You’ve heard the old cliche about a businessman who took over a business and drove it off a cliff? From England comes a sad story about Jim Heselden, the businessman and philanthropist who bought Segway, accidentally drove himself off a cliff in a Segway:
The multi-millionaire owner of the Segway company died in a freak accident yesterday when he rode one of the high-tech two-wheel machines off a cliff and into a river.
Former miner Jimi Heselden, 62, plunged into the River Wharfe while riding around his North Yorkshire estate in Boston Spa on a rugged country version of the Segway.
He bought the firm last December and was using one of the machines – which use gyroscopes to remain upright and are controlled by the direction in which the rider leans – to inspect the grounds of his property.
A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said today: ‘Police were called at 11.40am yesterday to reports of a man in the River Wharfe, apparently having fallen from the cliffs above.
‘A Segway-style vehicle was recovered.
‘He was pronounced dead at the scene.
‘At this time we do not believe the death to be suspicious.’
Invesitgators are probing whether there was a fault with his particular machine or it was driver error.
The Daily Mail’s story further points out that Heselden just recently became one of his country’s biggest philanthropists The helps disadvantaged kids, seniors health improvement proejects in Leeds..
The Segway is an almost mythical form of transportation for the wrong reasons. It was unveiled with huge fanfare and mystery as someone that could potentially replace the car. It has proven to be far less than that but those who have one love it and it’s popular with some police forces, postal services, golf clubs and other groups and some private citizens all over the world. But more of a novelty item than something that took the world by storm and changed transportation history.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.