I was out on a run the other morning on one of the local multi-use trails in town and I passed a woman on a Segway! That was the first time that I had seen a Segway on a “hiking” trail. The trail I was running is well maintained for about the first 1.5 miles but it is definitely not paved. Although, it is smooth enough and flat enough that strollers are frequently on the trail. I was a bit surprised and somewhat taken aback by seeing a motor driven device on a trail that I thought was solely for pedestrians and mountain bikes. My first thought was “Are Segways even allowed on forest service trails?”
I know that motorized use is allowed outside wilderness areas on Forest Service land but I wanted to know more about Segways in public land. So, I came home and did a little bit of research and did not find very much on the legality of Segways on hiking trails at all (I checked the websites of multiple agencies). The little bit of information that I did find, published by American Trails and dated the spring of this year, said that the Department of Justice states that “power-driven mobility devices” can be used on trails by “individuals with mobility disabilities.” Power-driven mobility device is defined as anything with a motor that can be driven – so Segways definitely fall into that category. Based on the Department of Justice ruling, any individual with a mobility related disability would be able to use a Segway to access trails on public lands especially those which are already considered accessible to wheelchairs.