Hoverboards Are Illegal in NYC, Still Should Not Be Called Hoverboards

Illustration for article titled Hoverboards Are Illegal in NYC, Still Should Not Be Called Hoverboards

The 26th Precinct of the NYPD is here to crap on your futurist dreams and promote safe streets.

British police issued a similar declaration last month. Nevertheless, some armchair legal research suggests that the code cited by 26th Precincts social media officer does allow these mini-Segways to surf through the city. NYC Administrative code does say that “No person shall operate a motorized scooter in the city of New York.” The definition of a motorized scooter doesn’t appear to include what the internet calls “hoverboards.” Here’s the actual wording of the law:

For purposes of this section, the term “motorized scooter” shall mean any wheeled device that has handlebars…


So not the handlebar-free thing pictured in the NYPD tweet? It gets more convoluted:

For the purposes of this section, the term motorized scooter shall not include… “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.

Gothamist points out that the NYPD has produced conflicting statements about the legality of so-called hoverboards in the past. However, a rep from the New York City Department of Transportation confirmed that the annoying little vehicles are illegal under state law since they can’t be registered with the DMV. If you’re caught riding zooming around on one of these things, you could face a $500 fine.

If you’re caught referring to a non-hovering electric personal assistive mobility device as a hoverboard, however, you will be shamed in the comments section.


Update 4pm: The 26th Precinct has removed its tweet and claims not to know who sent it. Meanwhile, BuzzFeed offers a little bit more clarity:

The city’s Department of Transportation does consider hoverboards motor vehicles, and any motor vehicle that cannot be registered with the New York State is illegal to ride in any area that allows registered motor vehicle traffic, including streets, sidewalks, highways, parking lots.

In other words: New Yorkers, keep your hoverboarding to your apartment and the park.


[Twitter, Gothamist]

Image via Getty.

Contact the author at adam@gizmodo.com.
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Can we please begin calling them by my preferred terminology: Douche Shoes ? I think it’s really the only appropriate way to identify these things.