Taking a ride on a Segway after having a few drinks is not classified as drunk driving, according to Minnesota law. The reason? A Segway is not a motor vehicle.
This all started in February 2012 when a man on his Segway was pulled over by police and charged with DWI. The officer cited that the man allowed the Segway to drift left-of-center twice. A breathalyzer test would reveal his blood alcohol concentration to be .19, which is more than twice the legal limit to drive a motor vehicle.
Nonetheless, the charges against the man would be tossed out. The man, Mark Greenman, said that he felt the decision was a fair one and that people should be able to take their Segways to the bar and use them as transportation to take themselves home.
Greenman is a Minneapolis employment attorney. He was playing in a pool tournament at a bar less than a mile from his home. This was also not the first time he had ever been pulled over on the Segway. He was pulled over in 2010 and charged with DWI, which was dismissed. He was pulled over a third time in March of 2012 in which he was charged with first-degree DWI.
As for the ruling by the Minnesota Court of Appeals, the court relied on a previous decision that involved a man driving his motorized scooter in 2009 on a Grand Rapids sidewalk.
In the Grand Rapids case, the Court of Appeals ruled that the scooter was not a motor vehicle. The law says that a motor vehicle is one that is self-propelled, which excludes any electric personal assistive mobility device. This means scooters, Segways, and electric wheelchairs are all excluded.
A judge with the Court of Appeals stated that if the Legislature intended to keep drivers from using Segways while under the influence of alcohol, that specific provision would have been included in the law, as such as been done many times in the past. However, another judge wrote that a Segway meets the definition of a motor vehicle that can be drawn upon a highway and is self-propelled.