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

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.

The precinct recently tweeted this warning, which has since been deleted:

Be advised that the electric #hoverboard is illegal as per NYC Admin. Code 19-176.2 #Morningside #Harlem #Christmas pic.twitter.com/Y5Nk3hzBlq — NYPD 26th Precinct (@NYPD26Pct) November 16, 2015

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 motorised scooter in the city of New York." The definition of a motorised 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 "motorised 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 motorised 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 $US500 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.

The 26th Precinct claims not to know who sent the tweet. 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, footpaths, highways, parking lots.

In other words: New Yorkers should keep their hoverboarding to their apartment and the park.

[Twitter, Gothamist]

Image via Getty.