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Hover boards: Q&A

The futuristic vehicles known as hover boards are tipped as the ‘must have’ gift for Christmas. But the recent hype has led to a lot of confusion around safety and legislation. So here are a few of the most common questions answered, and advice to keep you and your children safe.

What are hover boards?

There are many types of ‘personal transporters’ which have become popular over recent years, ranging from segways to the new hover boards. They usually have two wheels and an engine.

Are they safe?

The safety of hover boards has been a hot topic of debate recently, with a major online retailer pulling the vehicles from sale over safety concerns. So if you’re planning on buying a hover board for a loved one this Christmas, or receive one as a gift, make sure the board is compliant with the UK safety standards and be aware of where it can legally be used.

Where can and can’t they be used?

Because hover boards are mechanically propelled, they are classed as ‘motor vehicles’ by law - the same as a car, moped or motorbike. This means it is illegal to ride them on pavements.

To use them on roads, the user needs a licence, insurance, an MOT, and to register the vehicle with the DVLA. But the DVLA will not register vehicles without ‘proof of type’  approval. For most powered transporters, their construction means they clearly would not comply with the normal vehicle construction rules or with ‘type approval’. If you think yours might meet the construction requirements, find out more on gov.uk.

However, hover boards can legally be used on private land, as long as you have the owner’s permission.

What happens if someone gets caught using a hover board illegally?

The law is in place to protect vehicle users and other people from harm. Police officers will take a measured and proportionate approach to dealing with people who use hover boards illegally, as they would with the enforcement of any other legislation. Police also have the right to seize hover boards from people who repeatedly offend and report them for prosecution.

Where can I find out more information?

See guidance from the Department of Transport.