London Outlaws a Hot New Toy

Hoverboards can't be ridden in public
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2015 4:00 PM CDT
Be Careful Before Using This Hot New Toy in London
In this Oct. 30, 2014 photo, Arx Pax engineer Shauna Moran demonstrates riding a Hendo Hoverboard in Los Gatos, Calif.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

It's very exciting that hoverboards finally exist, but if you live in the UK, you may not want to buy one just yet. The Metropolitan Police tweeted out a picture of a hoverboard Sunday along with the warning, "Own one of these or thinking about getting one? They're illegal to ride in public!" The tweet included a link to a document from the Crown Prosecution Service noting that so-called "self-balancing personal transporters" are considered to be self-propelled motor vehicles, per the Department of Transport, the Wall Street Journal reports.

That means they're subject to road traffic laws, and they currently don't meet requirements for use on UK roads. Even if they did, they would—as vehicles—require registration and their users would require licenses; since they aren't covered by European legislation for vehicles that can hit speeds higher than 4mph, they cannot be registered or licensed for use on public roads. They can, however, be used on private land as long as the landowner permits it. Sky News notes that the law governing such vehicles is actually 180 years old. (A rapper was recently busted over a hoverboard.)

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