Hoverboards are illegal to use on our streets – what would Marty McFly think of that??


The Metropolitan Police has warned that it is illegal to ride a hoverboard in public.

This comes as hoverboards (basically Segways without the handle bars) are becoming increasingly popular on London’s streets. Back to the Future’s Marty McFly, who incidentally should be arriving in a week’s time on 21st October 2015, made the hoverboard a desired future technology all 80s kids wished for. Now that technology is a reality, we aren’t allowed to use it, legally.

And why not? The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) guidelines lay out that hoverboards are unsafe for use on pavements and roads. The regulations state that “self-balancing scooters are not classed as invalid carriages and cannot be used on pavements. As self-balancing scooters are mechanically propelled they require registration and a vehicle registration licence (tax disc)”.

Hoverboard riders (skaters?) are required to have a driver’s licence and at least third party insurance before taking their self-balancing scooters on the roads. Not unreasonable. However there is currently no process for gaining a licence, insurance or taxing a hoverboard, as they don’t meet road safety standards.

Initially, the rules were created for Segways and because they are powered by an electric motor they are subject to road traffic laws. Now, as a development of the Segway, the hoverboard is subject to the same restrictions.

Strangely, the CPS restrictions don’t apply to electric bikes, which fall under bicycle guidelines and can be used in cycle lanes and tracks, but as you can’t pedal a hoverboard, it can’t be used in a bike lane. Surely then the same should apply to mobility scooters?

“So where on earth can I use my hoverboard?” I hear you ask — only on private property. Though could this actually be a good thing? In Prague they have already created designated no-Segway zones and let’s not forget that time Usain Bolt was knocked off his feet seconds after winning gold at the World Athletics Championships! I mean, that man is the fastest runner on earth and those were his legs being ploughed into!

With so much controversy around Segways and hoverboards I wonder what regulations will restrict the flying car. I’m not talking ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ here – I mean real flying cars! Again, I’m back on “Back to the Future” where the series showed us a flying DeLorean from 2015. So, 30 years after the release of the movies, where’s our Hill Valley Skyway? Sci-fi’s flying cars typically float off the ground without a rail or guideway. In 2015, we can’t actually do that.

“Now, there’s one breakthrough technology that could change all this: an effective antigravity device — of course, we don’t even understand gravity on a theoretical level at this point, so antigravity might take a little longer,” says futurist, Michael Rogers. “On the other hand, 150 years ago we didn’t have a realistic theory of electricity either, and we’ve done pretty well with it since then.”

Watch this space – I’m sure we’ll be arguing over the price of insurance to cover our flying cars sooner than anticipated.