Mountain View sets regulations on Segways


City Transportation and Policy Manager Joan Jenkins said the council ultimately decided to prohibit Segway-type scooters on all sidewalks throughout the city but allow them on trails and park pathways for a two-year trial period.

"They wanted a reevaluation at the end of the two years or sooner if need be," Jenkins said.

Permits will be needed for commercial operation of Segways, such as tour groups.

The issue of where to allow the two-wheeled, electric, self-balancing scooters came before the council at the beginning of the year, when a Mountain View resident who rides his Segway to commute to his job at Microsoft via the Stevens Creek Trail expressed concerns on the issue, Mayor Tom Means said.

Park rangers were apparently harassing Mountain View resident Richard Roeder, telling Roeder he could not ride his Segway on the trail, according to Means.

Roeder, who told the mayor's office he uses the scooter for short trips to reduce gas emissions, argued that state law has changed to define the as a pedestrian and not a motorized vehicle. Roeder argued that should grant him access to trails and sidewalks unless prohibited by the city.

Means said cities have been allowed to create their own definition of motorized vehicles, but since the state had updated its laws the council considered Roeder's situation.

"We decided to see if the ordinance is outdated," Means said. Means said about four other residents who ride Segways have shown interest in the matter.

City Council members forwarded the issue to the Parks and Recreation Commission, the Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the Council Transportation Committee for review.

The Parks and Recreations Commission suggested the council temporarily allow Segways to ride on park pathways and trails but not sidewalks. The Council Transportation Committee suggested a similar plan for a two-year trial.

The Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee suggested the council also allow Segways on most sidewalks for a two-year trial period.

The issue of where to allow Segways also raised the issue of bicycles in the city, according to Means, who said complaints about bikes on sidewalks have been made.

The matter went before the council Tuesday night, according to Jenkins.

Current city law allows bicycles on city sidewalks except in business areas, such as downtown, Jenkins said.

The council forwarded the bike matter to the Transportation Committee for discussion. Jenkins would not speculate if the council would amend the law prohibiting Segways on sidewalks to include bicycles.

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