When we think of motor vehicle accidents, the small, touristy Segway rarely comes to mind. Described by its inventor as "the world’s first self-balancing human transporter," the Segway Personal Transporter can travel up to 24 miles on one battery and hits speeds up to 12.5 mph. It is often ridden on the sidewalk, or even off-road, by people who do not wear helmets and don’t consider the Segway a motor vehicle so much as a toy.
That’s where many of the problems start. Like other vehicles, Segways can cause catastrophic injuries if used improperly or if other motorists fail to watch out for them.
According to an article in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, George Washington hospital admitted more Segway accident victims than pedestrian accident victims between 2005 and 2008. Injuries included brain injuries, serious facial trauma and broken bones / fractures. Most of the Segway accidents occurred when riders ran into immobile objects and fell off their Segways.
Southern Connecticut State University Segway Accident
Earlier this month, the victim of one particularly traumatic Connecticut Segway accident won a $10 million verdict against Segway and its employees. The accident happened at Southern Connecticut State University, where Segway hosted "the Segway Challenge" to raise money for the Special Olympics.
Segway employees created an obstacle course in the university’s student center. A student was asked to try the obstacle course while blindfolded and riding a Segway. Segway and its employees did not bring a helmet for the student to wear. The student fell off the Segway and hit his head on the floor, suffering a life-altering traumatic brain injury (TBI). In addition to expensive medical bills, the victim was unable to complete college due to the Segway accident.
Segway instructs its employees and customers to wear helmets at all times; yet the university student was allowed to ride a Segway blindfolded and without a helmet. The Connecticut accident seems unusual, but even without the blindfold the danger is still present. Many people choose to ride Segways without helmets, putting themselves at risk of serious accidents and TBIs. Even with a helmet, Segways can be dangerous. In 2010, Segway’s owner, Jim Heselden, was killed after riding his Segway off a cliff.
If you ride a Segway, take precautions to keep yourself safe. If you are careful and another person’s negligence causes your Segway accident – or your Segway malfunctions – contact an experienced personal injury attorney.