The technology of 2015 doesn’t trump the laws of 1835, or at least that’s how it is in Britain, where a 180-year-old law has banned hoverboards from city streets.
The Independent reports police have declared Marty McFly’s second sweetest mode of transport (first sweetest if they worked on water) illegal to ride in public citing section 72 of the Highway Act of 1835.
The police say that, like the Segaway, hoverboards are too unsafe to operate, eerily mirroring the lie Robert Zemeckis told every child about overly cautious parent groups keeping the boards out of our greedy hands. Between this and the Back to the Future Chicago Cubs prediction, it’s as if from the moment that movie was released, the timeline skewed off into an alternate Zemeckisverse.
It’s worth noting again that these devices are far from “hoverboards” in the truest sense, as a pair of wheels on each side definitely touching the ground make them more “self-balancing scooters.” This marks one of the first hints that governments might not embrace incipient hover technology, Wiz Khalifa’s recent run in with the Los Angeles customs authorities for hovering while black aside.
Still, you can’t stop progress. Hoverboard distributor Simon Benson of Ghetto Gadgets tells The Guardian such restrictions will only add to the board’s outlaw mystique.
“Clearly customers need to take advice, but millennials are not going to take kindly to the authorities using a law that pre-dates the penny-farthing to tell them what they can or can’t do on the streets of Britain,” Benson said.
Thus let slip the battle cry of rebellion: “Wheeeeeeeeeeee!!!”