Segway Rentals Move to the Ocean City Boardwalk

Ocean City resident Dennis Graves took a free trial run on a Segway on Thursday on the Ocean City Boardwalk.
Ocean City resident Dennis Graves took a free trial run on a Segway on Thursday on the Ocean City Boardwalk.
The operator of a company offering Segway tours of the new Route 52 causeway is now renting the two-wheeled, electric vehicles on the Ocean City Boardwalk.

Jennifer Waters Dahl, owner of Somers Point Bridge Tours LLC, started offering Segway rentals on a trial basis Thursday (Oct. 3) from the Bob's Grill bicycle rental location at 14th Street and Boardwalk.

The Segways offer an easy way for anybody with physical limitations or an adventurous spirit to tour the boardwalk. But as with the tours of the pedestrian path on the causeway between Somers Point and Ocean City, the addition of powered vehicles to an already chaotic mix of bicycles and pedestrians may draw its detractors.

On Thursday, customers were offered instruction on operating the Segways and 90 minutes of rental time for $40. Anybody interested in reserving a rental or learning more can call 609-432-3176.

Renters must weigh at least 100 pounds and not more than 265 pounds and be at least 16 years old. Helmets are required and provided (and sanitized after each tour).The company is fully insured, according to Dahl. The vehicles have a maximum speed of 12 mph, a zero turn-radius and a short stopping distance, she said.

A local ordinance prohibits the use of motorized vehicles on the beach and boardwalk (except by permit for fishing), according to Ocean City Police Capt. Steve Ang. Another ordinance prohibits the rental of motor scooters, motor bikes and motorcycles (along with minibikes, go-carts, swamp buggies and snowmobiles).

But a state law (39:4-14.10) specifically states that "electric personal assistive mobility devices" (including the Segway-brand devices) "shall not be considered a motorized wheelchair, motorized bicycle, motorcycle, motorized scooter, motorized skateboard, vehicle or motor vehicle." (See full text of the law.)

"An electric personal assistive mobility device may be operated on the public highways, sidewalks and bicycle paths of the State," according to the statute.

The law says the operator of such a device should be given the rights of a bicyclist.

"The governing body of any municipality may, by ordinance, regulate the operation of electric personal assistive mobility devices upon the roadways and public properties under municipal jurisdiction," the law states. "The State or the governing body of any county or municipality may prohibit or regulate their operation on any public highway under its jurisdiction."

Ang said the police department is still interpreting the ordinances and state law, and consulting with the city administration.

Ocean City Business Administrator Mike Dattilo was unable to return a call for comment immediately on Thursday.

gfp October 04, 2013 at 12:55 AM
Just what we need more traffic on the boardwalk. those things are bad enough on the bridge. I hope City Council can do something before someone gets hurt.
Bonducca October 04, 2013 at 05:25 AM
It's called a boardwalk for a reason. I don't quarrel with special times for people to ride bicycles and wheelchairs are fine. But I have a sinking sensation that these things will become the province of young hyenas, racing each other- while their parents are elsewhere. No good will come of this. And the regulations seem to be clear.
Paul October 04, 2013 at 07:58 AM
Wow, what a terrible idea. It's a dangerous enoughsometimes with bikes, bedestrians, runners, surreys, double strollers, tow behind carriers, etc. What a nightmare!
vic October 04, 2013 at 08:04 AM
does that mean that motorized bikes will now be allowed on the boardwalk also.
Jeffrey Watt October 04, 2013 at 08:13 AM
Have you gone to a supermarket lately? Everyone is riding a scooter! This is our society today... How can you expect people to walk on their own? They can't be expected to exert energy to move their own legs.
Kay October 04, 2013 at 08:28 AM
I'm actually pretty excited to try one out. Although I admit that I'm hesitant about adding them to the mix on the boardwalk during the summer. But at $40 an HOUR, I don't think there will be that many of them at any given time.
Bess Koenigsberg October 04, 2013 at 08:55 AM
What a wonderful addition to Ocean City! The Segways are safe when operated properly. They are much safer than bicycles and more easily controlled. The segways can be stopped faster than a bicycle. Their top speed is 12 miles per hr and I doubt anyone will be racing them on the boardwalk. I have ridden my segway safely on the bike paths, streets and sidewalks of Ocean City without any problems. Before criticizing the device, try it, so that you can give a knowledgable opinion. I'm sure people said the same things about bicycles when they were first ridden.
Fran October 04, 2013 at 09:22 AM
It sounds like some of the comments here are being made my people who might be connected to the "rental" of the Segways---keep in mind though that those who might be renting these will be very inexperienced and most likely it will be their first time on one of them, so "watch out everyone" as they learn their way!! We've all witnessed what happens when parents put their little child on a two wheeler for the first time on the Boardwalk-----let's just say that the Boardwalk is NOT the place for "learners" to be!!! Maybe a vacant parking lot someplace would be better for these folks!!
Bill Vollmer October 04, 2013 at 09:25 AM
People walk at a 3 to 4 mph speed. Imagine someone coming up on a walker or trying to pass a walker or biker at 12 mph. Not a good situation. Also, what hapens on the narrow section of the boardwalk. Stop this intrusion to our tranquil boardwalk.
Bess Koenigsberg October 04, 2013 at 09:41 AM
I have NO connection to the segway rentals!! I am a private owner of a segway. Typical speeds on bicycles are 10-20 mph and they can even be ridden faster. The top speed of a segway is 12mph and they are typically ridden at a much slower speed. If the segway hits an object the rider can fall off and be injured. It is in the rider's best interest to ride safely. It is extremely easy to ride a segway by following a few simple rules. Before being critical, become educated about what you are saying.
SchoolChoiceRULES!! October 04, 2013 at 09:57 AM
As the operator and ownner I would like to clarify a few misconceptions about Segways and my business. Firstly, this is a veteran owned buainess that is permited to operate on the new Rt.52 bridge. We have rented our Segways to individuals with limited to moderate mobility issues. These individuals successfully operated their Segway without incident. The target group for renting Segways are the active,educated yet aging population that still wish to enjoy outdoor activities with their family. That said the opportunity to allow individuals to rent for use on the boardwalk between Labor Day and Memorial day is should be welcomed as an additional activity option for adult tourist. I have had many,many requests from customers requesting a lease for a week option, so that their family member can shop along with their family instead of being left behind to kill time sitting on a bench. My clientle want to be included in the outdoor Ocean City lifestyle without having to resort to a wheelchair,scooter or bench. Being upright allows them to be eye to eye and smile to smile with their family.
SchoolChoiceRULES!! October 04, 2013 at 10:02 AM
Additiionally, unlike bicycle riders, renters are trained on the operation of Segways as well as Right Of Way laws.
vic October 04, 2013 at 10:17 AM
sounds like a private enterprise that couldn't make a profit operating out of somers point and now wants to place motorized vehicles on the boardwalk in ocean city in an attempt to make money.
bermudabb October 04, 2013 at 12:04 PM
The addition of Segways to the boardwalk is great. Don't knock them till you've tried them.
bermudabb October 04, 2013 at 01:01 PM
The addition of Segways to the boardwalk is great. Don't knock them till you've tried them.
SchoolChoiceRULES!! October 04, 2013 at 02:00 PM
Segways also take up less room than a bicycle and they would make a perfect addition as an off season activity. My clientle are not young families. Im not taking business away from any existing business. I am offering an additional non alcohol related adult activity. Segways operate in every major city and tourist attraction in the world. Anyone with questions and concern certaintly could meet me in person. I will be on location tomorrow starting at 11. Pardon my typos in my prevuous post. Anyone can come and try a Segway in the parking lot. I have 7 of them. @ Vic, yes Im a private business that is hoping to make a profit. I have 5 children to supportt.
Joe S. October 04, 2013 at 04:04 PM
I'm sorry, I would like to support Segways on the Boardwalk, but I can't. I can't imagine adding a silent vehicle running the boardwalk at 12 MPH in the foot traffic the boardwalk gets. I've seen so many people turn and walk right into baby carriages, wagons and bicycles. I wouldn't want someone rolling right up on me or a child that is hard to keep from darting here and there. I get that they are safe for the rider. I get that they may help some people of limited mobility. What I don't get is a small child running into or in front of a device moving a silent 12 mph. We all understand during the bicycle times you keep a tight grip on your kids. During the summer, too crowded, too hectic, too dangerous. Heck, I've had people walk right into me. I couldn't imagine that same person being on a Segway.
SchoolChoiceRULES!! October 04, 2013 at 04:23 PM
Joe, I agree they shouldnt be on the boardwalk during the summer season. And even on the weekends during the early part of fall, but there is no reason that they shouldnt be permitted on the boardwalk Mon thru Friday's after Labor day and before Memorial day. I think its a great source for additional revenue. I was very successful on the new bridge. Which I can continue to do. My customers love stopping in the Welcome Center and picking up rack cards and coupon books. The bridge itself is a tourist attraction. I've suggested and sent several of my Segway customers to ride the biplane or rent a kayak. You dont have to be sorry, however Im sure you would change your mind once you rode one. There are privately owned motorized scooters,motorized recumbant bikes, motorized wheel chairs and electric bikes on the bridge and boardwalk. I at least train riders. As far as people fearing there will be an invasion of Segways, I can assure you the cost of purchasing a Segway is significant.They cost aproximately $6,300 a piece. I only have 7.
Paul October 04, 2013 at 04:55 PM
I'm a veteran as was my Father and his Father before him. That's an irrelevant point and appeals to emotion are logical fallacies (argumentum ad passiones) . The business's merits on the boardwalk should - and hopefully will - be weighed on facts relating to public safety and an enhancement of the experience of America's Greatest Family resort, not on the service record of the owners. You'll have your chance to present your case and if it's safe, doesn't infringe on the enjoyment of others and the majority agrees, I'll support you. All things equal, I go out of my way to patronize a veteran owned business. However navigating the boardwalk, particularly at the ends, is trecherous enough already. Dirt bikes and dune buggies would be fun on the beach, but even well trained operators would present a hazard in any any season.
SchoolChoiceRULES!! October 04, 2013 at 07:29 PM
Paul, I mention the Veteran owned because calling yourself Veteran owned is another tedious process that involves a fee. In order for a business to call themselves Veteran Owned you have to register with the VA or with the SBA as veteran owned. As well as the State of NJ. Of course, one can choose not to register with the SBA and State. We are not registered with the NJ as Veteran Owned because we don't anticipate having to compete for state contracts. Certification with the VA involves an application and being certified as Veterans Owned. It is another helpful endorsement for a start up business. Just as saying one is a member of the Better Business Bureau .
SchoolChoiceRULES!! October 04, 2013 at 07:59 PM
Patches O'Houlihan October 05, 2013 at 06:15 AM
Ocean City is very willing to try new ideas. There is nothing dangerous on the boardwalk with 4 wheels, 6 seats, and a crazy sugared up family peddling through people. Establishment businesses are going to fight this on the safety factor no matter how ridiculous that argument is given what is on the boardwalk now. Just like the BYOB argument. It will destroy Ocean City goes the argument. The most vocal opponents were drunks and drunk drivers. Always more to the story past the smoke and mirrors.
Todd October 05, 2013 at 07:00 AM
Just another reason to go for my run very early a.m., and then steer clear of the b-walk until noon.
vic October 05, 2013 at 08:32 AM
I can understand that some senior citizens are not physically able to endure walking the boardwalk and I would fully support having moving chairs pushed by individuals, similar to atlantic city. however, I believe than any type of motorized vehicle on the boardwalk would be hazardous and pose a potential problem to the walkers on the boardwalk.
kathi October 05, 2013 at 11:12 AM
SchoolChoiceRULES, you're not going to win an argument with these people, so you may as well just give It a rest. Lets see how it all plays out in the long run. Good luck with your business.
CTA October 05, 2013 at 07:42 PM
Just you CAN do something, does not mean that you SHOULD...... Playing the veteran card suggests a need for validation of some sort....... And, lastly. It's called a Boardwalk for reason
OCnjOC October 05, 2013 at 10:26 PM
"...attempt to make money. " Yeah, how dare a business try to use the boardwalk to make money. The boardwalk should be reserved for the people who sit around asking City Council for free stuff.
Carole J. Porch October 06, 2013 at 08:46 AM
Are you trying to stop people from coming to the Ocean City Boardwalk? It's already tough enough to maneuver up there during the season?! Is there a kick back being received or the lack of common sense being used? A motorized vehicle IS a motorized vehicle! What ? did the super storm Sandy sweep away any common sense?! This is a no win situation and needs to be nipped right in the bid, now!
John D October 10, 2013 at 12:25 PM
Imagine getting whacked in the back of the ankle with the tires.. Ouch..... No offense to the owner, but if a person is unable to walk the boardwalk due to their age/etc.. How are they going to be able to control a segway. You are standing the entire time. The scooters would be much more comfortable for an older person. If there is a pool for the first injury, please message me, I would love to get in on that action ! ! !


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