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Glitch puts Segway back in the shop

About 6,000 of the high-tech scooters are being recalled, because a problem with their power could cause riders to fall off, the company says.

Segway is recalling about 6,000 of its high-tech scooters, because a problem with their power could cause riders to fall off, the company said Friday.

The recall affects all Segway Human Transporter (HT) models sold to both consumers and corporations between March 2002 and September 2003. It includes the "p" series, which was being sold in certain test markets.

According to a statement released by the company, the scooters may not deliver sufficient power under certain operating conditions, particularly when the batteries are low. The power slow-down could happen if the rider "speeds up abruptly, encounters an obstacle, or continues to ride after receiving a low-battery alert," according to Segway.

The power glitch could allow the rider to tumble, according to Segway. The company said three people had reported falls, one of which led to a head injury that needed stitches.

The problem can be fixed with a free software upgrade, the company said. Owners can get more information by calling Segway at 877-889-9020.

The scooterlike Segway devices, formerly known as Ginger, have generated enormous amounts of press attention but have not taken the transportation world by storm. While there have been some purchases by police forces and a test program by the Postal Service, there have also been concerns raised about whether the devices belong on public rights of way.

The company said in a separate statement Friday that it has "very high confidence in the safety of the Segway HT, and this software upgrade further enhances the safety margins of the machine."