Segway Owner Dies in Segway Crash

Monday, September 27, 2010

Jimi Heselden, who owned Segway, Inc.
 until his death on Sunday.
Call it irony, fate, or simply an accident: in Britain, the owner of Segway died over the weekend when he apparently drove one of the devices off a cliff near his home.

In West Yorkshire, police reported that James W. Heselden, 62, who took over control of the company earlier this year, accidentally steered the Segway off a 30-foot cliff and into a river while riding on his estate, about 140 miles from London. The exact cause of death is not yet established, the police said.

The Segway Human Transporter came to market in 2002 as the invention of Dean Kamen, an entrepreneur from New Hampshire who made his fortune after he created the first insulin pump for treatment of diabetes. At the time, Mr. Kamen said that the Segway would have an impact on society similar to that of the personal computer.

A Segway
The person-mover, priced at about $5,000, uses sophisticated gyroscopic technology as well as electronics and some software controls.

The rider essentially steers one by leaning fore and aft, and aiming to the left or right by pulling the handlebars; the company calls this “LeanSteer” technology. The Segway’s top speed is about 12 miles per hour, the company says.

In Britain, the Segway cannot be piloted on public roads or paths but only on private property. But they are legal in several European countries. In the United States, Segways are approved for limited use in many states, The Telegraph reports.

Celebrities, including Jackie Chan, adopted the Segway as an alternative transportation device for a time, although the Segway image took a hit in 2003 when President George W. Bush fell off of one.


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