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Everything You Should Know About The Crackdown On Hoverboards In The UK

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What Could Happen If I Get Caught Riding My Hoverboard On A Foot Path?

So you’ve just gone out and spent a whole lot of money, a good 4-5 hundred pounds of money on a brand new Hoverboard but apparently according to the law you cannot ride them on any footpaths. It is yet to be seen how strictly the law will be enforced but the local police to have the power to detain and ticket anybody riding a Hoverboard on any foot path. The Crown prosecution Service announced that any personal transportation devices like Hoverboards and Segways are banned from all foot paths.

This has actually always been the law, or well, for as long as Hoverboards have been around anyways which would be circa 2011. In a case in the UK a man from a small town was charged and fined a hefty 75 pounds for riding his Segway not only on pavement but a footpath too. The judge at the case stated that the Hoverboard was in fact considered a motor vehicle and the man was in violation of the law. This transpired even though a certain Liberal Democrat MP named Lembit Opik showed up to court on a Segway; he interestingly enough was not charged.

Is This legally Based In The Books?

The law banning the Hoverboard actually goes back a very long way. No, the law does not explicitly state Hoverboards because they weren’t around yet at the time when the law was made. It is the 1835 highway Act which states that people cannot use any foot paths to “lead or drive any horse, ass, sheep, mule, swine, or cattle, or carriage of any description”. The keywords there are the carriage; it has wheels and anything with wheels therefore cannot be on a foot path. This is a law in The U.K, however Scotland uses a slightly more modern version of the law which was passed in 1984; it still prohibits Hoverboards on foot paths.

So, you may think that since Hoverboards aren’t legal on foot paths because they have wheels that they would therefore be classified as a motor vehicle and thus be legal on the road. But that actually isn’t the case, while they are classified as motor vehicles they are still not considered road worthy. The reason for this is that all motor vehicles on the road must be licensed and insured. Not only is it impossible to get Hoverboard insurance and register it with the local government. That, and to be considered road worthy a vehicle must comply with certain standards named the European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval which set out standards around construction, lighting, and safety. Both the department of transport and the EU say that Hoverboards do not meet these regulations.

If It’s Illegal On Foot Paths And On The Roads Then Where Is It Legal?

The short answer is that you can’t even ride a Hoverboard in a park and the only place you really can ride it is on private property such as at your own home; if you live in a flat this might be a problem too.

So, Does That Mean It Is Legal To Ride Hoverboards On All Private Property?

Well, unfortunately for the proud owners of Hoverboards it still is not legal to ride them in most privately owned places, that is unless it is your own private property. For most of these places you would actually need direct permission from the owner of said property to ride the Hoverboard on premises; this goes for airports, train stations, and shopping centers too. Sure, the employees at airports can ride Segways but they are being paid to do it for a reason. And even though Usain Bolt rode a Hoverboard through the arrivals terminal at Heathrow it doesn’t mean that the average Joe like you or me could get away with it.

Why The Are Some Other Motorized Vehicles Allowed?

There are some vehicles that are in fact allowed on private property that is not owned by you as well as public foot paths too. These vehicles that are not prohibited are motorized wheelchairs and mobility vehicles. This is of course pretty obvious; we make exceptions for those in need and it is not like you can ask a paraplegic to get out of his or her wheelchair!

Do The Same Rules Apply To Electric Mini Scooters and Electric Bicycles?

Ok, so the electric mini scooters are treated the exact same way as the Hoverboards are’ they have wheels, they are electric, and they are therefore not allowed on the pavement or any foot path in general. As for electric bikes they are treated somewhat differently. They are in fact exempt from certain registration, licensing, and insurance laws so they are actually treated like a regular bicycle. Keeping in mind that the electric bicycle cannot have a motor with more than 200 Watts of power and it cannot exceed 15 miles per hour, as well you must be at least 14 years of age or older to ride an electric bicycle.

So Should I Even Bother Taking My Segway On A Vacation With Me?

Even though they are banned on the pavement in the U.K because it is indeed one of the stricter countries when it comes to Hoverboards, they are not banned in places like The U.S.A, Germany, Italy, France, and Ireland too. In these places Hoverboards can often be used on both foot paths and on cycling lanes as well.

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