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Segways: can they hurt you?

By John Singleton on August 16, 2017

If you’ve been in the downtown or historical districts of any major Virginia city, you’ve seen them. You know, those seemingly gravity-defying, self-balancing scooters called Segways. You ride a Segway standing up, and control it by leaning forward to go forward, and leaning back to stop. It really is an ingenious piece of technology.

Segway tours have popped up all around the country, including Virginia. There are currently Segway tours operating in Fredericksburg, Leesburg, Norfolk, Richmond, Virginia Beach, Yorktown, and of course, Washington, D.C. These tours are a good way to see part of an area because they allow you to cover more ground than you could on foot.

The Segway’s top speed is 12.5 miles, and it was deemed “safe” for operation in urban pedestrian areas when invented in 2001. So why were there two recalls? And why do some “gliders” (as riders are called) end up in the hospital?

What could go wrong?

Like any vehicle, Segways can cause serious injury. There are no reported consumer deaths due to Segway accidents, but in the ultimate irony, an owner of the company was killed when his personal transport device rolled off a 30-foot cliff. A report in the US National Library of Medicine in 2015 stated that Segway and scooter-related injuries are seriously “underreported.” However, we do know that common Segway-related trauma includes the following:

  • Broken bones, especially broken wrists
  • Head or facial injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • “Disfiguring” injuries
  • Severe cuts and scrapes

Statistics show that one out of every four Segway injuries requires a trip to the hospital. The majority of those trips to the hospital are because of head injuries. That’s why it’s so important for Segway gliders to wear a helmet.

When in doubt, protect your head

If you are renting a Segway or are taking a supervised Segway tour, that company should supply you with a helmet. Head injuries can have long-lasting effects that might not be noticed right away. Repeated head injuries have even been linked to dementia later in life, so take no chances.

If you have been injured while riding a Segway, or if you’ve been injured by someone riding a Segway, you may be entitled to payment to cover your medical bills, lost wages, permanent injuries, and more. Call GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys for a free consultation at (804) 413-6777.

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