Only a little over a month has passed since Norway lifted its longstanding ban on Paul Blart's preferred mode of transportation, the Segway, and someone has already slipped into a pair of bad idea jeans and taken one of the godforsaken things out for a spin while inebriated. After terrorizing Oslo residents for an unspecified amount of time, the individual was apprehended by police.
The incident is believed to be Norway's first (suspected) Segwaying-while-under-the-influence-related arrest.
While the results of a blood test taken from the allegedly sloshed individual have yet to be publicly released, Oslo police are firm in the belief that alcohol is behind the Segway driver’s reportedly “strange behaviour” and inability to maintain his balance while operating the self-balancing two-wheeled electric vehicle.
Says an already-wary Oslo traffic police chief Finn Erik Grønli of the blitzed-on-a-Segway incident which took place in the trendy Tjuvholmen neighborhood and was witnessed by several (unscathed) pedestrians: “The man is charged for his driving. The case will be investigated further.” He adds: “I hope that we don't have many drunk people on Segways now. These [vehicles] are to be regarded the same as other vehicles when it comes to drink [sic] driving. An accident can result in injuries, both for people and the vehicles.”
Segways and professional boxing (outlawed since 1981) were both legalized in the squeaky clean Scandinavian nation on July 1. The former was previously banned in Norway due to safety concerns. Now, anyone over the age of 16 can tootle around town on a battery-powered scooter-mabob capable of reaching speeds of 12 miles per hour — they're technically classified as mopeds in the country — provided that the driver is donning a helmet and is in possession of proper registration, insurance, and a valid license.
While Segways have been subjected to ridicule and extended eye-rolling in many countries including the U.S. where they're primarily used by police tourists, cops, and the clueless, Norwegian officials ultimately decided to and lift the ban on the devices — the Google Glass of the early aughts — in hopes that they’d help to "revolutionise traffic patterns" while providing folks with a newfangled, less-polluting way to get around.
While the recent arrest is a first for Norway, boozed-up Segway-driving incidents have been reported elsewhere including in a place where there are more than a few residents of Norwegian decent: Minnesota.
Mark Greenman of Medina, Minn. was nabbed not once but three times from 2010 through 2013 for operating a Segway while inebriated (he was on his way from the bar), each time successfully dodging DWI charges. In Jan. 2013, the Minnesota Court of Appeals dismissed charges against Greenman stemming from a Feb. 2012 arrest. Even though Greenman's blood alcohol levels were off the charts, under Minnesota law the Segway, like a wheelchair, is classified as a “an electric personal assistive mobility device” and not a proper motor vehicle.
Segway Inc., the manufacturer of the original Segway PT, was sold by inventor/owner Dean Kamen to British entrepreneur Jimi Heselden in 2010. Tragically, Heselden died that same year when he accidentally plunged off of a cliff near his West Yorkshire home. He was driving a Segway at the time.
Via [BBC News] via [The Verge], [The Local]
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