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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

The end of walking?

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Spacing Wire reader Simon Bryan recently emailed us and said he enjoyed our links and commentary on the possibility of the Segway hitting Toronto sidewalks (you can read our posts by clicking here).

Bryan said the only point we hadn’t covered was the intentions of Segway’s inventor Dean Kamen. Kamen has said from the beginning that his invention is intended to replace walking, not wheeled transportation. Bryan writes, “Kamen feels walking is so medieval he created his anti-walking device to take the drudgery out of perambulating. No wonder the well-heeled lobbyists so covet our sidewalks! Competing with other wheeled transportation is not their objective. Eliminating ol’ fashioned, healthy walking is.”

Spacing has always maintained that we think the Segway is a rather fun and cool toy. We agree it should be kept off the sidewalk, but allowed on the road. But Bryan’s observation (and this article in Salon) makes me wonder if we should have a strong moral stance against the Segway (considering the staggering number of obese people in the country hovers around 25% — the last thing we need is something to eliminate the simplest form of exercise!). But I’m sure some people thought bicycles would eliminate walking. And most of the population can’t afford to part with $5,000 to replace the free work our feet can provide.