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UK Authorities Declare Segway-Like ‘Hoverboards’ Illegal On Public Roads And Sidewalks

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Just as personal transport was starting to gain its footing, UK authorities have issued an advisory to warn citizens that Segways and hoverboards aren't allowed on footways.

It's OK to ride along a sideway on a bike, even a motorized bicycle. It's OK to ride a scooter, both the push-kick type and the kind for people with limited mobility.

What's not OK is riding a Segway and their hipper descendants, known as hoverboards or self-balancing scooters. While Segways have been derided by many in the West as a symbol of the uber-wealthy, self-balancing scooters or hoverboards have been trending.

Self-balancing scooters don't have a bulky base and handlebars like traditional Segways. When ridden, they look like skateboards flipped around 90 degrees and they're propelled by electric motors.

England and Wales have barred the use of Segways on pavement, according to the Crown Prosecution Service laws outlining road offenses. A Segway Personal Transporter may not be driven on a pavement in England and Wales.

"Under section 72 of the Highway Act 1835 (extends to England and Wales only) it is an offense to willfully ride on the footway," the book of road offenses states. "Certain vehicles used by disabled drivers are exempted from these requirements but only where they use Class 2 or Class 3 invalid carriages. Self-balancing scooters are not classed as invalid carriages and so cannot be used on pavements."

While the rule book seems to rule out use of Segways and the like on anything paved, there are places where it's OK to ride them: private property, for which the permission of the landowner is required.

"An example of this is where [British Airport Authority] has deployed a Segway Personal Transporter at Heathrow airport," the rule book offers.

Despite the ban, the warning from authorities could be a good thing. Ghetto Gadget's Simon Benson says his company and other suppliers of self-balancing boards could increase their sales with the spotlight now on the personal transport devices.

"Clearly customers need to take advice, but millennials are not going to take kindly to the authorities using a law that pre-dates the penny-farthing to tell them what they can or can't do on the streets of Britain," said Benson.

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