Minister denies ignoring Segway safety warnings

QUEENSLAND transport minister Scott Emerson has denied he ignored safety warnings from his own department to fast track the introduction of Segways.

The battery-powered, self-balancing devices will be legal on Queensland streets from Thursday, in a move that makes the state the first in Australia to allow them.

Mr Emerson denied he ignored safety warnings from police and transport authorities in a bid to expedite the legalisation, saying stringent safety restrictions will apply to their use.

''We are taking a safety-first approach to the introduction of Segways, including a speed limit of 12km/h, an age limit of 12, helmets, bells and the banning of mobile phones.''

News Limited has reported documents obtained under Right to Information laws reveal Mr Emerson ignored safety concerns raised by police, the National Transport Commission and officials within the Department of Transport in a rush to legalise the devices.

Mr Emerson denied the report, saying: ''I'm satisfied that departmental staff have done their job by identifying issues and finding solutions,'' he said.

One man who is welcoming this decision is Rockhampton's Jay Witt, who at one stage rented Segways to people at the Carpricorn Resort.

Mr Witt said Segways were a safe and efficient mode of transport.

"They are really suitable for people of all ages - we've had people as young as seven and as old as 80 taking them out for a spin," he said.

"Plus they take nothing to run, you just make sure they are charged and off you go."

"And in my opinion, they are a lot safer than bikes.

"If you are unlucky enough to come off a Segway, it's not much of a fall, and it (the Segway) stops in its tracks so it doesn't collide with anyone."



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