In Marty McFly’s 2015 hover boards had just one, fairly avoidable weakness – they couldn’t fly over water. But in real world 2015, Britain has found a much more effective method of stopping them in their tracks: government policy.
Inspired by the 1989 film Back to the Future Part II which saw teenagers zipping around town on floating skateboards, designers have worked hard to make fantasy a reality – floating hover boards are in the beta phase of production, while for those who can’t wait, self balancing scooters are already here.
But whereas their fictional counterparts had only to avoid water, today’s teens have to avoid roads and pavements too if they want to stay on the right side of the law, rendering the boards virtually unusable.
The scooters, which look and work much like a Segway without handles, have exploded in popularity since their release, used by celebrities, rappers and sports stars to get around.
But the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has ruled out their use on both British roads and pavements, making it illegal to use them anywhere but on private property, and then only with the property owners’ permission.
The CPS has decreed that they must adhere to the same law as Segways: being motor powered they are deemed to be vehicles and so are not allowed to be used on pavements; however, as they are un-licensable they are not permitted to be used on roads either.
Ever safety conscious, the Department for Transport (DfT) has also advised “that appropriate safety clothing should be worn at all times,” the CPS noted in its ruling.
Meanwhile actual hover boards using magnetic technology are in the beta production stages and should be with us soon, just a few years behind the schedule set by Back to the Future’s writers. It remains to be seen whether the DfT and CPS will prevent their use in public too, making it illegal to hitch a ride behind a truck (you know you want to).