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Coming soon to a sidewalk near you

Anne Knowles

A bill paving the way for Segway Human Transporters is moving its way through the legislature.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the future, the Segway HT is a self-balancing, motorized, scooter-like device that runs at up to 15 miles an hour.

It was created by inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen, who said it would revolutionize human transportation.

That was when it was still code-named Ginger.

The goal, in part, is to reduce air pollution by reducing auto emissions.

The Segway uses two, two-horsepower electric motors, one for each wheel, that produce no emissions, according to the Manchester, N.H., company.

“The average horse and buggy went 8.5 miles an hour,” said Fred

Hillerby, a lobbyists representing the company here.

That was replaced by the car, producing hazardous emissions, which in cities averages one mile an hour less than that, he said.

“It can be used by people with mild disabilities, who can stand, such as people with respiratory problems who can’t walk,” said Hillerby.

It is designed for a single passenger, and comes in two models, including one that can be equipped to also carry up to 75 pounds of cargo.

The device is sold on Amazon.com for $4,950, and has been purchased by consumers in every state, including Nevada, according to the company.

Harrah’s Casino in Laughlin is also a customer.

Other users include the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority and Disney Cruise Lines.

The National Park Service is testing them for use by rangers, interpreters and supervisors.

The Segway HT has received mixed reviews from state and local governments, which are deciding through statute whether to permit the devices on sidewalks and roads.

Last week, the Senate Committee on Transportation passed out of committee a bill introduced by Sen.

Dina Titus (DClark).

Senate Bill 363 exempts “electric personal assistive mobility devices,” such as Segway HTs and motorized wheelchairs, from regulations governing motor vehicles.

That will allow the devices on sidewalks unless city or county governments pass laws saying otherwise, said Hillerby.

So far, 33 states and the District of Columbia have authorized use of the Segway HT, he said.

Nevada may soon make that 34.