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how to ride a segway

What's got 2 wheels, great balance, and runs on battery power? It's you, tooling around town on a sweet new Segway. Transportation doesn't have to be cumbersome or gas-guzzling, and with a Segway you're well on your way to taking control of the road, riding greener, and the ultimate advantage: getting to your destination safe and sound.

Is it hard to ride a Segway?

First-timers and old pros alike can relish the fact that Segways were built for all kinds of riders. Your Segway requires no special skills (in fact, it takes care of the balancing act all by itself), and virtually anyone can use it — so long as you can stand on 2 feet for an extended period of time.

How does it work?

A Segway is safe and efficient in both design and functionality. It balances you by applying forces to the ground in the direction of the lean. If you lean forward, the Segway applies motor torque to the wheel to push it forward, bring you upright, and balance you. When you lean back, it applies reverse torque to slow and balance you.

Each Segway comes equipped with two settings: "beginner/turtle" mode and "standard" mode. "Beginner" is set to 6 mph and "standard" is designed to go up to 12.5 mph (about equal to a 5-minute mile).

Are there weight or age requirements?

Yes. Namely, a rider must not be less than 100 lbs. or more than 260 lbs. The total weight of any handlebar cargo plus any additional attachments hanging from the handlebar should be 10 lbs. at most. The Segway company recommends that riders be over the age of 16.

How do I ride a Segway safely?

It might seem like a silly question, but there's a lot more to smooth Segway sailing than wearing a helmet and crossing your fingers.

Do your homework

Read the user manual meticulously and seek instruction from someone who is qualified and experienced in operating Segways.

Have a spotter when you first climb on and practice (someone you can trust to catch you).

At the very least, you should absolutely wear a helmet — additional safety gear includes knee padding, elbow padding, and wrist guards.

If you're cruising around at night (that is, if it's legal to do so in your neighborhood), wear reflective clothing so that people can see you easily. If you're into night rides, always add lights to your Segway so that you can see and be seen.

Ride carefully

It might seem obvious, but always keep both hands on the handlebars — don't try to maneuver with one and eat an apple with the other.

Avoid abrupt maneuvers when riding. Although your Segway can sense your movement and aims to rebalance you, it might not be able to fix your balance if you move forward or backward too suddenly. Likewise, always lean into turns and take them slowly.

Though you might have seen a cop do it in a movie once or twice, don't ride backward on a Segway. That's meant only for getting out of a tight spot or turning around, never for actual travel.

Know your Segway

One of the most important rules to follow when operating a Segway: don't ride on roads! Your Segway wasn't meant for the road — it's incredibly dangerous and mostly likely illegal. Wherever permitted, cross roads with caution.

This one is simple: avoid speeding. Your Segway will actually warn you if you're going too fast, using a "Speed Limiter" — it pushes the handlebar back as a way of slowing you down. Pay attention to this and stop leaning forward.

Similarly, get to know the "Stick Shake Warning." It activates when you go too fast backward or push the Segway past its limits, such as going over bumpy terrain, down a slope, or speeding up or slowing down too quickly. If it doesn't stop after you slow down, stop and get off. It could be telling you that your battery packs are low or that there are maintenance issues that need to be addressed.

When you're done riding, stop your Segway before getting off of it. Don't let go of a Segway that's still in balance mode or it will continue to move without you and could potentially hit someone or something.

Looking for even more ways to protect you and your ride? Get a free Segway insurance quote today through Esurance!

Related links

Small steps for a smaller global footprint
Get handy tips on how to lower your carbon footprint.

5 things I learned from riding a Segway
Wondering what it's like to glide around on a Segway?

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