Segway pitch drives task force meet

Segways by the beach is the topic of an upcoming meeting of the Preserve Our Beautiful Beaches Task Force set for May 31 in Bradenton.

The task force, made up of county and Island government staff, elected officials and Keep Manatee Beautiful, will meet at 3:30 p.m. that Tuesday at G.T. Bray Recreation Center, 5502 33rd Ave. Drive W., Bradenton.

The county parks and recreation department is hosting the meeting to explore its proposal to the county commission that would provide for a Segway tour contract at Coquina Beach.

The proposal involves the county contracting with a Bradenton Beach Segway business to host tours at Coquina on the multi-use path on the Gulfside and on the shell path as well as in Leffis Key on the bayside. Other Segway use would be banned from the county-managed park, as well as in other county parks and preserves.

The commission put the brakes on that plan pending further discussion on its options.

Commissioners differed in their reasons for stalling the plan. Several questioned why the county would allow a Segway concession to operate in the public park, but not allow other Segway riders. One suggested that if there was a concern about Segways crowding the path, the county should ban the vehicles. Several others suggested that Segways should be treated like bicycles.

Commissioners discussed the issue with county staff during a work session earlier this month. Then, at a meeting two weeks ago, the board voted 6-1 to put any action on an agreement with a Segway concessionaire on hold until a general Segway policy is adopted.

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