Pizza-maker awaits court's Segway ruling

By Amelia Wade

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

A pizza firm is watching legal proceedings in Whangarei closely to see if a precedent will be set so it can return its Segways to Auckland footpaths.

Sal's Pizza has been told by police to stop using the two-wheeled vehicles for deliveries in central Auckland.

However, last month, a High Court judge quashed the conviction of Kaikohe Hotel owner Neal Summers for riding a Segway on a footpath in Kerikeri and awarded him a rehearing.

Justice Kit Toogood ordered the return of $1150 in fines and reinstatement of 15 demerit points.

Next week, the Whangarei District Court will rehear the case, which will set a precedent by deciding if the 1500-watt Segways are suitable for footpaths, roads or private property.

Mr Summers was using the battery-operated scooter as a mobility device because he suffers chronic pain in a leg if he walks for too long.

In his judgment, Justice Toogood said that according to the evidence provided to the District Court, there were 79 people in New Zealand who used Segways as mobility devices.

"Serious inconvenience and expense would be caused to New Zealand users of Segway PTs [personal transporters] if the law was to regard them as motor vehicles," he said.

"For these reasons, the judge recognised that the matters at issue would be of interest not only to Segway USA and Segway New Zealand, but also to New Zealand Disabilities."

Yesterday, the Ministry of Transport said it agreed with the police that the Segway's motor capacity made it a motor vehicle under transport law.

As well, the driver must hold a valid driver's licence and, as appropriate, wear an approved motorcycle helmet.

A ministry spokeswoman said a Segway could not be driven on a footpath.

- NZ Herald

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