Friday, May 16, 2003
by Lenka Reznicek [permalink] 
Musings of a Leg-Powered Luddite

Call me a curmudgeon, but I'm not exactly enchanted with the concept of the Segway™ "personal transportation device."

I just don't really see the sense of having another machine that reduces the amount of physical activity the human body has to perform. After all, aren't we already sedentary enough? Many of us spend our workdays planted in chairs in front of computer screens, then hop into elevators and have our bodies carried to our homes, where we proceed to sit once again. If we get used to any more "labor-saving", our mortal coils will start to get a little redundant.

Basically I see the Segway™ as a sort of stand-up wheelchair for the otherwise ambulatory - you know, a glorified version of those electric supermarket carts intended to allow the infirm, elderly or extremely obese to navigate the aisles without incurring the wrath of the speedy, inconsiderate highly-mobile.

Maybe the device does have some legitimate uses: I can see them being used by mail carriers, meter maids and others whose daily labor entails hours of thankless legwork. But why would an otherwise able-bodied person need or want one? I can see it now: the perfect luxury gift for the video-game addicted couch potato who has everything.

Have we grown too lazy to stroll? Will walking become one of those manual tasks relegated to the poor - while allowing those who can afford the Segway™ to roll about faster and taller that the hoi polloi? Do we really need these rolling speed demons mingling and colliding with the trudging masses on sidewalks and in traffic intersections, frightening children, dogs and old people?

I, a mere leg-powered Luddite, say nay. Let us not go rolling into the great unknown like carted cattle, but walking proudly like human beings.

After all, we're the only species that can.