Segway shuts shop with no segue

 

After less than twenty years on the road, the Segway, which was hyped to fundamentally change personal transportation, is silently rolling into the sunset, likely to be mourned only by city tour operators and mall cops—because in the end, those are the only niches where it found a real market.

The two-wheel devices, powered by a pair of electric motors and steered by leaning in the direction you want to go, never sold well to the public because of their cost (nearly the price of the cheapest mini-cars) and the reputation they developed for accidents—including running over sprinter Usain Bolt, pitching President Bush onto a lawn and taking the man who bought the company from its founders over a cliff to his death.

Nonetheless, they came to star in the Mall Cop movie series (above) and to appear in fleets as part of city tours across Europe and beyond. As late as 2015, when Chinese company Ninebot bought the brand, it expected rising sales, but the widespread success of small electric scooters put an end to the dream.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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