What’s wrong with the Segway?


I saw two people riding Segways on Sunday. They weren’t part of a larger group, so I can only imagine they rented, leased or bought the strange contraptions on their own. I immediately felt a disdain for these people, and later, I wondered why I felt that way. After all, I’ve never had a Segway nor wished for one, so what’s it to me?

On further reflection, I realized several of the reasons why I hate the Segway:

– A person riding one takes up much more space than someone on foot or on a bike. This pisses off other pedestrians who have to make room for the hulking devices on the sidewalk.
– Riding a Segway uses up energy, since it has to be recharged. Thus, it’s less environmentally-friendly than walking or biking.
– Because people are passively riding the vehicle (or whatever you call it), they’re not getting the exercise benefits of walking or biking. This contributes to obesity and all the other ills that arise from it.

From what I understand, the Segway is generally considered a commercial failure. I don’t know enough about the business case to say whether the factors I mentioned played any significant role in their sales troubles. But it certainly stands to reason that the Segway people should look into issues like these when deciding how to market and refine the product. Since the Segway has such a high profile, the opinions and ideas generated by non-customers — especially in terms of what they don’t like about the product — may actually be more valuable than feedback from loyal buyers.