The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has confirmed that the use of self-propelled scooters, more commonly referred to as hover boards, is indeed illegal in the UK regardless of whether they are used on the roads or on pavements, and that Segways are bound by the same laws. This means that anybody using either of these devices anywhere except on private land is breaking the law and could be arrested for doing so.
However, the courts have also ruled that Uber drivers are not breaking the law by using the Uber app to help them calculate the total amount of fare to charge customers. The latter ruling is likely to come as a major blow for black cab drivers who, with the support of London mayor Boris Johnson, are embroiled in a bitter feud with the innovative private hire hailing app firm.
The self-propelled scooter utilises a similar mechanism to that the of the Segway, with riders using a shift in bodyweight to accelerate or decelerate the small motored vehicle. The size and convenience of the devices has seen their popularity increase significantly over recent months, but there have been some concerns raised over their safety, and in particular over the question of whether they are safe for other road and pavement users.
It is most common to see the devices being used on pavements, rather than on the road, and this has caused pedestrians to complain about their use. A number of groups had questioned their legality, and some riders had taken to using cycle routes and the roads in order to try and remain within the letter of the law. However, the CPS has now confirmed that the nature of the vehicles means that they are illegal whether they are being used on the road or on the pavement.
In contrast, the courts have ruled that the Uber app, which Uber drivers use to help them calculate fares among other uses, is perfectly legal because it does not constitute a taximeter. If they had ruled that it was a form of taximeter, then only black cab drivers are permitted to use these devices in the capital and Uber drivers would have been deemed as having broken the law.