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UK Law clarification: "They're illegal to ride in public"

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The "hoverboards" will go 10-12 mph as you can see in many youtube reviews.  At that speed I think it requires great discipline not to fall off though since you can't favor one foot over the other as that is how you turn - as soon as you twitch one foot the board will veer off in the opposite direction.  To counter this I bet you have to bend at the knees prepared for any random direction changes and then do not over-correct as that will also send you flying.

in comparison the single wheel "bike" of ours is very forgiving in feet placement, weight positioning and posture - since to even be able to ride it you must be in control of your balance (it's a prerequisite).  For example when riding the wheel for a long time I shift weight to different parts of my feet like more on the toes or balls of the feet or heel, favoring one foot to rest the other, or placing one or both feet intentionally too far back or forward on the pedals - and/or toes facing in or facing out (shin or calf resting against the pads (or not touching at all)) turning via ankles, knees, hips or entire body - one knee bent while the other locked, et cetera.  Basically we can be much more relaxed and not concentrating as much as on hoverboard at speed.

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I don't get it.

EUCs and even double-wheelers like Segway are the solution to the individual transportation issue.

I remember how is like to live in London. Almost every day smog, high air pollution, very slow transportation, because of bikers (bikers go first and block all lanes, then buses and cars have the same speed).

I hate breathing this shit from all cars etc. and also don't like primitive bikes.

EUCs are more safe, well at least you have to be smart enough to buy one and learn how to ride. It's clean energy, zero emissions transportation. Sure, you can tell if you don't use solar cells to charge, you still contribute to the air pollution. But actually you don't. It's easier to change the electicity source or have pollution in one place (power plant), than to have the pollution sources everywhere (cars, motorcycles).

London is polluted enough by cars and homes heating (well, Brits don't learn from their mistakes, Great Smog didn't teach them anything). Banning new ways of clean transportation is very bad for the world, but it's nothing new. Oil companies have too big influence over the world.

Sorry for my English, I'm drunk.

It's the mixing of transportation modes that cause concerns. Today we have 2 areas for traffic in a city like London: roads and sidewalks. Bicycles share the road with cars (and buses, and trucks), and there are issues enough. When a bicycle rides on a sidewalk, it's a problem and pedestrians resent it. The solution is, like in other cities, to have reserved bicycles lanes. Then you would only "compatible traffic" sharing the same lane. Add electric bicycles to the mix (regulated), and you'd have a great solution.

EUCs, fun as they are, don't mix either with pedestrians nor bicycles, so you are introducing yet another kind of traffic (same for skateboards). It's not surprising that, as soon as these things go above a very small number of early adopters, there is the question of regulation.

Same happened in the drone field. Years ago early adopters could fly pretty much anywhere with the police curiously watching, these days it's heavily regulated. In both cases, the idiots owners are the ones driving regulation (i.e. not the majority of well behaved users)

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No no no, the regulations for quad-copters where there from day one, as haves the rules for eucs from the segway being not legal, the idiots upsetting people and not being a bit more courteous and using some common sense ruin it for the more sensible users forcing the hand of the police etc to take action as they mow down pedestrians or fly In airport flight paths, it's always the same when an expensive product becomes price accessible to morons.

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You guys do know that the information that all the media outlets are linking in is for the Segway right?  They are conveniently using old information regarding the Segway and using it for the Hoverboards.

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This is a situation where common sense would do both sides a lot of good. We need responsible EUC riders as well as sensible law enforcers. The public statement on the boards is nothing but over the top.

Edited by TheBeagler
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It's clean energy, zero emissions transportation.

It is not. 

Sure, you can tell if you don't use solar cells to charge, you still contribute to the air pollution. But actually you don't.

yes, you do. Yet, it's probably the most CO2-efficient way to get from A to B, I believe even including cycling (considering the CO2 foot print of food production).

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My point of view: I am riding an electric unicycle for two months now through Berlin, Germany. I have been sued by the police and now have to pay a fine of 98,50 EUR (112 USD) for wheeling on an empty sidewalk. On top of that I got one "point" on my driver license. It sucks. 

In my experience the danger of electric unicycles, hoverboards, scooters and skateboards concerns the drivers themselves the most. If something goes wrong the driver himself might get hurt while the vehicle shuts down. I consider bicycles and simple skateboards more dangerous for pedestrians. I think these new vehicles should be allowed with mandatory insurance and license plates. They should be allowed on bicycle lanes and sidewalks. Hampering or urging others should be substantially fined (I don’t believe in common sense). 

But I am afraid it will not happen. Sadly. 

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Back to the main point....

  • UK
  • Recent Clarification on Legislation

 So are single-wheeled EUCs banned as well?

Edited by panda

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Back to the main point....

  • UK
  • Recent Clarification on Legislation

 So are single-wheeled EUCs banned as well?

The law hasn't changed in years. The only reason this even made headlines is the popularity of those  bloody 'hoverboards' and so I guess at some point someone thought to ask the crown prosecution service what the legal status was.

even if they ARE against the law, all that matters is whether or not this is enforced. My wheel isn't coming for a few days yet but I'm eager for uk wheelers to report on any interactions they have with police from this point on ?

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Back to the main point....

  • UK
  • Recent Clarification on Legislation

 So are single-wheeled EUCs banned as well?

The resounding response to this question (looking on Facebook, Reddit, on here, talking with friends) seems to be that the law doesn't seem to allow EUCs, but if you are riding sensibly and safely the police shouldn't bother you. That being said, if they are in a bad mood or perhaps they have been told to clamp down on EUCs, you won't have any defence when they want to take your EUC or fine you.

The most frustrating thing for me is that the government here never even consider changing laws despite societal, scientific, medical and technological changes that have taken place since those laws where written. They just say "well this book says no so I guess thats all the thinking I need to do!" rather than objectively analysing the situation and progressing and changing the laws just as everything else must do!

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Just a side note...with me dealing with Two district judges... If you do have to go to a hearing, bring a damn lawyer, the 'district judge' is a mistermeaner, they should be called district Prosecutors, and do anything they want, and they want to find you guilty, they make money off guilty not the innocent.... Just Saying....cruption rules...

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Back to the main point....

  • UK
  • Recent Clarification on Legislation

 So are single-wheeled EUCs banned as well?

It is insane for a country like England to ban EUCs universally.  Not every part of England is like London!  Just like every part of the US is not NYC or Chicago.  What makes sense in Chicago doesn't necessarily make sense in rural North Carolina.

One size fits all is ridiculous.  

At least if rules were made locally, one would have the option to move.  Vote with your feet. 

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Quote

EUCs, fun as they are, don't mix either with pedestrians nor bicycles, so you are introducing yet another kind of traffic (same for skateboards). It's not surprising that, as soon as these things go above a very small number of early adopters, there is the question of regulation.

Actually they mix with pedestrians. I ride on sidewalks every day and simply slow down if there are too many pedestrians, and overtake if I have a chance. I have never caused any danger situation and haven't got any complains. All people are amazed by my Ninebot and how I ride, they like it.

As long as we will ride smart and safe, it should be fine to mix EUCs with pedestrian traffic, because we are occuping the same space as a pedestrian. Bikes are too long and wide, also hard to stay put, but with EUCs I don't see the problem.

On 13/10/2015 at 0:42 PM, Niko said:

"It's clean energy, zero emissions transportation."

It is not. 

So you claim EUCs emits CO2? Hahahaha

The definition of zero emission vehicle is that the vehicle doesn't emit any CO2 or other gases (even worse CO, NOx etc.).

Maybe Tesla Model S is not a zero emission vehicle, too?

I don't get you people. Where that bullshitty and ingorant thinking come from? Oil companies marketing?

It's simple: when you change all vehicles to zero emission class, even if the energy source (electricity) comes from coal, it is:
1. Still cleaner, because coal power plants are much more efficient than internal combustion engines (these are only ~20% efficient, 80% is wasted),
2. Still environment friendly - no noise pollution, no air pollution,
3. Still easier to maintain and upgrade - you can simply replace a power plant with new technology, that doesn't use coal anymore. You can generate power on your household level (yes, you can even build a house that will power itself, without any grid - and 100% clean, and you can power your zero emission vehicles from your house hold),
4. And the most importantly - even if the energy comes from coal, the pollution from coal exists only in one place. So you can put factories and power plants in one place, like it's done in most modern cities (not in London unfortunately, London isn't modern at all).

It's stupid to be against zero emission vehicles because the electricity comes from coal anyway. It's sooo "medieval" thinking.

We have to start from something to protect our home (Earth). 

Edited by Bat

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On 13/10/2015 at 4:17 PM, ScooterB said:

I think these new vehicles should be allowed with mandatory insurance and license plates.

So why when you ride a bicycle you don't need a driving licence, license plates or insurance? Cyclist cause many accidents, as they're mostly stupid and don't know law. People without driving license don't know how to ride a bicycle properly or even move on feet as pedestrians.

It's sad to hear how Germany sucks about riding EUCs. 

In Poland - no problem (so far).

On 14/10/2015 at 8:33 PM, Tom said:

The resounding response to this question (looking on Facebook, Reddit, on here, talking with friends) seems to be that the law doesn't seem to allow EUCs, but if you are riding sensibly and safely the police shouldn't bother you. That being said, if they are in a bad mood or perhaps they have been told to clamp down on EUCs, you won't have any defence when they want to take your EUC or fine you.

Well, you can always escape on your EUC, police officers in London are pussies, they're afraid of people, they won't pursuit you probably.

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I have found that most people have an issue with it being too quiet and they don't know it's coming or they think it's too fast for where they are walking.  On the local bike path, I've had a couple people get scared as I go by.  I've stopped and gone back to apologize and to explain what I'm riding (So far, has always gone well).  What I find interesting though is that when a bike rides past them at, at least, twice the speed I'm going, AND Silent, they don't have anything to say about that.  I think it's because the EUC is a new gadget it scares people.  And there are those that want to whine about anything they don't understand.  I'm even spooked about bikes blazing past me sometimes, but I don't yell at them, because they are on the BIKE path.

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So I guess it depends on the location.

In Poland, people are not scared, but curious about it. I can ride full speed towards a family and they don't even think about stepping off or something. Most of the time the kids are surprised and are yelling "Mom, dad, look!" and the parents are smiling too and trying to explain what is it ("I don't know", "It's cool, isn't it?", "It's a riding bag!", "You can ride on it" etc.). Even old people are smiling and asking me what is it, or if they can ride it, too.

EUCs are very unusual here, but people got used to bikes (we have a lot of bike lanes too) and what's surprising they're interested and "open" to get to know EUCs and maybe buy one some day. What I've noticed they're definitely not scared or set against EUCs. But still, I try to be as comfortable for them as I can, by slowing down on sidewalks / near people, using bike lanes when I can etc. Besides I have strong light attached, so everyone sees the front light before I overtake, probably assuming that must be a bike.

On the other hand I understand it can be difficult in the UK, as there aren't many bike lanes in the Greater London area, people are walking like they want without respecting red lights, so the EUCs owners can be scary or cause some chaos in the traffic. Also the roads are very narrow and occupied by cyclists, and there is crowdy on the sidewalks. But EUCs are great in personal transportation field and can solve many traffic issues. Nothing good can come from banning them, it would be much better to just create something like a "license" and train the morrons that ride on the road the first day they got an EUC.

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I live on a small touristy island in the US, basically right in the heart of the action and was stopped by a police officer the other day informing me my Ninebot E+ "might" be illegal.  Well here is the law (obviously written for Segways in 2008)...

 

Sec. 70-801. - Personal assistive mobility devices prohibited.

(a) It shall be unlawful to operate an electric personal assistive mobility device on any street, road or bicycle path in the City of Key West. It shall be unlawful to operate an electric personal assistive mobility device on any sidewalk in the historic district of the city. It shall be unlawful to conduct or participate in a sightseeing tour in Key West with personal assistive mobility devices.

(b) Electric personal assistive mobility device means any self-balancing, two-nontandem-wheeled device, designed to transport only one person, with an electric propulsion system with average power of 750 watts (1 horsepower), the maximum speed of which, on a paved level surface when powered solely by such a propulsion system while being ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 miles per hour. Electric personal assistive mobility devices are not vehicles.

(c) Federal, state and local governmental agencies and utilities are hereby exempted from the prohibition of this section.

(d) The prohibition set forth in this section does not apply to wheelchairs or to any mobility device designed or used to assist a disabled person.

(e) A violation of this section shall be punishable as provided in section 1-15 of the Code of Ordinances.

(Ord. No. 03-16, § 1, 7-1-2003)

 

 

So I now keep a copy of this ordinance in my wallet just in case.  Interestingly enough, this does cover those hoverboards and makes them illegal so we will see if the city ever wants to get proactive about them.  I saw 2 hoverboards on a crowded sidewalk as I was zooming around Friday night.

Have fun, be safe.

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It's always fun reading this part:

"(c) Federal, state and local governmental agencies and utilities are hereby exempted from the prohibition of this section."

They seem to do this with a LOT of things... Taxes, Drunk Driving, Murder, etc, etc, etc...

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Wow, that is like the EPAMD bizarro world down there. In most tourist areas they have Segway tours all the time, I guess it just depends on how big a bribe you pay. :D

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I asked two policemen friends of mine and they both said that they didn't see EU's as being illegal to ride in public.

The thing is that as long as no-one get hurt or causes a road traffic accident then the despite the EU's being used on the pavement IS technically illegal its very unlikely that this will be challenged. The test cases that are quoted on the government site show that the law can choose to see things in different ways depending on the judge's decision as to whether the EU's are vehicles or not. Since no-one (as far as I know) has been taken to court for causing injury to anyone then this remains untested.

Its all down to perception. Currently I ride around town and in the park in the Hampshire area and all I get is 'Cool' & 'That's Sick' shouted at me, and as long as we don't hurt anyone or get in the way or scare grannies I think the police will be happy to turn a blind eye to the ancient law.

We are riding on thin ice here, ride carefully in public places, keep off the roads ( car drivers have insurance and therefore have the money for the law suit. You don't so that's going to get really expensive for you in a RTA situation. i.e. Car swerves to avoid you hits an oncoming car and you have to pay for loss of earnings for the rest of the life of the maimed passenger type of expensive.)  

 

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EWheels are not illegal in the UK. If you read the law mentioned above (1835 Highways act section 75) which is available on the UK Governments Law gateway, you would see the law, firstly, only applies to pedestrian areas which run alongside designated highways (ie: pavements). This law prohibits the tying of your donkey, grazing of sheep, riding a truck or sled and carriages of any description.

Thus, the following things are also illegal on pavements in the UK, parking your car or pushing a baby carriage. It should be noted that these offences are dealt with by the police not the local municipal officers (traffic wardens), which is why so many criminal drivers get away with parking their cars half on the road, half on the pavement, on double yellow lines, as if, some how, in this way they are avoiding a parking fine, when they are in fact committing 4 offences 2 of which are criminal offences (obstruction of the highway, obstruction of the pavement (aka 1835 highways act).

On the highway the situation is more complex. First under UK law you are entitled to drive your lawn mower or wheelbarrow from field to field. An eWheel is arguably a wheelbarrow, (it only has 1 wheel so its not a scooter). The hover boards and segways have 2 wheels, and though these wheels are in parallel, the law does not distinguish between parallel and serial wheel positioning. As hoverboards have 2 wheels they are classified as scooters and therefore require a vehicle licence (ie: MOT certificate), which the DOT wil not issue as they claim they have nothing to compare it too (ie: no test results to give a pass or fail on). This is where the Sinclare C5 got screwed, yes road legal, but you couldn't get a vehicle licence for them.

The points are however all moot, as EU has made EU's legal since Jan 2016, and last time I looked the UK was in the EU. While there is a possibility this may change, EU0542 is unlikely to be revoked by UL legislators for many years (if ever) as these matters are clearly of no significance whatsoever the to Government.

Vis bicycles, these are recognised under British law as a class of vehicle in their own right, (since 1750 ish) and therefore have their own laws and prohibitions (Which is what distinguishes an electric bike from a scooter), the motor power of the bike being the significant factor (despite motor power being entirely irrelevant to safety).

If you hold a full or provisional UK Vehicle operator's licence (A driving licence) then under section K which covers wheelbarrows, you are licensed and wheelbarrows (pedestrian operated vehicles)  do not require a vehicle licence or road fund tax. (Another source of public misconception) there is no such ting as road tax, all tax payers contribute to the maintenance of roads primarily through local council tax, road fund licence is not ring fenced for roads it goes into the general tax pot, and therefore makes no more contribution than alcohol or tobacco tax.

Edited by lucsan
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Unfortunately once you get on your euc you are no longer a pedestrian and it is therefore no longer a pedestrian operated vehicle.

I have yet to find the EU directive, is it definitely 0542? I can't find it by searching! I'd love to have an EU rule I could print out and show in black and white to anyone who challenged me.

Luckily I have still only had good reactions from authority figures despite the ongoing confusion.

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I really wouldn't worry too much. Even if they are officially 'labelled' illegal at some point, there is a Grand Canyon sized difference between a law and an 'enforced law.'

The law for instance, is pretty clear on using skateboards and bicycles on pavements. It's illegal. Yet no-one really gives a fuck. Sure, if you go right past an officer he might stop you or tell you to get off the pavement, but I think hell will freeze over before they actually arrest you or issue an on the spot fine (which I'm not even sure they have the power to do).

It might be a slightly different matter in parks though, in the future. Which does concern me a little. But for commuters......I wouldn't stress too much.

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Here in the US, even in California where they've made these fairly legal, there are many parks where they are not legal.

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36 minutes ago, SuperSport said:

Here in the US, even in California where they've made these fairly legal, there are many parks where they are not legal.

Yeah. It's even trickier here in London as all the 'Royal Parks' including the one I ride in have their very own sort of legal system. Which doesn't mention eucs obviously, so that's an additional layer of confusion and conflict. 

It seems to come down either way here as to how much of a jobsworth prick the officer in question is. Sigh.

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