Segways on trial in Airlie Beach
LOCALS and visitors to the region will now be able to ride a Segway-style personal mobility device in and around Airlie Beach.
Whitsunday Regional Council has approved a trial of the machines for the next six months.
Three local business operators, each operating 10 Segway-style machines, have been given the green light to conduct tours via footpaths, cycle ways, foreshores and boardwalks.
Mayor Jennifer Whitney said this was on the proviso that “there is harmony between these machines and our pedestrian traffic”.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the three applicants to gain approval with Council expressing some safety concerns and only approving the six month trial at this stage.
Last month, councillors also resolved that if three or more incidents or accidents occurred, the trial operation would cease.
Fun Rentals owner Iyas Shaheen, who is one of the operators running the tours, said the application to Council was made after the Queensland Government legalised Segway-style devices in August last year.
He said getting the approvals had been a long process but one he was pleased to see resolved.
In order to minimise any risks Mr Shaheen opted for smaller devices that weigh about 80kg, equivalent to the weight of a push bike.
“They’re smaller, less obtrusive on the sidewalk, less intimidating to a pedestrian and easier to handle,” he said.
Fun Rentals have now started conducting daily morning and afternoon tours showcasing Airlie Beach, Cannonvale and the foreshore.
Mr Shaheen said the feedback so far had been great.
“They’re great fun, we haven’t had any incidents and everybody seems to have a really positive reaction to them,” he said.
“Plus the town needed more landbased activities for tourists – we give them plenty to do on the water but they needed more here.”
Cr Whitney said Segway tours had proved extremely popular overseas and she hoped they could be enjoyed safely and add a unique new tourism experience for visitors to Airlie Beach for years to come.
“Segway tours will be a fantastic new tourism product for the local area and another way to enjoy our beautiful foreshore,” she said.
MOVING ON: German tourists Felix Beckmann and Pian Karhs (far left and centre), joined Fun Rentals owner Iyas Shaheen (centre right) and Nomads staff Tegan Dunn and Emily Peters, for a Segway tour to Port of Airlie on Monday afternoon.