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Dangerous Segways

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 26, 2002

This article on the acceptance of Segways for sidewalk use prompted an interesting response from one of Romenesko’s readers (scroll down a bit to read the whole thing):

“At 6 m.p.h., a 140-pound jogging Oprah will collide with our stationary pedestrian with a force of (in metric equivalents) 65.3kg x 2.68 meters/sec. = 175 Newtons (omitting a few minor principles that I’ll keep constant across all examples). The same collision between our 160 lb. Commander in Chief at 8.5 mph would result in a force of 72.5kg x 3.77 meters/sec. = 273 Newtons, an increase of about 33%, which just goes to show how forces multiply quickly when speed or mass increases slightly.”

“Now, let’s say skinny Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, weighing in at a nice even 150 lbs. crashes into you on his 80 lb. Segway at a cruising speed of 12 mph, near the top of Segway’s range, but certainly below its stated maximum of 12.5 mph. You’ll be picking broken teeth out of the sidewalk after absorbing a whopping 104.3 kg x 5.3 meters/sec = 552 Newtons of force! That’s the equivalent of being trampled by a herd of three jogging Oprahs, each of whom is carrying a 3 lb. ham!”

A herd of jogging Oprahs carrying hams? Now that’s science!