As people, we enjoy exerting as little effort as possible to travel the farthest distances. Most recently, two-wheeled, self-balancing scooters AKA “hoverboards” (which do not, disappointingly hover) have given us this pleasure. Of late, I’ve seen adults in Brooklyn running errands (er, hovering errands?) on hoverboards, morning commuters commuting on them, and lots and lots of teenagers wearing sneakers that match their own decked out boards (like phones, hoverboards come with fashion cases, too).
But the fun is now over—or, at least, it is ticketable, on New York City streets, to the tune of (up to) $500.
Following in the footsteps of British law, which already deemed hoverboards illegal on public streets there, NYPD and New York City Department of Transportation have announced that we may no longer exercise the joy of boarding hands free on motorized scooters, Gothamist reports.
The city code first cited by police—19-176.2—that made them illegal on city streets seems not to hold up (namely, hoverboards do not have handlebars, as specified in the code, nor can they exceed the maximum specified speed limit of 15 mph). So, DOT stepped it up and found a scapegoat provision that outlawed hoverboards in the code’s stead: They are motorized vehicles that cannot be registered with the DMV (even though, technically, they are not expressly listed as such). Nonetheless, the pronouncement has been made and, watch out: Both NYPD and Parks Department can give you a ticket if you’re caught scooting on one of them down city streets.
Silver lining: Maybe now hoverboards will be less of a target for thieves, like the ones who recently punched and robbed two Crown Heights teenagers of their boards. And while movement without effort and motorized toys are fun, never hurts to get the old heart-pumping via that age old form of travel, walking.