In a horrific accident, British entrepeneur and owner of Segway, Inc., fell to his death from a cliff while riding on one of the famous Segway scooters. According to an investigation into Mr. Jimi Heselden’s death, 62, the millionaire businessman died from multiple injuries consistent with falling while riding a “gyrobike” including multiple blunt force injuries of the chest and spine.
Detectives found Heselden’s “lifeless” body near Jackdaw Crag, near Boston Spa in Wetherby, England on September 26. A paramedic pronounced him dead on the scene and his wife later formally identified his body. In addition, authorities apparently discovered a Segway Scooter near where he fell. He is best known for his companies’ two most prominent inventions: the “blast wall” basket, which is being used as a replacement for traditional sandbags to protect soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Segway, which is a two-wheeled, self-balancing scooter.
This tragedy further complicates the markets tenuous relationship with the Segway. Overall, the Segway has been relegated to a niche market, since it carries a price tag of $6,000. Furthermore, the scooter was the subject of a massive recall in September 2006, when every one of its units were recalled due to a software glitch that could cause the unit to go into reverse and force the rider to fall. Some cities such as New York have banned its use on city streets. However, some tourist sightseeing groups, as well as safety officials in some towns and cities, have embraced the scooter. Thus, Mr. Heselden’s death highlights the important safety precautions that riders should take when using a Segway:
- Wear brightly colored clothing and helmets.
- Ride on the sidewalk if your town or city allows it.
- Start out at “Turtle” mode—the low speed beginner setting.
- Have an experienced rider teach you how to ride, turn, stop, and spot you while you ride for the first time for at least 10 minutes until you get the hang of it.
- Don’t “push” your Segway. For example, don’t continue to lean forward if you get a “Speed Limiter Alert” or continue riding when you get a “Stick Shake Warning”.
- Don’t ride on steep slopes or slippery surfaces.
- Supervise children (the minimum weight requirement is 100 pounds).
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.