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Segway Scooters Recalled

WASHINGTON September 26, 2003; Niala Boodhoo writing for Reuters reported that all Segway electronic scooters, touted as an invention that would revolutionize human transport, were voluntarily recalled on Friday for a software upgrade because of a power problem, the company and U.S. safety regulators said.

Segway has received three reports of riders falling off its single-person "Human Transporters" because of the power issue, including one person who sustained a head injury that required stitches, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the company said in a joint statement.

Some Segways may not deliver enough power, especially when the batteries are running out, Segway and the safety agency said in the statement, posted on the Internet. The problem can also happen if the rider speeds up abruptly, encounters an obstacle, or continues to ride after receiving a low-battery alert.

The recall covers all of the approximately 6,000 machines sold.

"We have very high confidence in the safety of the Segway HT and this software upgrade further enhances the safety margins of the machine," the New Hampshire company said in a statement.

The Segway carries one person who stands on a small platform between two side-by-side wheels. Leaning slightly forward moves the scooter forward, leaning back makes it reverse course and turns are made by twisting the handle.

The transporter, which took over a decade for investor Dean Kamen to develop, enjoyed more than two years of hype before it went on sale at Inc.'s online store in March for $4,950.

President Bush has even been seen with a Segway, photographed this summer tumbling off one at his family's Kennebunkport, Maine, retreat.

The company said that all Segways being shipped now included the mandatory software upgrade and were labeled as such.

The new software incorporates new parameters and alerts into the existing system, which will encourage riders to travel within an "even tighter safety margin," the company said.

Segway added it was contacting owners about the upgrades. For more information, the company can be contacted at (877) 889-9020.