I refer to your Backspace article in the Technology section on May 20 about the Segway scooter. I am no fan of the Hong Kong Transport Department except in the matter of their classifying the Segway as a road vehicle. You are wrong to say the Segway is banned. You can apply for a licence to use it on the road as with any other motor vehicle. The whole point is that it should be a road vehicle, but the marketing push has been to get it accepted by many cities and states as a yuppy toy for pedestrian pavements. I collected this exchange from an online forum months ago revealing a perspective which most technology geeks probably would never think about. Hal wrote: 'The inventor of this device has fallen into the trap that many creative inventors fall into - create a solution in search of a problem. What is the problem being addressed here? Is there a niche here that is still unfilled? I don't think so.' De wrote: 'I think it has a niche, but one thing that annoys me is that it seems the Segway is the car version of a scooter or bike, meaning it requires no physical skill or exertion. In other words, it is like driving a car - you just stand there and it does all the work, and you do not have to have balance or dexterity. 'I won't get too revved up on this rant but it does alarm me sometimes that at least half the technology we invent is dedicated to making it easier to exist completely without skill, knowledge, or abilities. 'We are beginning to think it perfectly normal for the average person to not be dextrous to the point of disability, not to mention inattentive and stupid. 'The flip-side of this of course is the redefinition of ordinary activities, like cycling and walking, as special, dangerous or in need of regulation. First we make it normal to travel everywhere sitting in a box, then we decide it is dangerous to travel by modes which mean you might have to rely on your own proprioceptive ability and where there is the possibility of tripping, falling down or getting wet. 'I approve wholeheartedly of hi-tech advances that supplement limited function for the disabled, but I have to express some reservations about technology that enables healthy, able, functional people to reduce their level of functionality to what I would consider subnormal. 'Anyway, the Segway (even if it is used on factory floors) strikes me as just another way for healthy people to avoid walking, roller-skating, scootering, cycling or any other mode of transport that might be cheap, simple and provide exercise. We have had tricycles, bikes and roller-skate messengers and couriers in factories and parks for many years. 'If you offered me the choice between rollerblading and 'Segwaying' around the FedEx warehouse, I would take the skates - they are much more fun.' Name and address supplied Section editor Neil Taylor replies: The hi-tech celebrity scooter Segway is, in fact, banned in Hong Kong. In the January 28, 2003, issue of this section, we ran a story on the Transport Department's response to our query about driving the Segway in Hong Kong. Anyone who rides the Segway on Hong Kong pavements, parks or roads risks being fined up to HK$8,000 and being banned from driving for 12 months, according to the Transport Department.