10 Segway Fails

“Segway will be to the car what the car was to the horse and buggy.” — Dean Kamen, quoted in Time on December 2, 2001

“Ginger” (the Segway’s code name) hasnt quite lived up to the hype, but she has found a place in our world.

Rent-a-Cops (ie Paul Blart) and real cops can use them to cover their beats quicker.  Tourist groups are found riding them on “walking” tours on segways in cities like Chicago, Paris, Atlanta, Berlin and Budapest.

Jeff Bezos was thrilled at the prospects as was Steve Jobs. Jobs went so far as to say “Ginger would be as significant as the PC and that cities would be architected around it.”[source]

Not quite.

I must admit my one and only ride on the segway was bucketlist-worthy.  I loved it and I can see how people get caught up in the excitement around it.

In the end, there just isn’t enough of a mainstream gap to be filled.

So, on the 10th Anniversary, here are 10 Segway Fails:

1 Segway Inc owner, Jim Heseldman, drives Segway over a cliff and dies.
Call it irony, fate or simply an accident: in Britain, the owner of Segway died (in 2010) when he apparently drove one of the devices off a cliff near his home, The Associated Press reported.[NYT]

2 George Bush falls
Despite being hailed as a stable device, the President of the United States still found a way to face plant in 2003.
george bush falls2.jpg

3 Banned from sidewalks
While the early heros may have said this would revolutionize city architecture, current city bylaws didn’t like the segway.  It was deemed to bulky and too fast for sidewalks and many municipalities actually banned them in 2002.

4 Michael Kwan falls
Not to be outdone by George Bush (see #2), 5 years later blogger Michael Kwan would do his best to re-enact the tumble. (fall at 5:30)

5 Paul Blart: Mall Cop
If the segway was ever going to catch on, it needed something other than Kevin James rocking a ‘stache as a spokesman.  By 2009, the punchline was already written – the segway wasn’t going to be taken seriously.

6 Segways on trampolines
Darwin loves this idea.

7 Ride on water
If Jesus invented the Segway, it would have done this

8 Not for hills
Segways run about $5000.  So of course you’re going to take it to the steepest part of your yard and repeatedly roll it down a hill. Darwin digs this too.

9 It’s not a dirtbike
Supercross champ James Stewart takes a segway for a ride through a course.  Two wheels on dirt have never been more boring.

10 Extreme Adrenaline
I dont know if I would call riding a segway on snow my idea of “extreme adrenaline”, but this video from a resort in Italy (that also boasts Europe’s longest zipline) sure tries to sex it up.



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  1. December 9, 2011

    I’m not sure if I should be proud or ashamed that I made the list. 😉 As a side note, the Flip cam from that video is still perfectly functional and continues to be used to this day!

  2. […] Anybody who possesses a tool with which to write can write a list. Just hammering out a list and passing it off as an article is kind of a cop-out. It’s ok for a few quick reads but – unless of course the whole premise of your blog is to provide lists – when half the posts in your blog are lists are you really offering the reader value and variety? Come on, why not prove to the world that you can write in paragraphs rather than bullet points; that you don’t think a segue is a transportation device for geeks and security guards. [Just for fun: 10 Segway Fails] […]

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