Good news for Californian fans of self-balancing scooters – new legislation will make the futuristic hoverboards legal to ride on roads and public pathways beginning next year.
Previously it had been illegal and use was supposed to be confined to private land with permission from the landowner. The new ruling does have conditions. Riders must wear safety gear and cannot operate their scooter while under the influence of drink or drugs. And landowners can still ban usage on their property even if that property is open to the public, such as malls and airports.
California leads the way when it comes to hoverboards…
California has been at the heart of the self-balancing scooter phenomenon as the home of trend-setting celebrities and nice weather as well of lots of techy startups and first-adopter entrepreneurs. So it is no wonder they are among the first to have to reconsider the ban on the increasingly popular hoverboards.
Part of the issue is how quickly the self-balancing scooter became so popular and usage sky-rocketed. Legislation could not keep up and law enforcement is left with only hopelessly outdated guidance. California’s law was decades old – put in place in the 70s and covering motorised skateboards using petrol. That’s a very different consideration from the quiet, electronic hoverboards we are seeing today.
So it may be that more states and cities will follow suit and update their laws. The ban persists in other areas such as London, where the Metropolitan police issued a statement confirming that using the scooters was not permitted in public. Their advice has gone largely unnoticed by enthusiastic fans who continue to ride their scooters in the capital and by fans in other places who will be hoping for law enforcement to take a more progressive view.