Though most of the chatter surrounding the increasing popularity of so-called hoverboards tends to get mired in "…but they don’t actually hover" semantics, another equally important and/or unnecessarily time-consuming debate has emerged: Are hoverboards even legal? When British citizens learned that riding a hoverboard in public was actually illegal thanks to some ridiculous 180-year-old law, they quickly sent in some investigators to hover ride around near cops to see if they would be arrested. They were not. However, that debate has now invaded New York City thanks to one eventually deleted but BuzzFeed-screengrabbed tweet from an NYPD account:
Being that the internet is practically bursting at the seams with vehement hoverboard enthusiasts, a nice list of legal exemptions started to bubble up in response to the NYPD’s tweet, including this:
"For the purposes of this section, the term motorized scooter shall not include wheelchairs or other mobility aids designed for use by disabled persons, electric powered devices not capable of exceeding fifteen miles per hour or “electric personal assistive mobility devices” defined as self-balancing, two non-tandem wheeled devices designed to transport one person by means of an electric propulsion system."
Most hoverboards are most certainly not capable of any such speed-minded madness as 15 miles per hour or anything near that, making their status as "personal assistive mobility devices" relatively secure. As noted by BuzzFeed, all of this legal beef is quite a thrill until you realize that hoverboards are still considered "motor vehicles," meaning cruising around on an unregistered hoverboard would most certainly be just shy of legal. For what it's worth (it's admittedly worth nothing), the legendary hoverboard pictured at the top of this article is a real hoverboard. It hovers. It's a board. It's a "hoverboard."