Dave Mittleman, a personal injury lawyer and pharmacist from Lansing, Michigan published “Hoverboards are the Hot Holiday Item – Literally”. Attorney Mittleman points out some of the problems attendant to using hoverboards. These problems include serious personal injury from falls, crashes with cars and fires caused by overheated batteries are now alleged, although as of yet, not proven. These are interesting “toys” or “tools” of a more futuristic society. CNBC writes that hoverboards top the 2015 wish lists. The boards sell from $270 to $2,000. They were first developed by Hangzhou Chic Intelligent Technology also going by the name, Chic Robotics. A simplistic two-wheeled scooter balanced by a gyroscope. There are several American manufacturers including IO Hawk, Zero G and Wonfast. [Top 10 Best American-Made Hoverboard, Best Hoverboard Review Site]
In our neighborhood there is a teenage boy who rides one on the public street. He rides on the driveway of the home across from ours. This driveway is steep up to the garage which means it is steep on the return trip to the street. On the south side of the driveway are tall plants that block the view to his left or to the right for oncoming drivers. It is an accident waiting to happen.
More interesting to me is his driving in the street. Cars regularly drive over 40 mph in this 25 mph residential neighborhood. Throughout the summer the main intersection was a part of a detour since Grand Avenue was being reconstructed. Every neighbor living on Grand came through that intersection for or five times a day. The increased traffic was difficult to negotiate since these drivers were frustrated with the added time to every trip and seemed to focus only on getting through the detour as fast as they were allowed. I watched this young man driving through this intersection and hoped he would be safe. No idea of whether or not avoided being hit or not being hit. I did notice he was wearing no safety gear such as a helmet, knee and arm protection.
One thought that occurred to me is whether this young man was driving illegally. After all this is a unregistered motor vehicle with an unlicensed driver. In October the U.K.’s Crown Prosecution Service declared hoverboards illegal on main roads and even on sidewalks. On private property they can be legally driven, but only after receiving permission from the owners. They are also illegal on Scottish roads.
Whether you choose to buy your children hoverboards or not, keep in mind they are dangerous and when driven on the public roads may be both illegal and deadly.