The self-balancing hoverboard, beloved of pop stars like Justin Bieber and Missy Elliot, is unwelcome on Australian roads.
The sheer number of the popular devices — also known as balance boards and self-balancing scooters — likely to be unwrapped this Christmas has NSW Minister for Roads Duncan Gay concerned.
He released a statement clarifying the devices are not legal on NSW roads or footpaths. Anywhere but in your living room, basically (or on your private plane à la Bieber).
Don’t know what a self-balancing hoverboard is? Let Gay explain: “These new contraptions that look like a skateboard with two wheels, or a Segway with no handles.”
In fact, riding a self-balancing hoverboard down a Sydney highway could earn you a healthy cash penalty. People using such hoverboards on the road face a A$637 (US$458) fine and on footpaths, a A$319 (US$229) fine.
Australia is following the UK in this regard, where London Metropolitan Police issued a notice in October reminding people they are illegal to ride in public.
“I don’t want to be the Christmas Grinch, but I want people to know and send a message that these new toys have real safety concerns,” Gay explained. He said that although they can travel at speeds of 26 kilometres/hour (16 miles/hour), the self-balancing hoverboards generally have inadequate brakes, require no training and have no warning lights.
It’s not clear if a fine has ever been issued in the state for illegal hoverboard riding. The NSW Police have been contacted for comment on the matter.
In this, as in all things: If Missy can do it, why can’t we all?