When used correctly, Segways present a clean, safe, and enjoyable means for getting around, and keeping safe is really about using common sense and keeping an eye out for potential hazards. Here are some suggestions on how to ride a Segway safely.
Learn how to operate the Segway before attempting to use it alone. Practice with people who know Segways before heading off on your own. At the very least, have a spotter when you first climb on and practice.
Wear appropriate clothing. At a minimum, wear a safety helmet. Other protective gear to consider wearing includes:
- Knee and elbow padding, wrist guards.
- Eye protection.
- If you’re using the Segway at night (presuming it is legal to do so wherever you live), where a high visibility jacket so that people can see you easily. If riding at night, always add lights so that you can see and be seen.
Keep a firm hold on the Segway at all times. Always have both feet firmly aboard, and both hands holding the handlebar. Don’t try carrying anything in one hand and maneuvering with only one hand. Use a backpack or a cargo holder if you need to carry stuff.
Avoid abrupt maneuvers when riding a Segway. Although the Segway is able to sense your movement and aims to re-balance you, this mechanism may not be able to rectify your balance if you move too abruptly forward or backward.
- Don’t turn a segway too fast. Fast turns can cause you to lose control; always lean into a turn and take it slowly.
- Don’t stop or start a Segway too fast.
- Don’t ride backward. This ability is meant only for maneuvering out of a tight spot or turning around, not for travel.
Avoid speeding. The Segway will warn you if you’re going too fast, using a “Speed Limiter”; it pushes the handlebar back as a way of slowing you down. Heed this and stop leaning forward.
- Heed the Stick Shake Warning. This warning is set off when you ride too fast backward or you push the Segway beyond its limits, such as going over rough terrain, down a slope, or speeding up or slowing down too rapidly. Slow down. If it doesn’t stop after slowing down, stop and get off as it could be telling you that your battery packs are low or that there are maintenance issues with the Segway.
- Indoors, keep to a slow walking pace, stay in the center of corridors as much as possible, give way to every person, and don’t take the Segway where it’s not permitted.
- Outdoors, aim to keep to a fast walking pace, again giving way to pedestrians and being very careful when going around corners.
Keep to solid, even ground.
Segways are not designed for all-terrain moves. Stick with the paved surfaces they’re meant for.
- Any abrupt terrain change can cause problems for your safety, such as riding from grass to pavement, speed bump, etc. Do this slowly and with care.
- Step off a Segway and use the power assist mode any time you are unsure of how to handle the terrain or area that you’re crossing.
- Don’t ride on roads. Not only is the Segway not made to be a road vehicle, but it’s dangerous and may also be illegal. Cross roads with care, use power assist to walk it across if safer.
Maintain a safe distance between you and the handlebar. Leaning on the handlebar can reduce your ability to control the Segway properly.
You are moving faster than pedestrians and some pedestrians won’t even hear your approach. Always be on the alert for avoiding them, and be ready to call out if anything goes wrong before you can brake.
- Generally, keep to the right of the sidewalk in countries with right side drive and keep to the left of the footpath in countries with left side drive, unless your pedestrian traffic norms are different. Heed all local rules about use of sidewalks.
Watch out for obstacles.
If there are things in the way of your Segway, they have the potential to knock you off or create a collision. It’s up to you to see them, which can be difficult if you’re distracted by sightseeing or chatting. Common objects that cause problems include park benches, light poles, signposts, and trees
- Avoid holes, curbs, and steps when using the Segway. A Segway can easily trip up on such obstacles.
- Don’t take your Segway down a steep slope. Doing so will cause it to unbalance, and it’s very likely that you’ll be thrown out.
- Don’t ride a Segway on any surface that is slippery, such as ice (including black ice, be aware!), snow, wet grass, oily or greasy areas, or wet floors.
- Don’t ride over loose items such as branches, pebbles, rocks, broken glass, etc. These can cause the Segway to lose traction and tip you out.
Stop your Segway before getting off it. Don’t let go of a Segway that is still in balance mode or it will continue to travel away from you and could potentially collide with someone or something.
- Know your height. You become taller on a segway; keep this in mind when going under doorways, bridges, and other overhanging structures!
- If using Segways for work purposes, ensure that all personnel are adequately trained in its use and safety.
- Deal with faults immediately.
- Segways have a minimum weight requirement which prevents children from riding them. Be sure to adhere to this.
- Read the segway rider’s guide thoroughly before using the segway.
- No wheelies or other stunts. A one-wheel only Segway is a Segway about to tip over and take you with it. If you’re keen about stunt riding, buy a bike.
- Segways are not designed to carry more than one person; don’t give anyone else a ride on a Segway.