Ministry of Transportation / Ministère des Transports
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Frequently Asked Questions - Segway™ (Human Transporter / Personal Transporter) Pilot Test

The Segway™:

  1. What is a Segway Human Transporter (Segway Personal Transporter)?
  2. How does a Segway work?

The Pilot Test:

  1. Why are we piloting this vehicle?
  2. What is the intent of the pilot test?
  3. During the pilot, where can a Segway travel?
  4. When did the pilot start?
  5. When does the pilot end?
  6. What happens after the end of the pilot?

The People:

  1. Who will be able to use Segways?
  2. Why is there an age restriction?
  3. Why was the pilot not broadened to allow all members of the public to use Segways?
  4. I have a disability that affects my mobility. How do I find out if I can ride my Segway on the sidewalk in my municipality?

The Law:

  1. Why did the province not exempt Segways from municipal bylaws banning motor vehicles from sidewalks, paths and trails?
  2. What requirements will a person need to meet to operate a Segway during the pilot?
  3. Would Segway operators have to follow the same laws as other pedestrians?
  4. What are the fines associated with offences related to Segway use?
  5. Will Segway riders be required to satisfy safety requirements?
  6. Why don't all Segway riders have to wear helmets?
  7. Will there be some type of identification on the device to let people and police know it is being used for the pilot?

The Segway™

Illustration of a Segway

1.  What is a Segway Human Transporter (Segway Personal Transporter)?

The Segway Human Transporter, also known as the Segway Personal Transporter (commonly referred to as a "Segway"), is a self-balancing, electric-powered transportation device able to turn in place and designed for one person, with a top speed of 20 km/h.

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2.  How does a Segway work?

  • The Segway contains five gyroscopes that allow it to balance at a standstill. You ride the Segway by standing upright on the raised platform between two wheels. If you lean forward, the Segway goes forward and, if you lean back, the Segway slows down and stops, and can also go backwards.
  • There are sensors in the platform that detect subtle shifts in weight and respond to them accordingly.
  • On the older models (Human Transporters), rotating the left handgrip steers the Segway. The newer models (Personal Transporters, released in mid-August 2006) are steered by leaning in the direction in which you wish to go.

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The Pilot Test

1.  Why are we piloting this vehicle?

  • The Ministry of Transportation is committed to removing and preventing barriers for people with disabilities in Ontario.
  • We also recognize the potential of the Segway as a vehicle to assist the police and public service workers.
  • The pilot will allow us to gather data on the Segway and its impact on pedestrian safety and Ontario's current traffic mix.

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2.  What is the intent of the pilot test?

To develop and set appropriate operating requirements and rules of the road for Segway use, and to determine, under controlled circumstances, the appropriate use of the Segway.

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3.  During the pilot, where can a Segway travel?

  • Under the pilot, Segways will be permitted on many public roads (wherever pedestrians and cyclists are permitted).
  • Segways can use the sidewalk if one is available, provided that municipal by-laws do not prohibit their use on the sidewalk (note that municipal by-laws that prohibit using motorized vehicles from a sidewalk will also prohibit Segways unless the by-law makes an exception for Segways).
  • Segways may be used on roadways if a sidewalk is not available or if a by-law prohibits them from sidewalks.
  • If a Segway is being used on the roadway, it must travel on the shoulder, or if there is no shoulder, then on the right side of the roadway close to the edge of the road.

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4.  When did the pilot start?

The regulation permitting a Segway pilot took effect October 19, 2006.

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5.  When does the pilot end?

The pilot will expire on October 19, 2018.

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6.  What happens after the end of the pilot?

  • Prior to the end of the pilot, the ministry will assess the data and information gathered regarding on-road Segway safety and will make a final decision on whether to continue to allow Segways.

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The People

1.  Who will be able to use Segways?

Individuals aged 14 and older with a disability that impairs their mobility, Canada Post employees delivering mail door-to-door and police officers will be able to use Segways.

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2.  Why is there an age restriction?

An age restriction has been recommended by safety evaluations conducted on Segway use in other jurisdictions.

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3.  Why was the pilot not broadened to allow all members of the public to use Segways?

  • The pilot has been extended without any modifications. By extending the pilot, we are preserving the use of Segways as a useful device for people with mobility disabilities and that can assist the police and public service workers.
  • Interested individuals will still be able to use Segways on private property.

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4.  I have a disability that affects my mobility. How do I find out if I can ride my Segway on the sidewalk in my municipality?

Persons with disabilities interested in using a Segway should contact their local city councillor or municipal public works department to determine what the by-laws are regarding motor vehicles on sidewalks in their community, before purchasing one of these devices.

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The Law

1.  Why did the province not exempt Segways from municipal by-laws banning motor vehicles from sidewalks, paths and trails?

  • Municipalities are best qualified to manage the mix of pedestrians and vehicles on municipal sidewalks.
  • This regulation preserves local decision-making but allows municipalities the option to pass by-laws to allow Segways on the sidewalk and in other pedestrian areas.
  • In municipalities where Segway use is banned on sidewalks, Segways will still be able to operate on the roadway.

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2.  What requirements will a person need to meet to operate a Segway during the pilot?

  • The pilot is open to police officers for the purpose of law enforcement, and also to Canada Post employees for the purpose of delivering mail door-to-door
  • Individuals14 years of age and older with a disability that impairs their mobility can also use Segways.
  • Individuals under the age of 18 will be required to wear a safety helmet when operating a Segway.
  • Only the devices known as the Segway Human Transporter or Segway Personal Transporter, manufactured by Segway Inc., are eligible for the pilot.
  • The Segway must be equipped with front and back lights and a bell.
  • The following are not required to operate a Segway:
    • Driver's Licence
    • Written test
    • Vehicle registration or plate
    • Insurance.

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3.  Would Segway operators have to follow the same laws as other pedestrians?

  • Eligible users can operate their device on the sidewalk, where available, unless municipal by-laws prohibit the operation of motor vehicles on sidewalks.
    • When Segways are being used on sidewalks, Segway operators would be subject to the rules of the road that apply to pedestrians under the Highway Traffic Act.
    • The operator must restrict his/her speed to walking speed (police are exempt).
  • Where sidewalks are not provided or where the operation of Segways on sidewalks is prohibited by municipal by-law, a Segway can be operated on the shoulder of the road as close to the right edge of the shoulder or if there is no shoulder, on the right side of the roadway as close to the edge of the roadway as possible.
  • Segways are prohibited from highways where pedestrians and bicyclists are prohibited by provincial regulation and municipal by-law.
  • In addition:
    • Segway operators must yield to pedestrians and bicycles, if there is not enough space to safely pass;
    • If using the roadway, Segway operators must make left turns by crossing at the crosswalk as a pedestrian.

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4.  What are the fines associated with offences related to Segway use?

Segway operators would be liable to a fine of between $250-$2,500 if convicted of violating the requirements of the pilot (age restriction, helmet use, etc.).

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5.  Will Segway riders be required to satisfy safety requirements?

  • Segway operators under 18 years of age will have to wear a bicycle helmet, and all Segways operating on public sidewalks and roads must be equipped with a bell and front and rear lights (the rear light may be attached to the person).
  • Segways operating on sidewalks will also be limited to travelling at a walking speed.

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6.  Why don't all Segway riders have to wear helmets?

  • The helmet requirement for Segways is consistent with Ontario's current bicycle helmet legislation, which requires cyclists under 18 to wear helmets.
  • Segways also travel at lower speeds than most cyclists, and will be limited to travelling at a walking speed on sidewalks.

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7.  Will there be some type of identification on the device to let people and police know it is being used for the pilot?

No; only Segways operated by the police, Canada Post employees or individuals with mobility disabilities are eligible to participate in the pilot. Anyone else operating a Segway on roads or sidewalks will be automatically in violation of the pilot and subject to charges under the piloting authority.

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See also: New and Alternative Vehicles: Information Update