Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

Norway: Segway Ban Lifted

(Sept. 30, 2014) On July 1, 2014, the unlicensed use of the self-balancing personal transport device (selvbalanserende kjøretøy), commonly known as the Segway, became legal on the streets of Norway. The device has been prohibited in the country for years because of its ability to reach relatively high speeds (20km/h, about 12.4 mph) and therefore operate more like a moped; drivers of mopeds are required to have licenses. (Norway Lifts Segway Ban, LOCAL (July 1, 2014).)

Earlier this year the issue of whether the use of Segways should be permitted was sent for consideration to the Ministry of Transport and Communications (Samferdselsdepartementet), which found that it was appropriate to treat the vehicle like a bicycle rather than a moped, provided that its maximum attainable speed was limited to 20km/h. (“Ståhjulinger” på høring, Statens Vegvesen [Norwegian Public Roads Administration] website (Mar. 26, 2014); Pressemelding, Nr.: 89/14, Fra 1. juli kan du kjøre selvbalanserende kjøretøy i Norge, [Press Release, No. 89/14, June 13, 2014 , from July 1, You Can Operate a Self-Balancing Vehicle in Norway], Samferdselsdepartementet website.)

Norway still has rules in place requiring that anyone who uses a Segway be at least 16 years old and limits the number of passengers on each device to one (i.e., the driver). (Ståhjuling, Statens Vegvesen website (last updated July 7, 2014).) However, there is no requirement that the operator wear a helmet. (Id.)

The device may be used on pedestrian and bicycle paths as well as on public roads where the maximum speed is less than 60km/h. (Id.) When travelling on pedestrian streets, the Segway may only be driven at walking speed. (20§ 4 Forskrift (FOR-1986-03-21-747) om kjørende og gående trafikk (Trafikkregler) [Regulations (FOR-1986-03-21-747) for Vehicular and Pedestrian Traffic (Traffic Rules)], LOVDATA.)

As in the case of motor vehicle, moped, or bicycle users, Segway operators are subject to a 0.02% alcohol limit, and cellphone use is not permitted. (Ståhjuling, supra.)

The use of the Segway, like the use of a bicycle, requires no permit, registration, or additional insurance. (Press Release, supra.)

Segways may not be used in forests, on ice-covered lakes, and in other environments where there are no pedestrian or bicycle paths. However, they are not prohibited in national parks in place with bicycle or walking trails. (Id.)