Swegways remain popular despite safety concerns

At ASL, not many students have Swegways, yet Swegways still remain extremely popular.  In 2015, the Swegway was announced hottest toy of the year. The Swegway’s price can range from around £1,800 to £300 depending on which manufacturer it is bought from.

The Swegway resembles a miniature Segway without handle bars. It is often times also called a hover board because when it moves, the Swegway mimics the act of hovering a few inches off the ground. The Swegway is a machine that copies the rider’s weight and shifts while the rider uses it. When you lean, the Swegway’s wheels pick up speed to keep the ground beneath you. So when you lean forward, you go forward. The same principle follows for when you lean backwards.

For the Swegway, balance and movement are the same thing. Swegways are able to move based off of one’s balance due to a series of sensors built into the internal hardware.  Based on what it senses, the Swegway’s wheels move accordingly to support the movement.

Swegways are illegal to ride on streets or sidewalks in England and Wales due to the Highway Act of 1835. The Metropolitan police announced that Swegways were unlicensed vehicles and people are only allowed to ride them on private property. Their reasons were that Swegways aren’t allowed on sidewalks as they are vehicles, and aren’t allowed on the street because they’re unlicensed. They also added that Swegways cannot get licenses because they don’t meet the legal requirements. One legal requirement they do not reach is having a horn. Every vehicle that rides on the street must have a horn that reaches at least 200 feet.

Swegways are also banned from many airlines. United, Delta, and American Airlines have recently issued statements regarding Swegways. Some other airlines that have banned Swegways are Jet Blue, Virgin Airways, Alaska Airlines, and British Airways. They all say that due to fire hazards, Swegways are not allowed on board. Delta Airlines says that they have found some Swegways which have been mislabeled. Meaning that some Swegways pass the 160 watt per hour limit.

In 2015, there were several reports of Swegways combusting or exploding. One possible explanation is that the explosions have to do with faulty batteries in the cheaper models for £300 or under. Some other dangers in riding a Swegway are that they can go up to 10 mph. If you fall off while going that fast, it could result in a potentially serious injury.

Sixth grader Dasha Olshanskaya said that riding a Swegway is easy for some people yet for others it can be hard, as it depends on if you have a good sense of balance. Regardless of the law being enforced by the Metropolitan police,  the Swegway still remains a popular new technology enjoyed by the community.

About Hannah Driscoll ('22)

Staff Writer

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