Thousands of students congest the bike paths with bikes, skateboards and even scooters to get from class to class, but Sidney Pickern, a sophomore literature major in the College of Creative Studies, is the only one riding a Segway Human Transporter.

“You don’t see too many around, that’s for sure,” said Pickern of the two-wheeled transport that tops out at 12.5 mph.

The manufacturers, Segway LLC, issued a voluntary recall last Friday of approximately 6,000 units sold between March 2002 and September 2003, after three reported accidents that occurred when the unit ran out of power and fell over. These accidents, including one reported head injury requiring stitches, happened after the machine ran out of power and its balancing mechanism failed.

Pickern has been riding her Segway for a week, and hasn’t had any problems with it, although she is getting company-recommended software to correct the potential problem.

“If you see [the warning light] flashing, just get off,” said Pickern. “Treat it with respect, and you won’t get hurt; it’s a machine and it has a lot of power.”

Segway could not be reached for comment, but in the recall alert issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Segway, owners of Segway units are urged to call a toll-free number to arrange for a software upgrade that would alert them to a low battery sooner.

“It’s only a danger if you’re on the fastest setting. If you were going 12 miles an hour then you could probably break some bones,” said Pickern.

Pickern, who has difficulty walking due to a disability, would otherwise rely on a motorized scooter to help her get to class. Though not marketed as an aid for those with disabilities, Pickern said the Segway has been an improvement, despite the recent recall.

“I prefer it, being face to face with people, and it’s more efficient than a buggy,” Pickern said, referring to the more common motorized scooter.