Segways on state trails?

Should Segways be allowed on state trails?

By: Nicole Huehlhausen, Web Producer

Minnesota’s attorney general is involved in an unusual question over Segways—should riding the standup two-wheelers on state trails and paths be legal?

It’s a pretty slick way to cruise around St. Paul's Cathedral Hill neighborhood. In fact, Bill Neuenschwander was the first in the country to start Segway tours of the area.

"It gives us the ability to give a lot more content than we could if this was a walking tour we can cover a fairly large area. It is kind of like a bus tour but we are not stuck behind the glass windows of a bus," Neuenschwander explained.

Wheeling around town on sidewalks, alleyways, and paths is legal. But a tour operator in southeastern Minnesota wanting to run tours on state trails near Lonsdale is raising concern for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

"We want to provide people with the broadest access possible to experience state parks and state trails, but every one has to be safe we need something that doesn't create a user conflict," said Forrest Boe with the DNR.

One argument for allowing Segways on state trails is that it would make the paths accessible to people who can't walk or ride a bike.

"A lot of people with disabilities have found this to be a really good way to get around so it depends on your needs," Neuenschwander said.

He says he agrees that whatever the decision, having well laid out guidelines for Segway use will increase safety for everyone.

The DNR says it has not asked Attonrey General Lori Swanson to rule one way or the other—as it’s sometimes hard to define exactly what a Segway is, and thus defining where it fits within state law is proving to be a bit difficult.

The attorney general's office is expected to make a decision in the coming days.

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