How to Ride a Segway Safely

How to Ride a Segway Safely
Author Info
Updated: July 21, 2019 | References

Segway injuries are reportedly on the rise,[1] and with the Segway-caused death of James Heselden, owner of the Segway company,[2] it’s easy to be concerned about the safety of using Segways. The Segway company warns new users that “whenever you ride the Segway HT, you risk injury from loss of control, collisions, and falls” and that it’s your responsibility to reduce these risks.

When used correctly, Segways present a clean, safe, and enjoyable means for getting around, and keeping safe is really about using your common sense and keeping an eye out for potential hazards. Here are some suggestions on how to ride a Segway safely.


Learn how to operate the Segway before attempting to use it alone. Read the user manual thoroughly. It is strongly advised that you seek instruction from someone who is qualified and experienced in operating Segways.
Practice with people who know Segways before heading off on your own. At the very least, have a spotter when you first climb on and practice.
See How to operate a Segway for more details.

Wear appropriate clothing. At a minimum, wear a safety helmet. Other protective gear to consider wearing includes:
Knee and elbow padding, wrist guards.
Eye protection.
If you’re using the Segway at night (presuming it is legal to do so wherever you live), wear a high visibility jacket so that people can see you easily. If riding at night, always add lights so that you can see and be seen.
Keep a firm hold on the Segway at all times. Always have both feet firmly aboard, and both hands holding the handlebar. Don’t try carrying anything in one hand and maneuvering with only one hand. Use a backpack or a cargo holder if you need to carry stuff.
Avoid abrupt maneuvers when riding a Segway.[3] Although the Segway is able to sense your movement and aims to re-balance you, this mechanism may not be able to rectify your balance if you move too abruptly forward or backward.
Don’t turn a segway too fast. Fast turns can cause you to lose control; always lean into a turn and take it slowly.
Don’t stop or start a Segway too fast.
Don’t ride backward. This ability is meant only for maneuvering out of a tight spot or turning around, not for travel.
Avoid speeding. The Segway will warn you if you’re going too fast, using a “Speed Limiter”; it pushes the handlebar back as a way of slowing you down. Heed this and stop leaning forward.
Heed the Stick Shake Warning. This warning is set off when you ride too fast backward or you push the Segway beyond its limits, such as going over rough terrain, down a slope, or speeding up or slowing down too rapidly.[4] Slow down. If it doesn’t stop after slowing down, stop and get off as it could be telling you that your battery packs are low or that there are maintenance issues with the Segway.
Indoors, keep to a slow walking pace, stay in the center of corridors as much as possible, give way to every person, and don’t take the Segway where it’s not permitted.
Outdoors, aim to keep to a fast walking pace, again giving way to pedestrians and being very careful when going around corners.
Keep to solid, even ground. Segways are not designed for all-terrain moves. Stick with the paved surfaces they’re meant for.
Any abrupt terrain change can cause problems for your safety, such as riding from grass to pavement, speed bump, etc.[5] Do this slowly and with care.
Step off a Segway and use the power assist mode any time you are unsure of how to handle the terrain or area that you’re crossing.
Don’t ride on roads. Not only is the Segway not made to be a road vehicle, but it’s dangerous and may also be illegal. Cross roads with care, use power assist to walk it across if safer.
Maintain a safe distance between you and the handlebar. Leaning on the handlebar can reduce your ability to control the Segway properly.
Avoid pedestrians. You are moving faster than pedestrians and some pedestrians won’t even hear your approach. Always be on the alert for avoiding them, and be ready to call out if anything goes wrong before you can brake.
Generally, keep to the right of the sidewalk in countries with right side drive and keep to the left of the footpath in countries with left side drive, unless your pedestrian traffic norms are different. Heed all local rules about use of sidewalks.
Watch out for obstacles. If there are things in the way of your Segway, they have the potential to knock you off or create a collision. It’s up to you to see them, which can be difficult if you’re distracted by sightseeing or chatting. Common objects that cause problems include park benches, light poles, signposts, and trees.[6]
Avoid holes, curbs, and steps when using the Segway. A Segway can easily trip up on such obstacles.
Don’t take your Segway down a steep slope. Doing so will cause it to unbalance, and it’s very likely that you’ll be thrown out.
Don’t ride a Segway on any surface that is slippery, such as ice (including black ice, be aware!), snow, wet grass, oily or greasy areas, or wet floors.
Don’t ride over loose items such as branches, pebbles, rocks, broken glass, etc. These can cause the Segway to lose traction and tip you out.
Think ahead. As with riding a bike, scooter, or any other wheeled transportation that interacts with traffic and pedestrians, stay alert all of the time and react ahead of things happening.
Slow down (and stop if needed) at crossings, intersections, groups of people, driveways, around corners, doorways or other low-hanging areas, etc.
Get out of the way of cars, cyclists, and other traffic. Realize that often you can’t be seen or heard, or people may not equate a Segway with being something they need to stop for.
Avoid iPod oblivion or cell phone distractions. Don’t use MP3 players or cell phones while operating the Segway.
Don’t drink and ride.
Stop your Segway before getting off it. Don’t let go of a Segway that is still in balance mode or it will continue to travel away from you and could potentially collide with someone or something.
Community Q&A
Do I need two hands to ride a Segway safely?
Community Answer
If it has a handle, yes.
How do I avoid making it explode?
Community Answer
Don’t drive your Segway into fire, acid pools or drive while carry flaming propane tanks. Also don’t shoot it with a gun, run it over by a car, and finally, don’t throw it off an airplane.
What can I do if there are no handlebars?
Community Answer
Just make sure that you are even more careful, and make sure you practice a lot at the park or a safe area. If you are a child who has a Segway without handle bars, make sure you are supervised by an adult or someone you know. Ideally, you should get one with handlebars, it’s safer.
Should I give a Segway to my 10-year-old son?
Community Answer
That’s completely up to you. It should not be dangerous as long as it’s used with parental supervision.
Are Segways as dangerous in terms of electrical safety as hoverboards?
Community Answer
Segways are more safe and secure. They even are used for professional jobs such as law-enforcement patrolling in malls and towns.
Are Segways safe?
Community Answer
If you use it correctly and wear a helmet, Segways are generally safe.
Are Segways easy for old people to ride?
Community Answer
Yes, assuming the individual is confident enough to stay upright. I wouldn’t suggest it for elderly people with existing mobility issues.
What’s the easiest way to get on and off a Segway?
Community Answer
To get on the Segway, grab the handlebars and step onto it, one foot at a time. To get off the Segway, step backwards, one foot at a time, before releasing the handlebars.
Do I have to have a driver license?
Community Answer
No, you do not need a driver’s license to ride a Segway, but you do need to be 16 or older to ride one.
How long is the battery life? How far can I go on one charge?
Community Answer
The battery life depends on the make and model of the Segway, but you should be getting anywhere from 8-12 miles on a full charge.
Know your height. You become taller on a segway; keep this in mind when going under doorways, bridges, and other overhanging structures!
If using Segways for work purposes, ensure that all personnel are adequately trained in its use and safety.
Deal with faults immediately.
Segways have a minimum weight requirement which prevents children from riding them. Be sure to adhere to this.
Read the segway rider’s guide thoroughly before using the segway.
No wheelies or other stunts. A one-wheel only Segway is a Segway about to tip over and take you with it. If you’re keen about stunt riding, buy a bike.
Segways are not designed to carry more than one person; don’t give anyone else a ride on a Segway.
Obey all local rules, ordinances, and regulations about where it is legal and not legal to ride Segways.
Don’t wear anything that could get caught up in the wheels, such as scarves or really long coats.
Don’t ride a Segway through revolving doors, on escalators or stairs, over gangplanks, on narrow ledges, or anywhere else unsafe.
Segway motors can cut out suddenly without warning. As a result of this, the rider can be catapulted over the front as the Segway drops down, landing the rider on the pavement and potentially suffering from injury.
The Segway company recommends that riders be over the age of 16.
Things You’ll Need
Segway manual
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About This Article
wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 12 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. Together, they cited 6 references. This article has also been viewed 98,372 times.
Co-authors: 12
Updated: July 21, 2019
Views: 98,372
Article Rating: 87% – 100 votes
Categories: Cars & Other Vehicles
↑Asher Moses, Safety Concerns After Segway Death,
↑Lindor Reynolds, No way a Segway is a way to get around,
↑Segway, how to ride the SegwayHuman Transporter (HT) safely, p.6
↑Segway, how to ride the SegwayHuman Transporter (HT) safely, p. 10
↑Segway, how to ride the SegwayHuman Transporter (HT) safely, p.8
↑Asher Moses, Safety Concerns After Segway Death,
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