Regulating the Segway out of existence?

I’ve searched but none of the other threads on the Segway seemed to have quite this take on it, so…

The other night, I listened to the TV news about the Segway, and I was impressed. Somewhat expensive, and there are a few questions left to be answered (especially for those of us in cold climates), but it seems to be a fine little piece of machinery, and sure to be a boon to anybody who needs to get around.

Or will it be allowed to be?

The reason I ask is because on the same newscast, various officials from the city and province (Toronto, Ontario) were interviewed as saying “Well, as a motorized vehicle, it won’t be allowed on sidewalks,” and “As a motorized vehicle, it will have to be licensed and insured, and the operator may have to be tested, as a car driver is tested and licensed.”

(Or something similar–sorry I cannot be more exact, but I had the TV news on in the background while I was attending to other things. Thus my remark about listening to the TV news.)

To be fair, the provincial official did admit that nothing was certain until the vehicle was inspected and certified for use in Ontario. And I suppose we could argue the meaning of the term “motorized,” but to the best of my knowledge, not even bicycles are allowed on Toronto sidewalks, so that argument probably would not apply.

But the officials’ response got me thinking. What if, no matter how well intentioned, this kind of attitude regulates the Segway out of existence? I remember the same kind of attitude when mopeds came out in the mid-1970s, and it seems that pretty much the same thing happened. It seemed to here in Ontario, anyway; I can’t speak for other jurisdictions.

Have your local and state/provincial authorities said anything on this issue? Based on their remarks, do you think the Segway will be regulated to the point where it no longer makes sense to own and use one?

The folks behind the Segway are already lobbying to keep it from being classified as a vehicle – the United States Federal Transportation Department has already ruled that it’s not a car, and thus doesn’t need insurance and all that other stuff.

What will really be interesting is to see how the auto industry tries to squash the Segway before it hits the consumer market. Because you can bet your bottom dollar they see it as a threat to them…