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Council OKs bicycle racks on Halifax ferries, considers Segway ban

Municipal staff told council that Segways on ferries present safety and storage issues

3 min read
caption There are currently no restrictions on bringing Segways on municipal ferries.
Taryn Grant
caption There are currently no restrictions on bringing Segways on municipal ferries.
Taryn Grant

Regional council approved the installation of more bicycle racks on municipal ferries, but deferred a ban on Segways after a lively debate Tuesday.

Dave Reage, Halifax Transit director, told council storing Segways in aisles during a ferry crossing is a safety concern.

“When we don’t have adequate space for what’s brought on board they end up being left in aisles, blocking doorways, blocking safety equipment — that puts us at a really high risk,” said Reage.

The original motion before council included bicycle rack expansion and the Segway ban. In an amendment, council separated the Segway ban so that it could be deferred. Councillors asked for a staff report to explore if and how Segways could be safely accommodated on ferries.

Coun. Matt Whitman, a vocal opponent of the motion, said the ban discriminated against Segways.

“You can’t give them a hard time because they’re an entertainment device,” he said at regional council.

What’s a Segway for?

Councillors debated the utility of Segways, asking whether they are for fun or transportation.

Coun. Sam Austin said he didn’t know of any constituents who use Segways for transportation.

“I’m still awaiting emails from the people of Dartmouth who ride Segways to be up in arms about being cut off from using the ferry, but my inbox is still empty because nobody uses these in this way,” he said.

Austin also said he had been on ferries when Segway tour groups were on board, and he found the devices to be a “real hazard.”

Storage issues

Segways can’t be secured to existing bike racks, said Reage.

“We (would) need to create a design, send the design to Transport Canada for approval. We know the bike racks we have now are something that can be used as a bike rack. We don’t know that those can be used to attach anything else to,” he said to council.

Bicycles on ferries

The motion involving bicycles on ferries passed unanimously. Municipal ferries will have some seating removed to make room for additional bicycle racks. According to the staff report, the total number of passengers will not be affected — standing room will make up for the loss of seats.

A new rule will limit the number of bicycles allowed on ferries to match the number of spaces in racks.

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