Some states have strict laws on hoverboards. Is anyone familiar with how this is handled in New York State?

Is it illegal to ride a hoverboard in the public parks or on bike lanes of public roads where many people ride skateboards?


2 Answers 2


While it is not illegal to own, it may still be illegal to ride on public property. Private property owners can ban them even if they were legal and need to be consulted individually. I have been unable to find out if new laws spoken about have been passed in New York since the beginning of the year. Based on what I have found (as of the end of 2015), it would be best to consider that they are illegal to use on public areas just as any other unlicensed motor vehicle.

As of November 2015

Some property owners have banned them for liability reasons, as it is easy to see how a rider could trip on a bump or unexpected curb. And although they have taken the Upper East Side and other parts of New York City by storm, the state classifies them as motorized vehicles that cannot be registered, so riding them in public can incur a steep fine.

Earlier this week, the NYPD's 26th Precinct tweeted: "Be advised that the electric hoverboard is illegal as per NYC Admin. Code 19-176.2*."

and December 2015 some lawmakers were talking about making them legal.

Truth or Fiction Collected on: 12/28/2015 gives the following summary

A spokesperson for the New York City Department of Transportation has explained that the law’s definition of “electronic personal assist mobility device” was broad enough to include hoverboards, and that they would be regulated as such. In NYC, because the population is above 1 million people, electronic personal assist device riders must be licensed, and the devices must be registered with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. Hoverboards are illegal, the spokesperson said, because the NYSDMV would refuse to register them for legal use:

NYSDMV’s position is that these vehicles are likely “Electric personal assist mobility devices.” NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law 114-d defines “Electric personal assist mobility device” as “Every self-balancing, two non-tandem wheeled device designed to transport one person by means of an electric propulsion system with an average output of not more than seven hundred fifty watts (one horsepower), and the maximum speed of which on a paved level surface, when propelled solely by its electric propulsion system while ridden by an operator weighing one hundred seventy pounds, is less than twelve and one-half miles per hour.”

NYS VTL 125 generally defines “motor vehicles” as “Every vehicle operated or driven upon a public highway which is propelled by any power other than muscular power.” However, VTL 125 specifically excludes some classes of vehicles from the definition of “motor vehicles.” Under VTL 126(a-1), “electrical personal assistive mobility devices operated outside a city with a population of one million or more” are not considered motor vehicles.

However, in NYC, because the city population is greater than one million, NYSDMV considers “hoverboards” that meet the definition of “electric personal assist mobility devices” the same as motor vehicles.

Based on that interpretation, it would be illegal to operate a hoverboard in NYC without a valid license to drive a motor vehicle.

Beyond that, the motor vehicle would need to be registered by NYSDMV (which NYSDMV will not do), inspected, insured, and otherwise treated as, and subject to regulation like, any other motor vehicle. A person who operates a hoverboard in NYC (or any other NYS city with a population greater than a million) would be subject to arrest and prosecution for myriad NYS VTL violations, including, but not limited to, driving a motor vehicle without valid registration or insurance.


In special cases it could be legal.

Perhaps powered wheel chairs should also be illegal because they are motorized vehicles that cannot be registered?? No!

For those with mobility issues the ADA has given individuals rights to use EPAMDs - Electronic Personal Assistive Mobility Devices AKA: "Personal Motorized Mobility Devices"

Since USA ADA rules and advisories - under Title II - clearly require that mobility challenged individuals be allowed to use these vehicles (advisories specifically mentioning Segways), what right would NYC have to ban them for qualified mobility challenged individuals?

Furthermore how can the MTA's ban of transportation of ALL these devices based on fire risk when there are Segways that are UL approved for fire?

This is similar to the unfair airline ban of ALL Segways and all hoverboards even after models that have had battery issues have been identified. They did not ban ALL smartphones when the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 had problems. (The ban is currently under review).

New York City's ban may not stand up to an ADA legal challenge. Time will tell.

I found these links and hope you will find them useful:

1) ADA Guidelines for ​​Wheelchairs, Mobility Aids, and Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices


2) UL Hoverboard standards: www.ul.com/hoverboards

3) Use of "Segways" on Transportation Vehicles Department of Transportation - Disability Law Guidance


  • 2
    The question says nothing about Segways, which are a different vehicle from "hover"-boards. Neither have you demonstrated that it's possible to register a hoverboard, let alone that reciprocation would cover it.
    – user4657
    Nov 13, 2016 at 7:42
  • There is a Segway MiniPro that is basically a light weight Segway. It is manufactured by Ninebot and labeled Ninebot by Segway. Ninebot owns Segway - it bought the company and makes Segways in New England and China. All Segways including Segway MiniPro use basically the same self balancing and safety technologies. Segway, E-scooters qualify under Federal guidelines and most state laws as a EPAMD: Electronic Personal Assistive Mobility Device.
    – Lazer
    Feb 26, 2017 at 21:15
  • Why shouldn't all Segways regulated by the same rules as mobility scooters under NY State and NYC law? Why should they be treated differently than mobility scooters when used by those with mobility issues, especially if the owner gets proper insurance coverage?
    – Lazer
    Feb 26, 2017 at 21:24
  • 1
    "Why should ..." is a question for politics, not law.
    – user4657
    Feb 27, 2017 at 0:52

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