Segway tours in Jesmond Dene this spring?

A proposal to license the use of Segway “personal transporters” in Jesmond Dene is being considered by Newcastle City Council, it has been confirmed.

Photograph: Runneralan2004

Ouseburn Parks manager Seamus Tollitt has told JesmondLocal that the proposal is for a business to operate guided tours through Jesmond Dene as well as Heaton and Armstrong Parks. The tours of six to eight Segways would be guided by a leader at the front, and another guide at the rear.

It is currently illegal to ride Segways on roads and in January a Barnsley man became the first person in the UK to be successfully prosecuted for riding a Segway scooter on a pavement. However, it is legal to ride them “off road”.

Many cities in the US, and increasingly Europe, offer Segway tours to tourists. Dublin and Glasgow are among the latest, and a Segway dealer called Lakeland Segway has begun offering tours in the Lake District.

The Segway is a “silent”, electric, two-wheeled, self-balancing machine which can travel as far as 24 miles on a single battery charge. It was invented in the US by Dean Kamen and following much hype was launched in 2001.

The rights were bought a year ago by UK company Hesco Bastian. But in a tragic accident last September, the millionaire owner of Hesco Bastian died after falling from cliffs while riding a Segway.

The top speed of a Segway is 12.5mph and Segways are legal for use on pavements in more than 30 American states and in Portugal, Sweden, the Czech Republic and some German cities. But some regular users of the Dene have expressed concern that their use could put at risk the health and safety of pedestrians.

Tollitt says representatives from the various “friends of” groups that look after the interests of Jesmond Dene and the Ouseburn parks were invited to a taster session a couple of weeks ago and while many were initially skeptical, their response to the idea was more positive by the end of the session.

Councillors of the wards surrounding the parks have been consulted about the proposal and, according to Tollitt – who declined to name the company involved – tours could begin as soon as the spring if the business making the bid is able to demonstrate that appropriate insurance and health and safety assessments and measures are all in place. It is understood the business is also interested in conducting Segway tours along Newcastle Quayside.

 

7 thoughts on “Segway tours in Jesmond Dene this spring?”

  1. Carlton Reid says:

    Good piece but it’s not quite right about “off road” use. Segways are not allowed on any UK highways, including footpaths, bridleways etc.

    Segways are only allowed to be used on private land, with the landowner’s permission.

    Lord McColl of Dulwich currently has a private members’ bill in the House of Lords to amend the Highway Act of 1835 to allow use of Segways, but there’s little chance of it succeeding as opposition has been raised in many quarters.

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/lbill/2010-2011/0046/2011046.pdf

    Not all of the footpaths in the Dene are marked on the definitive map as rights of way. There is a proposal from Newcastle City Council to allow Segways to be used on some of the permissive paths within Jesmond Dene.

    A company has been formed to offer tours of the Dene on Segways. The company has bought a number of these £5000 machines and demonstrated them to the Friends of Jesmond Dene the other day.

    It will be up to Newcastle City Council to grant permission for these “motorised” tours to take place.

    Next on the agenda? Land Rover tours?

  2. Ian Wylie says:

    Thanks for clarifying that, Carlton. What’s the Friends of Jesmond Dene view on whether these tours should be granted permission?
    We’re still waiting for the council to give us a comment… will chase today

  3. Ian Wylie says:

    By the way, I’ve just noticed that Google Adsense has, very cleverly, pulled some Segway Tour ads into the ad box at the bottom of this page! So I ought to point out that an advertisement on this site does not mean that JesmondLocal endorse those products or services.

  4. Carlton Reid says:

    I don’t know what the ‘official’ Friends view is. This will be likely discussed at the next committee meeting.

  5. Mark says:

    … “a Segway dealer called Lakeland Segway has begun offering tours in the Lake District” This has been around for two years or so, and again is on private land in the Lakes.

  6. Martin stephenson says:

    Ian and Carlton
    Can you get my details from Seamus and contact me please.

  7. Alfred Mcqueen says:

    Sounds like a great idea to me. It will bring more people to the area and give the dene a real point of difference.

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