Back in October we explained how the increased use of a Hoverboard on public roads and pavements may ultimately lead to drivers of the new gadgets being prosecuted. Or should they be called riders? Pilots?
The first of these prosecutions is now imminent after a “Hoverboarder” in Croydon has been accused of stealing a crate of Lucozade and using his board as a getaway vehicle.
Omaree Lindsay, 19, may well make British legal history after being charged with riding the gadget on a pavement (contrary to section 72 of the Highway Act 1835) after he was allegedly filmed riding into a Co-op before fleeing on his hoverboard with a crate of Lucoazade.
Lindsay is due to appear on bail at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court on 30 December having been charged not only with riding a self-balancing scooter on the pavement but also with theft and failure to comply with a court order.
He will appear on bail at Wimbledon Magistrates’ court on 30 December, charged with theft, failure to comply with a court order and driving a self-balancing scooter on a pavement as reported in The Guardian.
The Penalty for Using a Hoverboard
The offence itself falls under section 72 of the Highway Act 1835 which states that it is an offence to willfully ride said devices upon any public footpath. The legislation further states that the penalty for each and every such instance of the offence is a fine of up to £500. Offenders could therefore incur fines of potentially thousands of pounds during the course of one journey.
Only One Prosecution So Far for Hoverboard Use?
It is somewhat concerning that hoverboards seem to be increasingly popular despite it being illegal to ride them on a public pavement and I would not be surprised if this were the first of many prosecutions to come with sales on the rise in the run up to Christmas.
This prosecution follows the tragic death of Nawaf Al-Tuwayan, the 15 year old who was struck by a bus whilst riding his hoverboard in north-west London.
At this time, police forces across the UK either seem unaware of the new legislation or frequently turn a blind eye to offenders as, despite the increased coverage these devices have had in the media and the fact that I regularly see hoverboard users myself on the streets of Manchester, the first prosecution is only just arising.
I suspect this will soon change following these two recent incidents as it is clear that hoverboards are not only an annoyance to pedestrians but also a danger to their users.
By Neil Sargeant
Olliers Motor Law