What is a Segway?

The name Segway doesn't refer to a specific vehicle. Rather, it's the brand name commonly associated with the upright, self-balancing scooter the Segway company introduced in 2001. Segway later expanded its product range to include various electric mobility devices, including electric mopeds, go-karts, and self-balancing unicycles.

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How does a Segway work?

A self-balancing Segway works similarly to the human body's balance system. It uses sensors (called gyroscopes) to detect the degree of lean, similar to how our inner ear works. A computer determines how much and how fast to move the wheels to get the sensors back in alignment. By continuing to lean forward, the user ensures that the sensors never come into perfect alignment and the scooter keeps moving forward. The degree of lean determines the scooter's speed.

Modern Segway speeds start from around 10-12mph for self-balancing scooters that resemble hoverboards, up to speeds over 30mph for Segway vehicles like electric mopeds. Segway's electric kick scooters vary from 12mph to just under 20mph. Learn more about the difference between Segways vs. hoverboards.

How much does a Segway cost?

According to Fast Company, the original Segway scooter cost around $5,000 at its 2001 launch, introductory prices for similar vehicles have decreased over time. Segway costs now vary from a few hundred dollars for entry-level devices to several thousand for vehicles like hybrid motorcycles or electric mopeds. More recent self-balancing personal transporters the products most like the original Segway scooter often cost in the $500-1000 range, depending on the model and features.

Some Segway scooter models may even include robotics features like the ability to record videos on the move and can cost considerably more than mobility-only devices.

Should you get a Segway?

Segway vehicles can be fun and practical ways to get around. Segway vehicles are great for users who want a quick, eco-friendly way to get around urban environments without having to rely too much on public transport. Their range makes them especially practical for short trips around town. However, not all self-balancing devices include handlebars, giving them a steeper learning curve to use safely, especially if your balance isn't great. Compared to many hoverboards, Segway vehicles are heavier, which can be an issue if you need to carry them. If you anticipate carrying the vehicle frequently, Segways may not be the best option.

Where Segways can legally ride is in a bit of a gray area. Some jurisdictions treat Segways like bicycles for road law, while others classify them as motor vehicles. Some states require you to have Segway insurance while others don't. Check your local regulations to help you understand if a Segway is right for your situation.

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