The Self-Balancing Hoverboard or Swegway is the must-have personal transporter this year and one of the best electric scooter gadgets of the century, but are they legal in NYC and how about California? Are Self Balancing Scooters legal in my city or State?
As we know, laws differ from State to State in the US and there can be a confusing array of differences between places regarding the legality of certain things. New gadgets are especially prone to gray areas in the law as the lawmakers may struggle to keep up with the pace of development in technology.
The self-balancing hoverboard or segway scooter is no different. These self-transportation devices have been around for a while already but it seems that NYC and California have only recently made up their minds regarding the legal status of the Hoverboard.
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NYC and California Have Opposing Views
Typically, the two States at opposite sides of the country also have opposite legal standpoints when it comes to the Swegway.
In short, you cannot use your Self-Balancing hoverboard in public in NYC but you are OK to use one in California if you stick to the cycle ways and keep out of pedestrian-only areas.
Here is how the different States have played it regarding personal transportation devices.
NYPD have recently been known to issue warnings and even $200 fines for using a hoverboard in a public place. Be warned!
In NYC the Segway and Self-Balancing Scooter is categorized as motorized vehicles that cannot be registered and as such, riding one may result in this heavy £200 penalty.
California has tried to deal with the legal gray areas by passing a law in January next year that will allow riders to use their Segways and Self-Balancing Scooter devices in the Cycle Lanes and pathways.
The Californian lawmakers have short-distance commuters in mind and will do what they can to ease the heavy traffic congestion that it's roads experience at peak times.
Laws Can Vary By Local Municipality
However, even in California local municipalities will be able to amend the Segway laws to allow for the local situation in their own town,.
There have been many stories recently in the press about the self-balancing hoverboard and how kids have been using them to get around in the mall or transport themselves to school each morning.
Until recently each place that a hoverboard has been used has applied its own rules. For example, a mall may have banned hoverboards because of liability issues.
A school may have already experienced an accident
A school may have already experienced an accident where a pedestrian was injured or a local resident association may have been concerned about kids using hoverboards in the street.
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Riding A Hoverboard In The Mall
It is, of course OK for a mall to apply its' own rules on what they allow to happen inside the building. Schools and other public buildings can also decide how people move around in their properties, and they are quite correct to be concerned about potential insurance litigation.
It is no secret that self-balancing hoverboards are a little tricky to move around on and accidental falls can occur. If you are in any doubt that people fall off their Segways or hoverboard scooters then look no further than Youtube, where many people have been kind enough to post hilarious and often embarrassing videos.
Let's not pretend otherwise, self-balancing scooter or Swegway riders can lose balance and fall off their transportation devices!
This is the main reason that the laws discussed here exist in the first place. However, kids just want to have fun and are often oblivious to the dangers that adults see.
The fact that it's easy to fall off never stopped a kid riding a skateboard or bike and Swegway scooters are no different in this regard!
Kids want them in their tens of thousands
Both children and young adults in California will really benefit from their ability to use the Swegway or Self-Balancing Scooter in public legally.
There is no doubt that, in spite of the legal issues that this device is one of the most popular gifts for the holidays and has seen enormous growth this year.
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If you are considering a purchase, remember that there are different types of hoverboard. In fact, they fall broadly into 3 categories.
Types Of Self-balancing Scooter Available:
- High end 2 wheeled self-balancing scooters that cost around $1200
- Single wheeled Unicycle type of self balancing scooter
- Cheaper, budget self-balancing hoverboard
Remember that the best electric scooter hoverboards are UL2272 Certifiedfor safety like the Swagtron T3 featured on this page. Meanwhile, have fun!