orry, Marty McFly not in New York. The Big Apple is banning “hoverboards” from its streets, the New York City police department has confirmed.
The ban on the futuristic-looking self-balancing scooters follows a similar one in London and follows concerns that their growing popularity is causing problems on the city’s streets and sidewalks.
“Hoverboards are prohibited by New York state law since they are considered motor vehicles that cannot be registered with the department of motor vehicles,” an NYPD spokesman told the Guardian.
Sales of the motorized vehicles are expected to take off over the Christmas period (although good luck trying to ride one through a New York winter), spurred on by the enthusiasm of celebrities including Justin Bieber and Lil Wayne.
Now those spotted riding hoverboards through New York City could be fined up to $500 – about the cost of a midrange hoverboard by the NYPD and the parks department. The NYPD spokesman would not comment on whether NYPD officers have been instructed to issue tickets to those spotted riding hoverboards. He also would not comment on how NYPD is informing New Yorkers of this ban – or plans to inform them.
Earlier this week, a local NYPD precinct attempted to inform locals that the hoverboards are illegal by tweeting: “Be advised that the electric hoverboard is illegal as per NYC Admin. Code 19-176.2.”
However, when fact-checked by Gothamist, the information did not hold up. The part of the code referenced by the NYPD says that only motorized scooters with handlebars that are capable going faster than 15 mph were illegal. According to Gothamist, the maximum speed for hoverboards is around 6 mph.
The 26th precinct, which tweeted the warning, later deleted the tweet.
Not all American cities are anti-hoverboard.
In October, California passed a bill that would allow the electric self-balancing scooters in places where bikes are allowed. The bill, however, allows cities and towns to decide on their own if they want to ban them.