Virginia could soon be spared the terrors of drunken Segway drivers.
Under a bill proposed by a Fairfax County senator, the battle for safe streets could be taken to any desperado riding a bike, an “electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, or moped” on a highway while intoxicated.
Thank goodness, the measure wouldn’t affect people zipping up and down the aisles of Walmart on electric scooters. But when was the last time anyone took a Segway for a spin on the highway, boozed up or otherwise?
Come on! And yet this is not a Gob-related subplot in an episode of “Arrested Development.” If passed, offenders would be hit with a Class 2 misdemeanor. That could mean that at least six months in the pokey and a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
Lloyd J. “Bud” Vye, the treasurer and advocacy director for the Virginia Biking Federation, said the organization isn’t opposed to the bill – how could they be? But it’s also hard to see that it addresses a real problem.
“We don’t see a lot of bicyclists going around intoxicated,” Vye said in an interview Wednesday. “I suppose the ones they found intoxicated were dead and did something stupid.”
The bill – which was first held up for some gentle scorn by Virginian-Pilot columnist Kerry Dougherty – is the well-intentioned doing of state Sen. George L. Barker (D) and a group of Fairfax County high school students who helped draft it.
The students at Centreville High School who teamed up with Barker to write the bill and other legislation didn’t actually include the stuff about the Segway, Dougherty found. She says that was added by grownups on the General Assembly’s legislative staff.
The students were more focused on doing something about drunken bicyclists. But that’s a fear that’s also farfetched. A bigger concern might be why the state that gave us Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and the Bill of Rights would even trifle with nanny laws.
Vye said he hopes the bill – which is scheduled to be taken up in committee Wednesday — would slink off to a quiet death, perhaps to join some of the Virginia General Assembly’s other legislative doozies. (Cf. Droopy drawers, “Mark of the Beast” microchip, anatomically correct truck ornaments, etc.)
“I can’t visualize an intoxicated person trying to do a Segway,” Vye said. “I can’t do it sober.”
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