First “Segway law” passed 10 years ago today in USA

The Segway Personal Transporter (PT) was unveiled more than a decade ago. Just two months later the world’s first new law defining and regulating the worlds first self-balancing ‘human transporter’ was passed. Within just a few years, more than 50 more jurisdictions would follow.

New Hampshire, USA was first to create a vehicle category called an Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Device (EPAMD). The US Federal government had already decided that this type of small, electric personal transporter would not be considered to be nor regulated as a motor vehicle (which is the category used for cars, motorbikes, scooters, trucks, etc). This enabled each US state to regulate this type of vehicle as a consumer electronics device that would be required to meet their EPAMD laws when used on public roads, footpaths, beaches, parks and trails. EPAMD laws generally do not apply to use on private property or on federal property.

Dozens more US states passed EPAMD over the next two to three years, and today almost every US state has done so (here is a list with links to each state’s legislation). Numerous other jurisdictions worldwide have codified EPAMD-type devices into their transport laws – particularly across the European Union. The UK is the ‘odd man out’ in that part of the world, where the ~200 year old 1835 Highways Act currently prevents their use by UK citizens on roads and footpaths there. Ironically, a visitor from the EU who brings their EU-legal Segway PT to the UK is permitted to use it.

More recently, the US Federal government has classified the Segway PT as a mobility device under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), so disabled users in every state can use a Segway PT for mobility (even if that state does not have an EPAMD law). Provinces in Canada and various EU nations have also identified the benefits of the Segway PT for use by disabled persons, and have made special provisions.

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