Hoverboard owner in the UK? Today we share insight on hoverboard laws in the UK. Find out whether it is legal or illegal to ride hoverboards in public in the UK here.
Nothing beats the feeling of riding your newly acquired hoverboard down the street, feeling the wind blowing through your hair.
You’ve just figured out how to ride your hoverboard, and now you wanna roam the streets and explore your local area on your new two-wheeled best friend.
However, you’ve probably noticed all the attention the hoverboard has been getting in the media. Some people hate it, some people love it. There are those who use it avidly and those who want it gone from any type of public area.
Today we explain the current hoverboard laws in the UK so you get familiar with what you can and cannot do on your hoverboard. Still wondering which hoverboard to get? Check out your selection of the best hoverboards of 2020.
Well, we hate to break it to you, but the UK is actually one of those countries that regulate hoverboards. It is illegal to ride a hoverboard in the public in the UK. This includes public pavements and roads.
The potential consequence of getting caught doing so is you’ll receive a fine. In 2011, a 51-year-old man was the first person in the UK to receive a fine for riding a Segway in public (which falls into the same category as a hoverboard in terms of the law).
He was fined £75 so something along those lines is to be expected if you still decide to brave the streets.
We know it’s a bummer, but hoverboards are officially banned in the UK. It is completely legal to own a hoverboard, however, and you may use it as much as you want on private grounds. It’s only the act of riding it on public grounds that is against the UK law.
If you take a closer look at the law surrounding this whole issue, this is where things start to get comical.
You’d think that the UK hoverboard ban was a recent initiative, but actually, it’s an almost 200 years old law that prohibits the use of hoverboards in the public.
The Highways Act from 1835 is the sinner at play here. In the Act, it is stated that there’s a penalty for people who “lead or drive any Horse, Ass, Sheep, Mule, Swine, or Cattle, or Carriage of any Description, or any Truck or Sledge.”
This includes hoverboards. Who would have thought that hoverboards were illegal in the United Kingdom because it falls into category with cattle, sheep, and pigs?
Only licensed and insured motor vehicles and users are allowed on roads in the UK. A small ‘gadget’ such as a hoverboard does not meet the requirements necessary to be considered legal for road usage.
So why are we allowed to ride around on electric bikes then? Well, it’s actually a good question. Currently, this is kind of a grey area. These new inventions call for new laws and regulations. We just don’t have them yet.
However, this leads us to the next important point of this article.
With all the negative news out of the way, it’s time for some good news. On March 19th, 2019, the DfT (Department for Transport) released a document named Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy.
In the document, it is written that:
"The Future of Mobility Grand Challenge aims to capitalize on this period of change in transport and make the UK a world leader in mobility innovation."
The DfT is also to review the aforementioned 1835 Highways Act as it seeks to modernize the laws surrounding transport. There is no set date for when this review will conclude, but it is expected that such things can take several months. New laws will have to fall into place and that’ll certainly take some time.
The below image is taken from the front page of the Future of Mobility document.
It seems like all we have to do is equip ourselves with patience. Documents suggest we’re in a transition period and that regulations regarding electric rides such as hoverboards in the UK will improve in the future.
Paul is an environmental engineer turned micromobility expert. With a mechanical background and hands-on experience with more than 150 personal electric vehicles, Strobel is one of the leading specialists in the PEV scene. He handles everything from technical guides on the inner workings of vehicles to industry development news.