What a difference a year makes.
Australia has quickly gone from being one of the last OECD countries to permit use of Segway Personal Transporters (PTs) in public spaces to a place where you can see Segway Tours, Segway Police patrols or individuals legally riding in most states in the country.
This excellent article in The Courier Mail covers the changes already in place in Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and Australia Capital Territory, including what activities are permitted in each state at this time – and what further changes are expected to follow in the future. Remaining states are expected to catch up soon, as their tourism, policing and commercial sectors count the economic and environmental costs of being left behind in the 20th century.
Segway PTs were legalised in most US states between 2002-2005 (yup, that would be 12 to 14 years ago), and in many EU nations 2003-2006. Extensive use worldwide over the past decade has demonstrated just how well the Segway PT integrates seamlessly and safely into pedestrian environments. Which is no surprise because the device was carefully and specifically designed to do just this. When Queensland Transport Minister Scott Emerson approved the use of Segways in the state in August 2014, The Courier Mail reported:
“I don’t see why Queensland should be behind all those other parts of the world. We are not a nanny state.”
Responsing to the out-of-touch and increasingly quaint-sounding (so-called) “safety concerns” raised by detractors when the rules changed in Australia, Brett Walton, director of Segway supplier Simply Moving Australia, said Segway tourism had been hugely popular overseas since the personal transporters first arrived on the market in 2001:
“Paris is a city of 14 million people and they have Segway tours running through the day and night. If it can work in Paris, it can work in any city here.”
Not only is Paris in the most densely populated city in the world, in 2003 it became the first EU country to begin city Segway Tours.