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Case Study: Segways

LATEST NEWS FROM THE COURTS

Hopping on your Segway after you've had a few drinks is not driving drunk under Minnesota law -- because a Segway is not a motor vehicle, the Minnesota Court of Appeals has ruled.

A Hennepin County man was stopped by police Feb. 4 and charged with driving while impaired after the officer saw his Segway drifting twice across the center line in the road, according to the court ruling made public Tuesday, Jan. 22.

His blood alcohol level was 0.19, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08, the ruling said. Mark A. Greenman, 48, of Hamel said Tuesday that he was pleased with the judges' decision tossing the charges against him.

"I think the court got it right," he said. "I think that if people want to take the Segway to the bar, they can do that now. And I think they always should have been able to."

Greenman, an employment attorney practicing in Minneapolis, said he was playing in a pool tournament at Inn Kahoots bar in Hamel, less than a mile from his home. He was on his way home, on his Segway, when the Medina police officer stopped him.

A Hennepin County district judge threw out the charges. It was not the first time Greenman had been pulled over while on his Segway. The district court also dismissed DWI charges in a 2010 case against him.

In making its Tuesday ruling, the Court of Appeals relied on a previous decision that involved James Anthony Brown, an intoxicated disabled man driving his motorized scooter on a Grand Rapids sidewalk in July 2009.

The Court of Appeals ruled in that case that the scooter was not a motor vehicle for the purposes of the law. The law defines "motor vehicle" in part as "every vehicle which is self-propelled," excluding "an electric personal assistive mobility device."

The Charges:

Driving a Segway while intoxicated results in a DWI

The Verdict:

Driving drunk on a Segway is legal, Minnesota court rules

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