Gardaí Segway into the future


Pedestrians in Dublin may soon have a new motorised vehicle to look out for, although they should be able to get out of the way of these fairly easily.

Two Segways have been donated by the Dublin City Business Association (DCBA) and will be presented to Assistant Garda Commissioner John Twomey next Wednesday.

Initially the vehicles will only be used in Dublin city centre. A Garda spokesman said if they were a success they could be used more widely.

It is hoped the machines will provide increased visibility and mobility for gardaí in the main business and shopping zones.

The two-wheeled vehicle are operated by a standing driver and have a top speed of about 19km/h. Average walking speed is 5km/h.

The machines are already in use in airports and shopping centres in other cities.

In January, Segway said its machines were being used by 1,300 police and security agencies. The city of Chicago police department has a fleet of 150 of the vehicles.

However, not all countries are ready to embrace the machines.

Segways are illegal in the UK except on private property where permission has been granted.

When asked whether he would consider providing Segways for the London police force in 2009, mayor of London Boris Johnson said the machines cannot be registered for UK roads as they don’t fall under European Community Wide Vehicle Type Approval or the Motorcycle Single Vehicle Approval Scheme certificate.

In addition, the British Highways Act of 1835 bars them from footpaths.

He also included “other concerns cited by the MPS,” such as training costs, limited application, height issues when moving through doorways, credibility concerns, insurance risks, protective clothing, a single supplier (no competition) and a "lack of clarity on how it enhances overall policing and demonstrate added value."

The Segway website says its vehicles can improve response times in shopping centres, particularly when the centre is closed.

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