MP risks arrest for Segway use

"It's either Segways or Strangeways," says member of Parliament protesting the ban on the two-wheeled transporters on U.K. roads.

MP Lembit Opik braved arrest on Tuesday as he teetered along on a Segway at a cool 12 mph outside the Houses of Parliament.

The member of Parliament for Montgomeryshire was willing to be hauled away by police in his protest against the ban on the two-wheeled transporters on U.K. roads saying: "It's either Segways or Strangeways."

Segway
A member of Parliament is testing the ban on Segways on U.K. roads. Segway

Opik, who can regularly be seen weaving along the country lanes on his Segway Personal Transporter around his home in Newtown, Wales, believes the machines will be legal on U.K. roads by Christmas.

He argues the one-person gyroscopic vehicles could transform city centers--replacing pollution-spewing cars with the electric vehicles--saying their top speed of 12 mph is 4 miles per hour faster than the average car in London's city center.

Opik believes the fact his action went unpunished will inspire other Segway owners nationwide to defy the ban and take to the streets without fear of arrest.

About 500,000 Segways have been sold worldwide and they are used by about 600 police forces. Around 2,000 are thought to be in the U.K. where they cost about 4,300 British pounds ($7,550).

Opik said: "The Segway Personal Transporter...is a revolutionary leap forward for travel, which virtually does away with short-haul journeys in the car.

"I use my Segway for many journeys, for example to travel the 7 miles from Newtown to the nearby village of Abermule.

"The only barrier is the Department for Transport's vagueness about whether they are legal or not.

"I was prepared to be arrested, but if they do not arrest a group of MPs in high-visibility jackets then how can they arrest anyone."

Opik pledged to raise the issue with transport minister Jim Fitzpatrick and to put forward a parliamentary question asking for them to be given the same classification as a bicycle on the road.

He said: "Let the Segway reduce congestion and pollution on Britain's roads."

The Department for Transport says it would be "difficult" for scooters such as Segways to meet the standards required to be classified as road vehicles.

Nick Heath of Silicon.com reported from London.

 

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