Hoverboard scooters are reportedly the hip, new product of the holiday season. Since being endorsed by celebrities and non-celebs alike, more people have gravitated to them, and the demand has steadily climbed. Now, new laws may be passed that change how the public is permitted to use them after consumers have invested so much money in the products.
Along with increased usage, some scooter riders seem to know no bounds. Since there have been no laws in place prohibiting hoverboard usage (as well as other motorized boards) in certain venues — such as retailers, business complexes, etc. — some scooter riders have been basically “riding amuck,” so to speak.
The new hoverboard law is set to commence on January 1, 2016, says The New York Times. Scooter riders will be allowed to use bike lanes and pathways, mostly. Also, riders can use highways which allow travel speed maximums of 35 miles per hour. You can see a brief summary of the impending hoverboard restrictions below.
Although his description isn’t improbable, things may not be exactly as the infographic’s author suggests. While you see hoverboard riders posting video clips online, that’s only a small percentage of the users who actually have controllable grasp on the device’s operation. That’s not the average hoverboard user.
Being a machine based on weight distribution and coordination, realistically, not all people have mastered the balance of every-day walking — let alone, applying similar disharmony to a hoverboard. According to the same New York Times article, law enforcement has received several complaints about sidewalk collisions involving walking pedestrians and hoverboard scooter riders. For this reason, California lawmakers are regulating hoverboard riders and their use of the devices.
The same source notes that New York has already implemented such laws regarding hoverboard scooters. The state has classified the devices as motorized vehicles that cannot be registered. Some of these hoverboards, depending on the brand and version, can travel at speeds up to 13 miles per hour. While you’re walking along a sidewalk, could you imagine getting hit by someone traveling at that speed? Imagine Usain Bolt casually jogging into you while he’s on a morning run.
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According to Bleacher Report, during the 2012 Olympics, Usain’s top speed was 28 miles per hour — a record he broke, again, months later in Europe. One could imagine that his jogging pace is about half that speed.
Hoverboards may be fun to ride, but it is clear why restrictions are being placed on the scooter’s usage. Before the advent of such guidelines, hoverboard riders were entering stores, as well. However, as you could possibly guess, problems developed. One example is the employee-owned grocery chain, Publix.
Publix is known for crafting several displays to be visually appealing to their customers. If a rider entered on a hoverboard and totally knocked over their creative fruit displays it could get ugly. As a prevention, according to ABC-7 News, the grocery chain has banned the hoverboard scooter from their stores.
However, as the news source states, from one business owner’s perspective, it’s less about hoverboard users knocking over things. It’s more about liability issues. The New York Times offers the same proposition. Someone could fall and hurt themselves or another shopper. Then, Publix would likely get sued. To avoid all of that, the scooters aren’t allowed inside.
While these devices take time to get used to their operation, not everyone waits until they’ve mastered the “art of the hoverboard scooter” before taking the devices out on public displays of inconsideration. At the University of California, hoverboard riders are restricted from using the scooters on sidewalks and in hallways.
Why would someone use it in a crowded hallway in the first place? This is where personal accountability has to come into play. It’s one thing to safely use the scooter as an alternative means of transportation to and from school. It’s another thing to irrationally use it in crowded hallways, just to show off. The slightest mistake or miscalculation could result in injury.
KLTV-7 News notes the method by which hoverboard riders meticulously operate their motorized vehicles. It states as follows.
“Here’s what happens when you accelerate on a hoverboard. You have to rotate your ankles to turn on the electric motor in the board, but you must also lean forward. If you don’t lean forward, you fall backward. Trust me on this and don’t try it yourself…
“…Three forces act on the rider when he is standing on the scooter. One is the force of the floor pushing on the road. This force has an upward component to keep the rider from falling and a horizontal friction component that accelerates the electric skateboard. Another is the gravitational force due to the accelerated motion of the rider.”
Honestly, what major acceleration is happening within a crowded hallway when changing classes? What are your thoughts? Feel free to share them in the comments.
[Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images Entertainment]