Segway ban: Where can I ride my segway/hoverboard?
By Jessika Huczmann of Emery Johnson Astills Solicitors
You may have noticed people riding around on segways or “hoverboards” during recent months, whether it be in the street or at the park. In fact, many celebrities have been spotted riding around on one of these fashion accessories and the gadget has become a bit of a craze. People have even been seen riding around on their segways opposite the Emery Johnson Astills office on Welford Road in Leicester. You can purchase the electric powered balance board for around the £200 mark, but a top of the range one will set you back hundreds of pounds.
Earlier on this week, the CPS confirmed that hoverboards are illegal to ride on pavements and roads in England, with the Metropolitan Police issuing a warning to users. They are now only legal to ride on private land and if you want to use one on private land, then you must obtain the permission of the land owner. It is Section 72 of the Highway Act 1835 that prohibits these self-balancing powered vehicles, from being ridden on the pavement. Section 72 of the Highway Act 1835 is about the “penalty on persons committing nuisances by riding on footpaths”. It states as follows:
“If any person shall wilfully ride upon any footpath or causeway by the side of any road made or set apart for the use or accommodation of foot passengers; or shall wilfully lead or drive any horse, ass, sheep, mule, swine, or cattle or carriage of any description, or any truck or sledge, upon any such footpath or causeway; or shall tether any horse, ass, mule, swine, or cattle, on any highway, so as to suffer or permit the tethered animal to be thereon”.
By the wording, it is obvious that this legislation was written a long time ago, but it is the “ … or carriage of any description” part of the section, that lends itself to cover the segways that we see on our streets today.
If section 72 of the Highway Act 1835 only relates to the pavement, why can’t you ride a segway on the road? The answer to that question is because segways do not meet the requirements to be registered as a road legal vehicle.
Perhaps it is worth noting that in other countries, for example, the US, France, Germany and Italy, you are still permitted to ride a segway on the pavement. So if you are taking your board aboard anytime soon, you may be more than entitled to ride it on the pavement, like you were probably doing a couple of weeks ago here in England.
Currently, the “price” to be paid for riding a segway on the road or pavement is unclear. The Highway Act 1835 states that those guilty of riding on the pavement could be fined up to £500. They would also be fined for any damage. However, it is believed that in reality, the actual fine imposed would be much lower than £500. That being said, it is thought that riding a segway on a road could mean facing more serious penalties and possibly charges of driving without insurance and driving a vehicle without the necessary approvals.
At this stage, it is difficult to say how the Police will deal with those who have used the boards on anything else other than private land, but it goes without saying, that users need to be extra careful with where they choose to use their boards.
For more information, visit the Crown Prosecution Service website using the following link:
Should you require any expert legal advice, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the criminal department at Emery Johnson Astills Solicitors, on 0116 2554855.