June 18, 2005

Do Segways increase or decrease air pollution?

As the New York State Legislature considers whether to classify the Segway as a motorized vehicle (like a car) or a a "personal assistive mobility device" (like a wheelchair), environmentalists are taking the position that the Segway increases air pollution by troubling pedestrians, pressuring them to switch to using cars.

I switched from walking to work, which I did for fifteen years, to driving, in part because I got quite annoyed by people bicycling on the sidewalk. Bicyclists at least know they are wrong, but rationalize that they need to protect themselves from cars. But Segways supposedly belong on the sidewalk, yet on most sidewalks, if two people are walking together, there is not enough room for the Segway to pass them. The thing clearly seems capable of knocking you down. There don't seem to be enough of them right now to matter much. They simply haven't caught on. (Because you look like a dork riding one?) People are tolerant of carelessly driven motorized wheelchairs -- which I see a lot of -- but insensitively driven Segways are going to drive pedestrians crazy.

Which is an environmental problem.


Dave said...

The worst dange on a sidewalk is slow walkers.

Hate them. Want to knock them over. If they're disabled or obese they should be in a car, not clogging up the sidewalk as if it were an artery full of fatty deposits.

Sorry, a pet peeve. Walking is an exercise, to be done briskly, to get from point A to point B.

Ann Althouse said...

And what about slow talkers? Either spit it out or shut up!

Ann Althouse said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ann Althouse said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ann Althouse said...

Ack! Typos! I guess I like to type quickly too. And then not proofread before impulsively posting.

I'll spare you my added ripostes.

I note that Dave's got a typo there too.

One thing I hated about NYC (where I lived for 10 years before moving to Madison) is the way people would barrel down the sidewalk and just bump right into you. Many times people coming toward me would knock me with their shoulder and not even apologize. It was just the way to walk. And I was a fast walker too. That made it hurt more. It really made me feel sad about people and what this world was coming to.

Dave said...

Sorry for the typos.

As for NYC, I was born here, and therefore learned to walk literally at the hands of my father and mother, both of whom were also native New Yorkers.

The barreling down the sidewalks is still the same (mighty unpleasant, I assume, for the tourists...)

Two anecdotes:

1) When I was in boarding school, we had to do a three-mile run in 30 minutes. The coach said "I don't care how you get here: the bus is leaving in 30 minutes." I figured that I could easily walk a ten-minute mile and did. That's the New York walking style.

2) When I was in Tucson, I was walking along the road (there are no sidewalks) from one strip mall to another, about a mile down the road. Half way through my walk, a cop car pulled up alongside me, asking if anything was wrong. I looked at the guy, confused, and said I was just walking a mile up the road. He looked at me and said "let me guess. You're from New York. See, we don't get a lot of walkers here."

And people wonder why this country is so obese.

Ann Althouse said...

Dave, what I'm objecting to about fast walking isn't the speed but the loss of control. Whether I'm living there or visiting from afar, don't bump into me! And if you do, apologize! That's just basic civilization. Distaste for tourists is irrelevant.

Drethelin said...

I fully agree: re courtesy. I have no objection to someone legitametely bumping into me in a hurry, but atleast mutter a "'scuse me" or a "sorry".

Be said...

I wish that we had the courtesy of NYers (at least) here in Boston. As we are known as the Italy of the US inre driving, and have the worst pedestrians and cyclists, too - I was horrified at the invention of the Segway. It's another thing for me (a pedestrian because I can't afford a car and I sustained a severe injury as a cyclist) to worry about on the sidewalks.

Be said...

As for slow talkers (and I'm one of 'em): I'd rather be measured, slow and correct than quick, clever-sounding and wrong.