If you’ve been to New York lately, you’ve likely seen — or crashed into someone on — one of those electric “hoverboards.” You were likely annoyed, and the City of New York (yes, that’s city with a capital C) feels the same way.
The New York Police Department tweeted earlier this week: “Be advised that the electric hoverboard is illegal as per NYC Admin code 19-176.2.” The tweet has since been deleted, but the New York Department of Transportation told Mashable that motorized self-balancing devices, including “segways, hoverboards and other personal transporters,” are prohibited in New York City by New York State law.
That law is hardly new; the only difference is the Department of Transportation clarifying that so-called “swagways” (or hoverboards) are now included under that law.
“Some of the devices are expressly prohibited but all of them would be considered motor vehicles under the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL),” Jose Bayona, the deputy press secretary Press Secretary at NYDOT, told Mashable. “The VTL requires all motor vehicles to be registered with the NYSDMV (with an exception for ADA related use). Since none of them may be registered they are not permitted.”
People found in violation may face fines up to $500 — or passive-aggressive glares. And it’s not just New York; riding hoverboards is also illegal in the UK.
The law has had its fare share of backlash. Some pointed out that the code referred to wheeled devices with handlebars — which the motorized scooter does not have — or devices that travel over 15 miles per hour. The scooter maxes out at 6 mph.