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Brain & Nervous System Health Center

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Serious Injuries From Riding Segways Increasing

Injury Data Released Shortly After Company Owner Dies in Segway Accident

Falling Off Segways a Problem

Researchers say all of the injuries they discovered were sustained by riders simply falling off the machines, sometimes after striking an inanimate object.

“Segways are pretty new to the marketplace and it’s often only as products become popular that the risks involved become apparent,” McKay says. “We urge the Consumer Product Safety Commission to assign the Segway a unique product code and collect data on injuries sustained from riding the Segway so we can develop a clearer idea of the scope of the problem.”

Meantime, she says, all Segway riders should wear helmets and “pay close attention to what is in front of and around them when riding.”

The researchers say that the median age of injured Segway riders was 50, and 30 of them were women. Also, 29 of the victims, or 70.7%, lived outside the Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland area. One was a police officer.

The Segway runs on a battery-powered motor. The operator stands upright on a platform and leans forward to go straight ahead or speed up and returns to upright or leans slightly backward to slow down or stop.

Top speed is about 12 miles per hour.

They are used by some police officers, airport security personnel, and some commuters, as well as by groups on tours in various locations.

Dailida of the Segway company tells WebMD that standard recommendations for users include being familiar with their terrain, because most accidents involve contact with some sort of obstacle. More than 75 dealers sell Segways in the U.S., he says, and the devices also are on the market and the streets in Europe and South Africa.

Models come in various prices, ranging from $5,000 to $6,600, Dailida says.

He tells WebMD that “people who knew him [Heselden] are just shocked at what happened.”

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