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Segway Company Owner Dies During Test Drive of New Model

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Just a few days after a new study reported that Segway injuries are on the rise, news has broken that the owner of the company that makes the popular scooters has died in a Segway accident.

Since their introduction in 2001, Segways have been used as transportation for police departments, military bases, warehouses, corporate campuses or industrial sites. They have also become a popular mode of transportation for tourist wishing to sightsee, and Segway tour companies have popped up in numerous locations throughout the US. In most cases, such tours mark the first time a person has used a Segway. Often, the instruction provided by the tour company is inadequate, and often leads to Segway injuries.

Last week’s study, published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, reported that Segway injuries are significant and on the rise. According to the report, a quarter of the patients who came to a Washington D.C. emergency room with Segway injuries were admitted to the hospital. Forty percent of the admitted patients were admitted to the ICU because they had traumatic brain injuries.

The researchers examined the records for 44 patients who came to the emergency department with injuries sustained while riding the Segway. Only seven percent of the patients had worn helmets, which are not required by law for Segway riders in Washington. The number of cases increased significantly over time, with three cases appearing in 2006, eight cases appearing in 2007 and 25 cases appearing in the first 11 months of 2008. All of the injuries were the result of people falling off the Segway, and usually hitting an inanimate object.

According to the Associated Press, 62-year-old Jimi Heselden bought control of the Bedford, New Hampshire-based Segway company in December. He was testing a new model of a cross-country Segway near his home in Britain when he died. His body and the Segway personal transporter were found in the River Wharfe in Britain and he was pronounced dead at the scene. A witness had reported seeing a man fall Sunday over a 30-foot drop into the river near the village of Boston Spa, 140 miles north of London.

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