Bruce Rathwell

Update: Electric vehicles get flashy promotion on mid-Island

NANAIMO – Man in Flash costume wants B.C. laws updated to reflect current commuter technologies.

A tall man wearing a bright red “Flash” superhero costume and riding a Segway is sparking up awareness on the mid Island about laws surrounding the personal transportation devices.

Danny (Hurricane) Halmo is a custom car builder from Langley, B.C., on a mission to update laws in B.C. that currently restrict the use of Segway self-balancing personal transporters from use on public roads. He’s also out to establish a Guinness World Record for the longest distance travelled on a Segway.

“The infrastructure and the law has not caught up to our technology,” Halmo said.

Halmo, 57, earned his nickname when he took electric bikes on the road in 2005 to raise food and supplies for Hurricane Katrina victims and for Help the Hungry, a charity promotion in 2011. He also created FEVER, the Formula Electric Vehicle Entertainment and Racing Association, which Halmo said, hosts the world’s only 24-hour endurance challenge for light electric vehicles.

Segways, unlike electric bikes and mobility scooters, are prohibited from use on public streets and highways, commuter paths and park trails even though, Halmo said, the machines operate at similar speeds to mobility scooters, are lighter and more manoeuvrable and the rider’s standing position provides far better visibility.

A city bylaw amendment allows the units on Nanaimo’s Bowen park trails. Victoria-based company Ride the Glide runs tours in Bowen Park and loaned two Segways for the promotion.

Halmo and Bruce Rathwell, father of Sun Country Highway founder Kent Rathwell, started from Salt Spring Island Sunday and are gathering names on a petition they wants to present to B.C. Premier Christy Clark during an event they are planning.

Rathwell, 71, is following Halmo in a Sun Country Highway Chevy Volt carrying a spare Segway.

The men passed through Nanaimo Monday and will visit Nanoose and Parksville before turning south toward Victoria to complete the 500-kilometre promotional trip.

“We’re making it up as we go because what we’re doing is we’re following Sun Country charging systems,” Rathwell said. “We follow them because I’m the service manager and we check them.”

A Sun Country Highway vehicle charger is located in Gordon Street Parkade in downtown Nanaimo.

The men plan to complete their trip by Oct. 15.

“Our goal is to run about 50, 60 clicks a day,” Halmo said. “We’re cranking it up. We didn’t know the range of the Segways.”

Halmo also plans to cross Canada on a Segway in 2017 and stage a 150-Segway parade to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary of confederation.

“After I get across Canada next year, I want to go around the world on a Seqway,” Halmo said.

 

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