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Ordinance Would Limit Segway Sidewalk Traffic in Chicago

As the weather warms each year in Chicago, the city draws tourists from all over the world. If you've lived in or visited Chicago in the last decade or so, then you may have strolled the sidewalks of downtown or the lakefront and seen tour groups riding Segways. The guided tours are one way for visitors to experience Michigan Ave., Navy Pier, the parks and other attractions, but there is concern that the increasing number of vehicles on the sidewalks threatens the safety of riders and pedestrians.

At a recent City Council meeting, an ordinance was approved that would limit the number of Segways in a single tour. As of now, Segway tours sometimes include as many as 30 vehicles, and Segway riders and pedestrians can be dangerously crowded on the sidewalk. To improve safety and prevent injuries, the new ordinance would limit each Segway tour to no more than eight vehicles.

The ordinance would also limit the speed of Segways. If there are more than three vehicles in a guided tour, then the maximum speed for tourists would be 8 miles per hour, and the tour guide's speed would be limited to 12 miles per hour. If the ordinance is violated, then the tour guide would be fined and subject to liability.

Alderman Brendan Reilly, who wrote the ordinance with the help of the Chicago Park District and the Police Department, pointed out that state law already limits the speed of Segways, but the law isn't being enforced.

The new rules would also prohibit Segways from being used to pull trailers and billboards, and no Segways would be allowed on the forthcoming Navy Pier Flyover.

Whether you're a pedestrian or a Segway rider, you have the right to a reasonably safe sidewalk. Segway accidents can lead to serious injuries, and if you find yourself in such a situation, then it is important to speak with an attorney about holding all responsible parties accountable.

Source: Chicago Sun-Times, " City puts brake on Segway tours," Fran Spielman, May 28, 2014

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