Hollywood promised us hoverboards by 2015. And while Lexus created a board that actually hovers in carefully controlled conditions, the rest of us have to settle for non-hovering electric scooters with wheels. We want real hoverboards so badly that we’ve allowed these ‘hoverboards’ into our hearts and wallets, with at least one of them basically winning Halloween:
Now, they’re becoming part of the next big holiday season: the Christmas shopping wars. Yesterday, the NYPD’s 26th Precinct (located in Harlem) sent out the above-pictured tweet, noting that the electric hoverboard is illegal “as per NYC Admin. Code 19-176.2”
Let the Twitter riot commence.
Many people pointed out that the code cited (which bans motorized scooters) actually seemed to allow hoverboards. Here is the full text of the code:
The legal scholars of Twitter took issue with the fact that electric hoverboards don’t have handlebars, and seem to fall into the category of either “electric powered devices not capable of exceeding fifteen miles per hour” (most electric hoverboards on the market max out at 12 mph, but there are exceptions in development) or the “electric personal assistive mobility devices”.
The tweet in question has since been taken down by the account, but that doesn’t mean that the #hoverboardwars are over.
While that particular code makes it seem like hoverboards are legal (#notalawyer), you shouldn’t put on your self-lacing shoes and head out for a celebratory wheeled hover just yet. Gothamist looked into the issue and found that while there were conflicting opinions from different members of the NYPD, the NYC Department of Transportation has decreed them illegal because they are “motor vehicles that cannot be registered with the DMV,” and people caught riding them by the NYPD could face fines of $500.
And it’s not just limited to New York. In the UK, hoverboards are illegal on sidewalks and roads, also under existing legislation.