Segway Human Transporter Recall

Modified on 2009/10/14 21:46 by admin
Segway Human Transporter (HT) or Personal Transporter (PT)
Manufacturer: Segway, Inc. of Bedford, New Hampshire

About Segway, Inc.

Segway, Inc. is headquartered in Bedford, N.H., and distributes its products worldwide to more than 250 retailers in 61 countries.

The following information about the company is included in Segway’s press releases posted on their Web site:
“Segway Inc. develops intelligent motion control technology know as Segway® Smart Motion™ that is embedded in the light electric transportation devices it manufactures, such as the well-known Segway® Personal Trasporter (PT). Segway Smart Motion provides intelligent motion control that enables a device to monitor its environment, control its motion and make decisions about how it should move.”
“Segway markets a full line of zero-emissions Segway PTs for sidewalk and cross-terrain use that deliver impressive energy efficiency — equivalent to 450 miles per gallon/191 kilometers per liter of fuel.”

How Segway Human Transporters Work

To operate a Segway Human Transporter, the rider simply stands on the platform located between the wheels and leans slightly forward or backward to move it. There is also a steering wheel to guide the vehicle.

Special software located inside the vehicle controls the motor and gyroscopes, giving the Segway its unique balance. Segway HTs are mean to travel at a maximum of 12.5 miles per hour.

History of the Segway Human Transporter

First available for sale in 2002, with much media fanfare, the Segway was introduced as a vehicle of the future that would eventually take the place of fuel-burning vehicles in urban landscapes.

Segway customers include 150 police departments throughout the world, and are reported to work well on sidewalks or cross-terrain. Segway PTs or HTs sell for about $4,000 to $5,000.

More recently, however, the Segway has received criticism from pedestrian groups who hope to have the motorized scooter that can reach 12.5 miles per hour banned from sidewalks, where pedestrians average 2 to 5 miles per hour.

Some of these groups are seeking to put legislation into place that bans Segways from sidewalks. Others argue, however, that the vehicles are not fast enough to operate on roadways with cars, trucks and bicycles.

Recall Information

On September 26, 2003, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Segway LLC announced a voluntary safety recall of 6,000 Segway Human Transporters (HT), also know as Personal Transporters (PT), due to reported malfunctions in the motorized, self-balancing scooters’ software.

Some riders reportedly incurred injuries during falls while using the Segway HT or PT when the batteries were running low.

Segway LLC offered free software upgrades to alleviate the problem.

Then on September 14, 2006, the company announced a second voluntary recall of the Segway PT or HT products—this time totaling 23,500 units sold since March 2002.

This time the problem was an unexpected reverse torque that caused the scooter to go in reverse even when the rider is leaning forward.

Some reports say that the company had six reports of injuries to the head and wrist due to falls resulting from the reverse torque problem.

The problem is attributed to a software glitch that may be corrected by taking the vehicle to a local service provider who can install a software update.

Safety Concerns

The dangers associated with Segway Human Transporters have been reported to occur in the following scenarios:

1. When the vehicle’s battery is low, especially when the “low power alert” light comes on, the Segway may slow down and cause the rider to fall suddenly.

2. When the rider quickly increases the Segway’s speed or attempts to go over an obstacle.

The manufacturer, Segway, Inc., says that these problems may be easily remedied by upgrading the software. The company also reminds Segway owners to follow the instructions for using the vehicle to avoid falls or injuries.

Segway contact information: Visit, or call (800) 750-6557 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET weekdays.

Reported Injuries and Lawsuits

NetworkWorld WebBlogs mentions a possible fatality that resulted from a man who reportedly fell into the Las Vegas Motor Speedway while riding a Segway HT.

See Also

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