CITY HALL – In efforts to legalize the use of hoverboards and electric unicycles in New York City,NY State Senator Jose Peralta (D-Queens), Assemblymember David I. Weprin (D-Queens) and NYC Councilmembers Andy King (D-Bronx) and Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan) discussed legislation today that would exempt these devices from being define as “motor vehicles” under New York State law. Senator Peralta introduced a bill that would provide state and municipal authorities with the ability to create regulations regarding these popular devices. Councilmembers King and Rodriguez announced the introduction of a resolution in the City Council in support of the bill.
Under the proposal, these devices are no longer considered “electric personal mobility assistive devices.” In addition, state and municipal authorities would have the ability to create unique sets of regulations regarding hoverboards and electric unicycles. “This is a bill that tries to keep up with technology,” said Senator Peralta. “Because hoverborads and electric unicycles are not cars or motorbikes, my proposal removes these devices from what is considered a ‘motor vehicle’ under State law.”
Senator Peralta explained that nothing in his bill “constricts the ability of State or municipal governments to address operational or safety concerns relative to these devices; quite conversely, it allows these entities to address these issues outside of the blanket regulatory scheme that is applicable to motor vehicles and electric personal assistive mobility devices.”
According to reports, during Cyber Monday, about 7,500 hoverboards were sold nationwide, which means one on every 12 seconds. Senator Peralta noted, “These are some of the hottest items on store shelves and the idea here is that if they are sold legally in New York, as they are now, you should also be able to ride them in New York.”
Senator Peralta’s bill would render the rule said to pertain to the use of hoverboards and electric unicycles in New York City obsolete, creating a separate categories for these devices. Following the creation of these categories, State and municipal authorities would then have the power to act on safety and operational issues that are unique to the use of these technologies.
Assemblymember Weprin stated “hoverboards have been one of the most popular holiday gifts this season, with many being sold in stores right here in the city. And although you won’t find me on one, New Yorkers of all ages should be able to enjoy their gifts without the threat of a $200-$500 fine. State law must keep up with technology and our bill does this for these new devices. This bill allows users to continue using these hoverboards while still providing state and municipal authorities with the ability to regulate the operation of these popular devices if necessary.”
“It is our aim to revise the traffic law to allow for the use of hover boards and electric unicycles in limited spaces, I am urging all my colleagues at the City Council and the Administration to sign onto my resolution, which would call upon the state legislature to pass Bill # S6260A, which would amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to exempting hoverboards and electric unicycles from the definition of ‘motor vehicle’ “, said Councilmember King.
“These so-called hoverboards have taken New York City by storm, already in use on our streets and in our parks by New Yorkers from all walks of life,” said Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. “While I remain dubious about legalizing their use on streets and sidewalks, I believe there is a place for them to be used recreationally, in safe designated areas, without fear of a fine. Regulations should keep up with technology and I support Senator Peralta’s efforts toward this end. This bill will allow us in New York City to deliberate and find where these popular devices are most appropriate.”
“Hoodriderz and the community would like to thank Senator Peralta, Councilmember King and their teams for addressing the current legislation and bringing it up to date. We are excited for the legalization of personal transportation devices and believe that these fun modes of transport also have great potential to reduce pollution as adoption grows,” said Tim Haden, founder of Hoodriderz and hoverboard activist.
“The joint support of both Senator Peralta and Councilman King regarding the legalization of these balance boards aka hoverboards is proof positive that the current policy, making them illegal, is far overreaching and a definite target on the backs of minority youth who are the largest consumers of these modern skateboards,” said Tony Herbert, hoverboard activist.