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Segway Recalls Scooters For Software Snafu

A software update must be applied at a dealership or service center, said Segway, which has set up a toll-free number and a section of its Web site to take upgrade requests.

Segway Inc. Thursday recalled all 23,000 of the high-tech scooters it's shipped to date because a software glitch can suddenly reverse the wheels, pitching off the rider. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) told consumers to stop using the stand-up scooters immediately.

The Bedford, N.H.-based company acknowledged that it had received 6 reports of the problem, which resulted in unspecified head and wrist injuries. According to Segway and the CPSC, the wheels may switch into reverse when the governor (called Speed Limiter in Segway lingo) engages, tilting back the machine, and the rider comes off and then back on within a short time.

All models sold since the 2002 debut of the then-highly-anticipated gizmo, named "Personal Transporter" at the time, are affected. A software update must be applied, said Segway, which has set up a toll-free number (800-750-6557) and a section of its Web site to take upgrade requests.

The updates will be done at Segway's 100 dealerships and service centers; the company will pay for shipping a scooter if necessary.

"We strongly encourage our customers to obtain the upgrade as soon as possible," said Jim Norrod, the company's chief executive, in a statement.

This is the second recall of the Segway. In March 2003, it voluntarily recalled the first 6,000 sold for a problem that could cause the rider to fall as the machine's batteries neared empty. A software update was the fix in that incident as well.

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