A Progressive Conservative MLA is pushing to have Segway use allowed on streets and sidewalks in Nova Scotia after current legislation squashed a company’s attempt to offer Segway tours in Windsor last summer.
MLA Allan MacMaster, the transportation critic for the PC party, tabled a bill earlier this month.
“Segways could open economic development opportunities in our cities and communities, and they're not much different from other motorized vehicles that are currently used [on] our roads and sidewalks,” said MacMaster in a press release issued by the provincial PC Caucus Nov. 19. “They're eco-friendly, emission-free vehicles that could also be used as a unique way to sightsee and take in tourist attractions in Nova Scotia.”
Segway scooters are battery-powered devices that can be programmed to travel up to 20 km/h.
Segway Nova Scotia owner Max Rastelli approached the provincial opposition parties after learning the devices must become classified within the Motor Vehicle Act before he can carry through with plans to offer Segway tours on publicly owned streets and sidewalks in historic destinations within Nova Scotia.
Rastelli and his partner, Romi Foley, planned to host regular Segway tours throughout the Town of Windsor last summer.
“We were prepared to hire people and none of that materialized because the foundation wasn’t there for us to get some of these tours going,” Rastelli said in a brief phone interview.
He is encouraged by the opposition’s interest in amending the Motor Vehicle Act to legalize the use of electronic personal assistive mobility devices on public streets and sidewalks.
“Hopefully it will light a fire under somebody and we will get something in this fall sitting of the legislature that could help us do something in the spring.”
Rastelli says paving the way for Segway tours in Nova Scotia will create jobs in an exciting industry.
“I’m sure once the foundation is set other companies will want to take a look.”
Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Maurice Smith said the government is looking to other provinces to learn how Segway use is regulated in other areas of Canada.
“Unlike the legislation being proposed, we are carefully examining the right options. We need to give thoughtful consideration to the impacts on safety of all road users including the Segway operators, drivers, cyclists and pedestrians,” Smith wrote in an email to the Hants Journal.