Three potential benefits to all, if the Segway takes off and gains full acceptance in this country:
- Whether or not it gets allowed on sidewalks, towns will be pressured to build more bike lanes. Getting more bike lanes isn't easy so if we can gain some lanes due to the Kamen PR machine and funding, at least it will benefit others besides just segway owners.
- If it gets popular, it will reduce the number of cars in downtown areas and the all the associated parking hassles, exhaust, and danger that comes from mixing lots of cars in a small space with lots of people. Downtown areas could be safer to pedestrians and bicyclists.
- I didn't see a demo of it climbing stairs, so if successful, the company behind it might also help and/or pressure urban areas to become friendlier to people with different mobility needs. If you couldn't ride a wheelchair from one end of New York City to the other in the year 2000, you might be able to in the year 2005.
So if you walk, ride a bike, or are disabled, you have a lot to gain if this new mode of transportation takes off.