Let’s talk about hoverboard law for 2016 and beyond. As is often the case with personal transportation devices many countries, states, cities, universities, airlines, airports, and malls are making rules and laws to either restrict or ban hoverboards.
One main reason for this is due to the increasing fear related to instances of hoverboard fires and explosions. The fire hazard caused by cheap faulty models, and/or people abusing and damaging them, is responsible for a lot of the recent bans.
Even though a few bad apples has given rise to some unfortunate laws and rules hopefully with the new UL certification statute going into effect some of these bans and/or restrictions will gradually be lifted.
In addition to fears about fires some authorities are banning motorized standing scooters because they believe people will get hurt riding them. In our view this is totally ridiculous. It is equivalent to banning cars, bikes, or motorcycles because they have the potential to crash.
The good news is that despite the bans hoverboards are still allowed in most areas. Even if laws do exist that could be used to restrict them, they are not being enforced.
If you own a hoverboard (or are thinking about buying one) and want to know if you will be able to ride it in public or private please read the list below.
Below we will cover all of the places we know about where hoverboards are either currently illegal, banned, or restricted and where those laws are being actively enforced.
We will continue to do our best to update this list when and if things change.
Countries, States, and Cities That Are Restricting Hoverboards
Hoverboards are banned from public roads and pathways in the entire country. Unfortunately they are only allowed on private property or indoors.
In Australia whether or not you will be allowed to ride a hoverboard in public will depend on the area you are located in. Below is a list of each providence and the laws there.
New South Wales
It is not legal to ride electric standing scooters in New South Wales. They are classified as “motor vehicles” and thus are required to be registered and insured. But since they are not designed like a motor vehicle (and have no similarity whatsoever) it is impossible for them to conform to the safety standards designed and intended specifically for “motor vehicles”. Most areas that ban hoverboards do so under this same type of premise.
It is kind of like calling a hoverboard a plane and then saying it has to conform to same safety standards as planes do. But in order to comply with the safety standards it has to have wings. Since it does not have wings it will never measure up. Obviously this type of reasoning makes no sense. Nonetheless this is the way the laws are being interpreted to apply to hoverbords.
Unlike New South Wales, in Queensland standing scooters are not considered to be motor vehicles. Instead someone riding a hoverboard is classified as a pedestrian. They can be used on none motor vehicle pathways. The top speed must be no more than 10 km/h. Also the motors cannot have a combined power greater than 200 watts.
The speed limit of the road they are traveling on must be 50 km/h or less and only in daylight hours. Queensland is the most hoverboard friendly providence in Australia.
Victoria laws are not very reasonable, but still more forgiving than New South Wales. It allows for a hoverboard to have a combined motor output of 200 watts before it is considered to be a “motor vehicle”.
Once it is considered a motor vehicle registration and insurance is mandatory. Again because the safety requirements are impossible to meet it is not possible to register them. There are no laws banning hoverboards specifically but they become illegal by default.
Hoverboards are considered motor vehicles in Western Australia and again cannot be registered or insured and therefore would not be allowed on public roadways and pathways. They are only allowed off road and private property. Western Australia laws are similar to New South Wales.
Electric standing scooters are banned in Hong Kong from public roadways and paths. This is because they are classified as motor vehicles. Hong Kong considers operating a hoverboard in public as an unsafe risk to the rider and people nearby. Therefore they refuse to register or insure them.
Standing Scooters are considered motor vehicles but at the same time do not meet requirements for registration, and therefore are illegal to ride in public. You can only ride them on private property.
The precedent for this is the prosecution of individuals riding Segways (the predecessors of hoveboards) starting in 2011 using the Highway Act of 1835 Section 72, which applies to footpaths. So they are not allowed on footpaths because of the Highway Act of 1835. And they are not allowed on roads because you can’t register them.
The 1835 law applied to horses drawn carts and other animals riding on footpaths. So again the laws being used to ban hoverboards are stretched way beyond their logical intended purpose. A hoverboard has no similarity whatsoever to a horse drawn cart or and automobile.
Hoverboards are banned on public streets and pathways under the Roads Act of 1984
Dubai passed a law making it illegal to ride a hoverboard in a shopping mall. So if you are going shopping in Dubai you will have the leave the scooter at home.
Hoverboards are considered motorized vehicles in Toronto. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on sidewalks.
They are also not allowed on the roads because the opposite is true for Ontario law which does not qualify them as a motor vehicles.
The good news is that police don’t seem currently to be enforcing the law.
Hoverboard Laws US (United States)
California is currently the only place we know of that has passed a law specifically for hoverboards. A new law took effect On January 1st 2016 categorizing hoverboards as “electronically motorized boards”.
Before the new hoverboard law in California it was actually illegal to ride a motorized standing scooter. Now however it is legal provided you are at least 16 years old and wearing a helmet. The speed limit for electronically motorized boards” is 15 mph. Also you can only ride on streets with a speed limit of 35 mph or less.
New York City
Hoverboard laws in New York say riders are banned from all public areas in New York City. Standing scooters are classified as motor vehicles. Some groups are fighting to get this classification overturned. But for the time being police can fine you hundreds of dollars for each offense.
The transportation devices are banned from public trains.
Other places that banned hoverboards
In addition to the country, state, and city laws some private property owners are banning them. Below is a list of private property they are banned on.
- Some shopping malls and retail stores.
- Most major colleges and universities in the US
- All major US airlines have banned hoverboards over fire concerns.
- Disney have banned standing scooters in all theme parks.
- Some public grade schools
We don’t want to write and exhaustive list of every single university, college, and private property that is banning them. Such a list would be too long, is not practical to use, and the status can change at any moment.
If you are working at or going to a college or university then you would have already been notified if they are banned there. If you plan on attending one of those institutions in the near future you can give them a call to find out if your electric scooter will be allowed.
For malls and shopping centers simply contact mall security. Security should be able to tell you if they are banned. The same applies to any retail stores, buildings, or private properties.
For any other cities we didn’t mention – those may or may not have certain laws which could possible give authorities the power to try and restrict or limit the use of a hoverboard. Looking up the laws for every single city in the world is not possible on our end. We only focused on the ones cracking down on them and that are vocal about it in the press.
In addition keep in mind that because hoverboards are so new their may not be laws in certain areas that have been interpreted to apply to them. If you try and do a search for hoverboard laws in Florda, Texas, or Illinois for example you won’t find any information about it.
Also keep in mind often time’s police may use none existent or misapplied laws to try and force you off of a hoverboard. In such cases it is the officer arbitrarily making up their own rules. Obviously we have no way to predict when and if that would happen in your own local area. Please use you own common sense when deciding on whether or not you will ride one on your own local area.
We hope this legal hoverboard guide has been helpful to you. If you know of any recent changes in laws we didn’t update on please feel free to contact us and let us know.