Crackdown on Segway tours? Yes!
When I was a regular commuter, I used to think that I’d die fighting my way through the old Fresh Pond rotary in Cambridge. But the rotary got lights, rendering it much less perilous, and I don’t drive that much anymore. So I’ve had to pick a new transportation-related way in which I might well go.
Sure, jaywalking would have been the easy one to declare, since it’s something I do so regularly and, yes, zestfully.
But I chose to go with getting run down by some gawking tourist, speeding along the sidewalk – my sidewalk- on a Segway.
Then, miraculously, the City of Boston passed an ordinance banning them from using sidewalks – my sidewalks. And restricting them to a speed of 8 m.p.h., vs. their breakneck, break (my) ankle speed of 12.5 m.p.h., which doesn’t sound like all that much, until one’s barreling down at you, manned by some knucklehead gazing up at the golden dome atop our state house. Or – worse – by the teenage son of the dome-gazing knucklehead, who could give a rat’s arse about our precious golden dome, but who does wants to show off his cool, Segway cruising prowess. Which does not, I assure you, include looking out for little old ladies using the sidewalk for what they are intended for, i.e., walking.
Anyway, this is one banned in Boston I can really get behind.
Since the ban went into effect a few weeks ago – prohibiting Segways from parks and sidewalks – the City has been issuing tickets. And Boston Gliders has racked up 50 of them. At $500 a pop, they’re confronting a bill of $25K.
“We’re going to fight the tickets, we have to,” said Joe Ingram, Boston Gliders’ vice president of marketing. “We just are feeling very, very singled out.” (Source: Boston.com)
Well, maybe if Boston Gliders had operated a tad more responsibly to begin with – staying off sidewalks in the more crowded areas, limiting the speed at which its customers whizzed around, monitoring its gawkers better – the City of Boston wouldn’t have had to enact the law.
But, of course, they didn’t.
Instead, when they started getting some pressure to curb their customers, they went ballistic about how anti-business Boston is.
And, of course, it’s the narrow sidewalks that tourists want to go down, like the one that goes by Old City Hall. My sidewalk, in a manner of speaking, in that I do walk it every day.
In truth, this sidewalk – on School Street - is so narrow that, in full tourist season, there isn’t even room for pedestrians, let alone a bunch of yahoos on Segways. There are plenty of times when I’ve had to step into the street to get passed a group of tourists examining the marker – cagily embedded in the narrow sidewalk itself – the shows where Boston Latin School, the first public school in the country, was first located. Or listening to a tour guide dressed in ye olde colonial garb point to the Parker House and note that both Malcolm X and Ho Chi Minh worked there as dishboys.
(Hmmmm, come to think of it, now that the Segways are verboten, that’s probably how I’ll die: clipped by a speeding taxi while stepping off a very narrow sidewalk, into a very narrow street, to avoid some slow-mo or no-mo tourists.)
As for Boston Gliders,
The company has continued its tours, although it now stays off sidewalks except when it is unavoidable, Ingram said. The ordinance has forced their tours onto busy streets, slowing traffic and eliciting angry shouts from drivers.
At least those drivers are protected by their cars. Not so us poor beleaguered pedestrians with no protective coating of metal or fiberglass between us and a Segway on the move.
It seems to me that there are plenty of places where there Boston Gliders could run Segway tours.
No, it wouldn’t take the tourists by all those swell Freedom Trail sites. But those are best seen by foot, anyway. This isn’t called a walking city for nothing, people.
How about they tour down the Commonwealth Mall, which is leafy and flat, has a lot of monuments to look at, and has sidewalks that are wide enough for a parade of single file Segways and pedestrians.
Maybe the Esplanade would be a good place. That seems to accommodate walkers, runners, bikers, and roller-bladers – okay, maybe not those roller-bladers – all simultaneously enjoying a stroll-jog-ride-blast-through on the Charles River.
And there’s the new Harbor Walk which, at least when I’ve been on it, doesn’t seem to be overcrowded with pedestrians. And seems wide enough for walkers and Segways.
But Boston Gliders, it seems, would rather play the aggrieved party.
Whine, whine, whine.
Maybe if they’d paid more attention to the behavior of their customers, and the almost completely negative impact they had on their neighbors, those Segways wouldn’t have ended up banned in Boston.
Personally, I’m just as happy they have been.