Dick Cheney, former Vice President of the United States of America, suffered an Achillies tendon injury in 2002. This condition can take up to a year to heal, during which time the patient has greatly reduced mobility.
In late 2002 Cheney became one of the first people in the world to adopt a Segway PT as a mobility device. We first reported on this here, quoting a BBC article lamenting the relatively low take-up of Segway PTs in UK compared to the US – and how the quality of life of individuals, business productivity and public safety were missing out. Cheney’s story was also reported in TIME Magazine.
Cheney used a Segway PT extensively during his long injury period, to move about this office and around the White House doing his job as the second most powerful person in the world at the time. The ABC News article “The Feud, Dick Cheney’s Humor, and Colin Powell on a Segway in the West Wing” reports of an instance where Colin Powell “borrowed” Cheney’s PT.
With the Segway PT delivering the kind of personal productivity and capability that old-fashioned 20th century mobility devices cannot offer, it is no surprise that US states defined the Segway PT as an Electric Personal-Assistive Mobility Device in enabling legislation.
Here in New Zealand the Segway PT has become an ever-increasingly-popular solution for individuals who require mobility assistance. Indeed, our very first customer in 2003 was mobility impaired, and this helped us to fully realise the incredible utility of the Segway PT (and it also underlined how cleverly it had been designed – useful to just about everyone – whether disabled or not – because the Segway PT incorporates the principle of Universal Design). Today, this sector represents half of all sales in this country. As an example of the range of conditions for which the Segway PT improves quality of life, today an individual with Motor Neuron Disease purchased a Segway PT.
New Zealand has one of the higher (if not the highest) per capita ownership of mobility scooters in the world, and also the 3rd highest per capita ownership of Segway PTs (excluding North America). And this is just another great example of how Kiwis are great at spotting a fantastic new technical solution to a problem – then adopting it quickly and widely to obtain the benefits. Good on ‘ya, mate!