effect after enough grief had been caused with them, but that did not stop the problem well enough. Stronger outright bans to use them anywhere on streets and public places followed.

        It was not just the Segway scooters, but several of the biggest companies of industrialized nations jumped into this apparently great business opportunity with electric scooters of their own. Now most of these have been largely banned and then dumped by their disappointed owners here and there, even into rivers and lakes. Thus ends another golden dream that was too good to last, some might say. Well, not I:

        https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/electric-scooter-bans-world/index.html

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

        • This topic was modified 5 months ago by OscarCP.
      • #2275164 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        Electric scooters are very much on the rise, especially in Europe, where the roads are more pedestrian / bike friendly.

        cheers, Paul

        • #2275286 Reply
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Dear Paul T : “Electric scooters are very much on the rise, especially in Europe, where the roads are more pedestrian / bike friendly.

          This looks like an interesting and, to me at least, worrisome development I was not aware of and would definitely like to know more about. Perhaps you might kindly provide some relevant references? (URL links would be much appreciated.)

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

          • #2276211 Reply
            doriel
            AskWoody Lounger

            Greetings from Europe!
            The truth is, that electro bicycles are really starting to be very common thing here!
            It is starting to be wide-spread type of transport here. Price of these bicycles is about 1000 USD, but you can have used one for 500 USD I would say.
            Its Ecological, its fun to ride uphill 🙂 and you are exercizing while riding. There are very little downsides for me. You see elderly people driving like 20 mph uphill and you are [dumbfounded]? 🙂 Even I understand, that distances in America are larger (between cities etc.) I highly recommend one of these machines.

            Even professionals do use them 🙂 Like Fabian Cancellara and others did.
            (source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mechanical_doping)
            UCI then came with the solution how to find electro engines hidden in bikes. They looked at each bike with the thermo camera. Unfortunatelly, they did this on the start instead of at the finish. On the start – engine is cold, so nothing was discovered. Oh UCI, please never change.

            Segways never made it to general public. Too expensive and lets say dangerous too (its very heavy). I tried it, but its too big to ride it on sidewalk and too slow to ride on the road.

            … in Europe, where the roads are more pedestrian / bike friendly.

            I must little bit disagree, roads are much narrower here, there is just not too much spare space.

            Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

            HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

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            • #2276323 Reply
              OscarCP
              AskWoody Plus

              Doriel: if by “electric bicycles” you mean those similar to the old-fashioned type of motor-assisted bikes: regular bikes with a small motor (then gasoline fueled and electrically powered now) then I quite agree they are a good thing to have around, as opposed to electric scooters, be them those with inline wheels, or at both sides of the riding platform, as the segways.

              Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

              • #2276503 Reply
                doriel
                AskWoody Lounger

                Yes, I meant “old-fashioned” type of bicycles with small electrically powered engine and small battery.
                Its cheap, its simple, its ecological and its great for cities. Its bad in the rain, but it can help to reduce emissions of cars and trucks and it can also help to eliminate traffic jams.

                Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

                HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

                1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2281156 Reply
            mn–
            AskWoody Lounger

            I don’t have statistics but I’ve seen several of this kind in the neighborhood.

            (Sorry, better image at https://www.rally.fi/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Pyrkij%C3%A4-E500-syv%C3%A4tty-1024×1024.jpg )

            Then again this specific area has an above-average proportion of elderly and disabled people, which would indeed be the demographics that benefit the most from these… and what with public transport discouraged due to COVID-19 …

            Top speed 15 km/h and all that. Looks a lot easier than when they were trying to get somewhere on crutches.

            • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by mn--. Reason: See if this image looks more informative
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            • #2281164 Reply
              OscarCP
              AskWoody Plus

              15 km/h is faster than normal walking pace and the motor might be helpful when going up moderately steep grades. Or really step ones, if one could use the motor while also pedaling. The ability to disengage the motor and pedal instead should make it possible to move at a faster pace, as with a regular bike. Although this rises one question: Do these motor bikes have more than one gear?

              The gas-powered motor bikes that were relatively common in my younger days were not meant to be used just by old people, as many used them for the convenience of doing so, regardless of their age.

              Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

              • #2281200 Reply
                mn–
                AskWoody Lounger

                The one I linked is a pure motor-only scooter, with an armchair-like seat. No pedal power on that one, would be mostly pointless with the target demographic and not compulsory in that vehicle class (Finnish L1e-A)…

                And that one guy has a dog that’d really prefer to get more speed from the scooter 😉 looks sort of impatient every time…

                The “electric-assist bicycle” is a bit of a complicated thing legally and gets lumped with “light moped” (which is power type agnostic) pretty much. Also varies even within the EU. Number of wheels typically isn’t actually relevant.

                Having multiple gears is apparently not a legally significant detail though. Some have, some don’t.

                A mostly “normal” bicycle, but having motor assist available only when pedaling and at speeds under 25 km/h and with less than 250 W of engine power means it’s legally a bicycle, doesn’t need registration, insurance or license. You’re allowed to pedal faster if the motor is off 😉 (“Regular pedelec” in some contexts if electric)

                The next class (Swedish “klass II”, Dutch “snorfiets”, Finnish “L1e-A.”..) is still legally capped at 25 km/h while under power but doesn’t need to go that fast, pedaling (or even the existence of pedals) not compulsory, engine power up to 1 kW, typically but not always needs insurance but no license. If you have pedals you can go faster while the motor is off. This is the usual class of vehicle for elderly/disabled/etc nowadays… as well as the Segway-like types unless they’re too fast.

                Then the third type… including the “S-pedelec”… motor assist of up to 1 kW at speeds up to 45 km/h. That’s the tricky one. In some countries (Finland for example, “class L1e-B”) these require registration, insurance, roadworthiness checks (with approved tires, brake lights and so on), driver’s license and all that; in some other countries (Denmark, say) just being 15 or older and wearing a helmet is sufficient for even these.

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      • #2275258 Reply
        Cybertooth
        AskWoody Plus

        I remember the mystery created around the Segway and the media hype leading up to its unveiling. When it was finally revealed, my first and only reaction was:

        Really?? This is what they say is so revolutionary???

         

         

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        • #2275293 Reply
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          This business with electric scooters brings to mind something I have watched more than a few times, being a favorite episode in a favorite show of mine:

          In the much celebrated and incredibly long-running British TV series “Midsomer Murders”, about detective work in an English county, where people who live in nice old houses and are also very keen on murdering each other, a famous inventor and local celebrity is murdered. Ensuing investigation reveals than he was said to have been working on a great invention and his work was being backed financially by several wealthy investors that were looking forward to a major breakthrough like those the inventor had been able to come up with in the past and, when this happened again, any time now, their investments in his work would earn, consequently, a tidy fortune for each one of them. But nobody, not even the investors, knew what the invention was until the very eve of the murder.

          Further investigation reveals that: (a) the famous investor, already a very old man, was in the process of loosing his marbles and (b) the invention, that had been delivered neatly packaged to each major investor just before he was murdered, was discovered, when unwrapped, to be a nice looking scooter, accompanied with a note pointing out how this would revolutionize human transportation.

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2275306 Reply
        Bill C.
        AskWoody Plus

        Electric scooters are very much on the rise, especially in Europe, where the roads are more pedestrian / bike friendly.

        cheers, Paul

        Segways were never affordable enough for the general public.

        Unfortunately in the US rental scooters (both manual and e-scooters), are now on city sidewalks. They are more hazardous than the bike messengers of the 1990s as the weave and dodge (usually) pedestrians. The ‘entitled’ users leave them littered about after use, thereby blocking pedestrians and entrances to building. They run down less agile people and fail to alert pedestrians as they glide up behind and pass close and knock folks.

        The ‘littered about’ can be addressed by requiring docks as the end of use, but as with the bike shares the docks will be ignored, as the companies drive around picking them up.

        Here is the US the users are too clueless, unlike Europe.

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      • #2277678 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        …and the electric scooters are still around and even likely to become a pandemic/global warming long-lasting side-effect:

        https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200608-how-sustainable-are-electric-scooters

        So: ride one or walk the street sidewalks in fear of getting run over by one? That is the question, isn’t it?

         

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

      • #2277699 Reply
        Charlie
        AskWoody Plus

        I’ve always loved to ride regular pedal bicycles since childhood until now.  As I get older, adding electric power to help with hills is something I’m considering.  I was never very much impressed with the Segway. It was too expensive, you couldn’t sit on it, and it was a bit noisy too.

        Group L

        • #2277741 Reply
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          I have not seen the electric powered bikes. Does  one take a regular bike and attaches a small electric motor to it that can also be disengaged (without removing it) if either necessary, or if one so wishes, to then continue pedaling in the usual way?

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

          • #2281134 Reply
            Charlie
            AskWoody Plus

            I think you can do it either way – add your own motor, or the better way IMO, is to buy a motoized bike that already has everything done and sized right.  You can disengage the motor and turn it off.  It has been a while since I saw an article about them so I’ll have to look into it some more.

            Group L

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      • #2282350 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Here is an in-depth article from the well-regarded US publication “Consumer’s Report” (of which I am a decades’ long subscriber) on electric-motor assisted bikes, the current situation with them in the USA, including the pros and cons of  buying and using such a bike, both practical and legal:

        https://www.consumerreports.org/electric-bikes/electric-bike-reviews-e-bike-testing/?EXTKEY=EE073IBAC&utm_source=acxiom&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20200721_cromc_engagewkly

        It clearly follows from this article that whether it is a good idea to buy one of these bikes depends on what one needs it for and where one lives. But mostly the tone is positive concerning the advantages of having such a bike.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

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