On Wednesday New York Governor Eliot Spitzer vetoed Senate Bill 1353-A, legislation which would have created a regulatory framework for the safe and proper use of Segway PTs within the State of New York. The bill received overwhelming support in both the Senate (55 Yes to 6 No) and in the Assembly (100 Yes to 30 No).
We are disappointed with this decision but look forward to working with the Spitzer Administration along with the Legislature in the coming months to determine what considerations can be made to achieve access for Segway PTs in the state of New York.
We have reviewed the veto statement and feel that more than half of the points could have been easily addressed in S1353A or can be in a future bill. These points included age parameters for riders, helmet requirements and other common sense guidelines as to when and where the Segway PT can safely operate. Segway Inc. supports these points.
The other components of the bill, those that would have allowed Segway PT access to roadways and shoulders (except highways), dedicated bike lanes and paths, and other multi-use pathways, came about through a culmination of 5 years of discussions with New York legislators, advocacy groups, municipal and state organizations, as well as other stakeholders. During the coming months we will work with the Governor’s staff to identify where and how they feel Segway PTs should operate.
A number of organizations have been actively opposing the passage of this bill, as highlighted in yesterday’s Newsday article. At Segway, we find it disappointing that organizations that work to reduce global warming, pollution and congestion are unwilling to acknowledge the impact the Segway PT can have on all these areas. The Segway PT uses rechargeable electric batteries to operate. Electricity is still one of the most efficient forms of power readily available today. The electricity the product consumes while it recharges does create emissions during the production process. Yet, using the Segway PT creates 14 times less greenhouse gas per mile than the average American car (93% reduction). The emissions attributed to the product are expelled where the energy is produced, and not where it is operated, helping to reduce pollution in urban centers.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that half of the 900 million automobile trips Americans take each year are of five miles or less and transport only one passenger—trips perfectly suited to the Segway PT. At Segway, we are working to encourage people to use our products to replace short-distance, single-occupancy car trips, not replace walking.
America’s dependence on automobiles is exacting an ever-higher cost on our environment, our health and our quality of life. Advocates are right to promote the increased use of mass transit and the advantages of walking, as they are all measures that will help society make a positive impact on the environment. Limiting the access to other eco-friendly transportation options such as the Segway PT, hybrid cars or alternative-energy devices will hinder the overall progress towards this goal. Segway PT is one alternative that has a real chance to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and substantially increase energy efficiency.
Where there are opponents, there are proponents, and we know that there are many Segway PT owners in New York state that have been working hard to help legislators and the public understand the benefits of the Segway PT. We appreciate your efforts and thank you.
If you’d like to express your viewpoints about the outcome of this bill, write to Governor Spitzer’s office. Stories about how owners rely on the Segway PT will help demonstrate there is a constituency that supports the use of this innovative technology.