Segway: end of the road for the much-hyped two-wheeler

Actor and comedian Kevin James celebrates as he competes in NASCAR stock cars with his Segway to promote the release of his new movie, Image copyright
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Actor and comedian Kevin James promoting his movie Paul Blart: Mall Cop

Segway is wrapping up production of its two-wheeled original, which was popular with city tour guides and some police forces, but not the public.

Launched in 2001, the highly publicized self-balancing vehicle promised to revolutionize personal transportation.

The Segway, invented by American engineer Dean Kamen, debuted with much fanfare, but struggled for profit.

The crashes did not help with the popularity of the Segway, and the company was bought by Chinese rival Ninebot in 2015.

Made at a factory in New Hampshire in the United States, production of the Segway Personal Transporter will end on July 15.

Announcing the news, Segway President Judy Cai said: “In its first decade, the Segway PT became a staple in safety and law enforcement, viewed as an effective and efficient personal vehicle.”

However, in the vehicle’s nearly two decades history, it has also been the subject of high-profile teasing and collisions, as well as a tragic death.

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The then President of the United States, George W. Bush, was photographed falling from a Segway in 2003

In 2003, the then President of the United States, George W. Bush, fell off a Segway at his parents’ summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

The incident followed Vice President Dick Cheney’s use of a Segway to walk around his office when his Achilles tendon was playing.

The Segway also served as a literal comedy vehicle in the 2009 Hollywood movie Paul Blart: Mall Cop.

In the movie, actor and comedian Kevin James played a security guard patrolling a shopping center on a Segway with a lot of comedic effect.

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Sprinter Usain Bolt collided with a cameraman on a Segway in 2015

In 2015, when he celebrated his fourth consecutive 200-meter world title, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt was hit by a cameraman on a Segway.

No serious damage was done, and the legendary athlete quickly rose to his feet and continued his victory lap.

In January of this year, the Segway wheelchair prototype crashed during a demonstration at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The S-Pod, an automatic balance electric wheelchair, was being tested by a journalist at the time. The driver had accelerated the vehicle before accidentally crashing into a wall.

The Segway was also at the center of a tragic incident when the millionaire company owner died after falling off a cliff in the UK while riding one of his company’s motorized scooters.

Jimi Heselden crashed into the River Wharfe while using his Segway on his property in West Yorkshire, just 10 months after buying the company in 2009.

The investigation into Heselden’s death heard that he died due to an “act of courtesy” while trying to make way for a dog walker.