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Minnesota ruling exempts Segways from DWI charges

Minnesota ruling exempts Segways from DWI charges
News Perham,Minnesota 56573
Perham Focus
Minnesota ruling exempts Segways from DWI charges
Perham Minnesota 222 2nd Avenue SE 56573

ST. PAUL - If you're riding your Segway home from a bar in Minnesota, a court ruling handed down Tuesday ensures you're not going to get a DWI for it.

In an opinion written by Appeals Court Judge Margaret Chutich, the court upheld the dismissal of drunken-driving charges against a Medina man, Mark Alan Greenman, who was pulled over by Medina police on Feb. 4 of last year just after 5 p.m.

Police said his Segway was drifting over the center line, forcing one vehicle to slow down to keep from hitting him. A breath test put his blood alcohol level at 0.19 percent.

In the opinion, the court noted that a previous ruling had specifically excluded a "personal assistive mobility device," defined in part as being a self-balancing two-wheeled device, electrically powered and for only one person, designed to go at slow speeds where cars cannot go.

A Segway is a two-wheel mode of transportation that is powered by a battery.

The court said Segways also don't meet the definition of a vehicle because they aren't designed for highway use. Minnesota law prohibits the use of a Segway on a road when a sidewalk is available.

The court upheld a district court judge's decision to dismiss the charges. It was the second time a trial judge had thrown out a DWI charge in which Greenman was operating a Segway.

In the dissenting opinion, Judge Roger Klaphake wrote that a DWI charge could apply because Segways are not exclusively human-powered, and it is possible to take Segways on a highway.