Nanny State

New York City Bans the Hoverboard

The nanny state stands athwart the future, yelling stop.


The future is here, but New York City nannies won't have it.

The "hoverboard"—a mash-up between a razor scooter and a Segway, sans handles—is a self-balancing two-wheeled personal transportation device, which has made a splash with kids and seems poised to be a huge seller this holiday season.

Sure, they might not look exactly like the hoverboards we were promised in a "Back To The Future" view of life in 2015, but the movie got the year right.

In New York City, though, zipping down the sidewalk on a hoverboard could get you in trouble.

Someone caught riding a hoverboard in public could be subject to a $200 fine, the New York Daily News reported last week. An NYPD spokesman told Time magazine hoverboards are illegal on NYC sidewalks because they are motor vehicles that can't be registered.

In the nanny state, of course, you can only have things the government knows how to register and license. When new products come along—so new they don't exist within a previous level of government regulation, classification or control—they simply cannot be.

Innovation be damned. The future be damned.

But sometimes the nanny state gets tangled in its own regulations.

For example, one section of the New York City code seems to suggest the handlebar-less scooters are actually 100 percent legal in the city.

The New York Daily News says Code 19-176.2 defines "motorized scooters" as being "any two-wheeled device that has handlebars." It further explains "the term 'motorized scooter' shall not include electric powered devices not capable of exceeding fifteen miles per hour."

The city requires that all motorized scooters be licensed with City Hall but, based on those definitions, hoverboards don't fit.

Still, it might not be a great idea to get into a legal debate with the NYPD, as officers are writing tickets for hoverboarding in public. The better strategy would be for the city to say a ban on hoverboards is pointless, wasteful and just silly.

Many retailers seem to believe—or at least hope—that will happen. Or they think people will just do what they've always done and ignore pointless, silly bans on innocuous activities.

At The Board Store on W. 8th St., owner Jay Isaac told the New York Post that he's already sold 3,000 hoverboards (at $500 a pop) in just a month of doing business. Macy's famous Manhattan flagship store gives more than 20 feet of retail space to the futuristic personal transport machines, the paper reported.

But in this fight of government nannies versus the businesses, people and kids of New York City, the government isn't about to back down.

One member of City Council, Andy King, D-Bronx, wants to propose a bill outlawing hoverboards.

"People won't be walking or exercising their lungs" if hoverboards are "seen as a new form of transportation," he told the Post.

Don't even bother asking what he thinks about the cars, trucks, taxis, subways, city buses, horse-drawn carriages, elevators, escalators, airplanes, trains, boats, helicopters and ferries that move people all over New York City every single day.

In King's ideal city, everyone walks and, probably, has to license their feet with City Hall.

NEXT: Adam Ruins Everything's Adam Conover on Skepticism, the TSA, and Cultural Myths in the Information Age

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  1. Can you legally ride a skateboard on the sidewalks of NYC?

    If you can then someone please take a overboard to a city council meeting and beat Andy King’s brains out with it in full view of the other members.

    1. Oh wait, this is the city that elected a socialist mayor on the heels of one that wanted to ban 16+oz sodas?

      Fuck ’em.

    2. Trick question — Andy King hasn’t got any brains, the zombies already gave up on him.

    3. Asking people to injure others is despicable and disgusting. If you have a problem with your elected rep then vote for another. You have only yourself to blame. However there is something even more vile and that’s when other people pile on.

      1. If you have a problem with your elected rep then vote for another. You have only yourself to blame

        So, when I decide to vote for a losing candidate, It’s my fault that the winning candidate sucks?? I’m pretty sure you have no idea what you’re talking about.

        Asking people to injure others is despicable and disgusting.

        Welcome to the Internet. It’s most commonly used for porn, cat pictures, and anonymously threatening people you don’t like. 99.999% of the time, the threats are hyperbole, the cat pictures are recycled, and the porn is underwhelming.

        1. And the only thing more disgusting than the people who pile on is when someone tries to defend it by criticizing the person who points it out. And the only thing more despicable than that is when still no one will say a word about it. OK now see if you can outdo yourself again:

          1. You are grossly short on education and/or imagination if that is your limit of despicable.

            Enter requisite Manson reference.

            1. OK congrats. Now don’t do it again.

              1. So you feel as though you make the rules here? Reason allows this board to self moderate, the market establishes the rule. You posted an absolute which is by nature a logical lightning rod. That makes it subject to criticism. Criticism that you failed to defend. How are hyperbolic threats in any way more dangerous than any other use of linguistic trickery?

              2. Seriously, dajjal, go fuck yourself, slaver….

              3. Lol, I bet dajjal is just great at parties *rolls eyes*

          2. The only thing more disgusting are people who call people names and condone behavior instead of just not saying anything. If you don’t have anything pleasant to say don’t say anything at all.

          3. Would someone please take dajjal to the city council meeting and have him stand in line behind Andy King?

        2. You’re doing the porn part wrong, at least.

        3. “and the porn is underwhelming.”

          You’re obviously doing it wrong!

      2. I’ve always found hyperbole enriching in my life, but I hail from barbaric stock.

        If we had more people calling for beating politicians’ brains out with hoverboards for their bad ideas, perhaps they’d be less prone to pronouncing their bad ideas. Out loud. Where the non-shameless can actually hear them.

    4. Not without police permission. They are here to protect and serve. And, don’t you forget it!

  2. I suspect it’s because the Democrats got the name confused with Hoover Boards and were momentarily confused into back FDR again. Now they don’t dare back down for fear of losing face.

  3. “People won’t be walking or exercising their lungs” if hoverboards are “seen as a new form of transportation,” he told the Post.”

    /face palm.

    Jesus these people.

    They. Never. Stop.

    1. Next on the agenda:

      Forced exercise through state-run work camps. We’ll have our obesity problems completely cured at the same time we’re manually moving huge granite blocks to build pyramids in honor of our dear leaders.

    2. Like little nanny Terminators, aren’t they?

    3. It’s why reflexively defending ANYthing they assail is worth the effort.

      1. I’m amazed they don’t understand the virtue of restraint, and that this sort of thing helps make their political agenda appear idiotic and alienating in its entirety.

    4. As a public service to encourage fitness and physical activity, let’s put Andy King in a soundproof hamster ball suspended via crane in the middle of Times Square and watch him run for 12 hours a day.

      Children need examples of statesmen they can look up to.

      1. sooo…he should be at least 6′ off the ground at all times.

  4. Of course the government wants licenses/permit for everything. Licenses are a huge racket; a cash cow for the state. I’m seriously surprised they don’t impose licenses for bicycles.

    I see them on e-bay. What do you think? Worth buying one?

    1. This is the first I’ve heard of them, but my son says they’re extremely popular at his college campus. He says they’re way overpriced, and at $500 a pop, I agree.

    2. I think they’re supremely retarded, and not worth a dime, but I prefer to laugh at people riding them instead of pointing government guns at them.

    3. I have a couple of friends who have them – they love them, although they lost interest once they conquered them. I’ve tried them twice – it’s the mount and dismount that’s where you’re likely to bust your ass. Wherever your feet land when you get on: just accept that. DO NOT try to adjust your feet while on it. (You’re welcome).

      One reported they were way more capable on pavement than he thought they’d be. So for whatever it’s worth. They’re overpriced as fuck now, but that will come down. Unless, of course, they have to be sold on the black market…. :-/

    4. They could be useful if you lived in a big city, didn’t own a car, and sometimes had to travel to places farther than you would want to walk. It’s probably a lot easier than riding a bike and finding a place to chain it up, since you can just carry the hoverboard inside with you.

      My brother lives in Seoul, and he said there are tons of people who ride those things around.

    5. They do license bicylces. At least in CA. Local administration but state level requirement.

      However, most people ignore it and it is not enforced that I’ve ever seen.

  5. Still, it might not be a great idea to get into a legal debate with the NYPD

    A much better idea is to avoid NYC. Like the plague.

    At The Board Store on W. 8th St., owner Jay Isaac told the New York Post that he’s already sold 3,000 hoverboards (at $500 a pop)

    A 100% markup. How nice. Another reason to avoid NYC. Like the plague.

    1. I would never live in that communist shithole. Not until everyone finally sees the light and finally cleanses America of its progressives

      1. Places like NYC and SF are “cleansing America of its progressives”, by concentrating them all in a few places. So, I think they are performing a useful service. We just need to keep them and their policies contained within those places.

        1. Or……..wall off those cities, and prevent any supplies from entering. As the food runs out, the progs will work themselves out.

          1. It would be an interesting experiment to see just how quickly the progressives turn to survival of the fittest. My money says that the progressive politicians go full retard before the crisis even begins.

            1. ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK redux

        2. You have no idea.

          I live near SF. Talk about being a minority!

          SF actually influences the entire Bay Area. Makes no sense. SF has 830,000 population. San Jose has more than 1M. And yet, the nine county Bay Area revolves around SF.

          I was born in SF. But usually won’t admit it. I still have family there and visit almost weekly. The conversations I hear from residents, people I know and people I don’t on public transit, are discouraging. They all think they live in some nirvana and that the milk and honey will never run out. And yet, the evidence of the failures are all around them.

          They just blame it on a lack of sufficient government intervention and “the rich” for not “fixing” these things. They are completely focused on “taxing the rich” as the ultimate answer. All the while making more than $200,000 annually themselves and living in $1M plus homes.

          Self awareness is not one of their strong points. ;-(

  6. “If you walk, we’ll tax your feet.”–John Lennon

    1. Shoe sales carry a sales tax in NYC.

    2. George Harrison, actually.

    3. Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

      Ronald Reagan

  7. If it’s not OK to require Muslim’s to register (obvious) why is it OK to require scooter owners to register?

    1. At least two different reasons:

      1) American Muslims largely vote Democrat. With the current Obama administration trying to secure a lock on future Democrat votes, they will not take any action that will turn away Muslim voters. (Hoverboard owners are probably mostly too young to vote reliably.)

      2) Muslims fight back vehemently (and violently) against attempts at control by Western/secular governments (check out the difficult time France is having policing Muslim enclaves). Just as there are comedians and atheists who openly say they do not criticize Islam for fear of violent retaliation against them or their families, our politicians fear angering the Muslim community.

      (The answer is not to clamp down further on Muslims as some may respond–the answer is for ALL Americans to fight back vehemently–not necessarily violently–against gov’t control to the point where legislators always think twice about creating new bans and taxes.)

      1. I think it is more likely point 1 if anything but I think the real answer is their positions are not based on any coherent or consistent principals. They have talking points and that is all. When you are primarily a machine that generates thousands of random talking points some of those will certainly contradict themselves. I think people embrace registration of gun owners scooter owners etc while objecting to registration of a religious group because there simply are no principals underlying their belief system. Like toddlers they simply want what they want and will scream to get it. SJW’s are merely a caricature of the left in general.

        They are right about registering Muslim’s for the same reasons stuck clocks are sometimes right and blind squirrels find an occasional acorn.

      2. Is this a good time to discuss my plan to euthanize all the progressives?

        1. Euthanize is such an ugly word. And since we are discussing a self selected political class; apparently composed entirely of emotionally crippled, self lobotomized, parasitic pants shitting permanent pre-adolescents with an extreme loathing for any form of armed personal self defense, economic productivity, thrift, self reliance or any other concept of the self,outside of the collective state. Would euthanization even be necessary in the long run? Or even appropriate considering the inexorable course of evolution and natural selection?…. Not to mention the endangered species act.

          1. It would put them out of MY misery anyway, and I suspect, yours.

  8. My family, in-laws, and friends that still live in the tri-state area always ask my wife and I how we could’ve left NYC. These are the type of articles I like to send in reply.

  9. “One member of City Council, Andy King, D-Bronx, wants to propose a bill outlawing hoverboards.”

    Douchebags seeking power and control over people. Slavers gotta slave.

  10. So that’s what they’re called. I’ve always referred to them as douche-scooters.

  11. Hey, heathens! Government is here to protect us from our own stupid actions! Don’t you see that that is why us falible beings vote for such perfect people to make decisions for us? Sheesh!

  12. Lots of silly comments here loaded with self-congratulatory, knowing anti-NYC nods. These boards are pretty annoying, just like the damn scooters and skateboards that every other kid now has, in a congested city where people are trying to navigate busy streets. I’m sure they wouldn’t pose a risk in much of small-town America, but New York is a different animal. And, while we’re at it, let’s ban motorcycles in New York altogether! Noise generators for idiots.

    1. in a congested city where people are trying to navigate busy streets

      Another reason to avoid NYC. Like the plague.

      These boards are pretty annoying,

      So are New Yorkers. And Bohemians.

      1. Funny. Beijing has 5 times the people and seems to navigate. The only big problems are the goons who take full-size scooters on the sidewalk. Anything smaller is more careful, since people aren’t averse to throwing an elbow at someone who gets too pushy.

    2. Is this guy or gal for real?

      /sips hipster douche bottled water.

    3. Ah yes, the classic appeal of the petty tyrant. It’s a special place, or a special time, or a special situation, so the restrictions on freedom I want to impose on the people I don’t like are okay.

    4. “Lots of silly comments here loaded with self-congratulatory, knowing anti-NYC nods.”

      Why are they silly? Discuss…

      “These boards are pretty annoying, just like the damn scooters and skateboards that every other kid now has, in a congested city where people are trying to navigate busy streets. I’m sure they wouldn’t pose a risk in much of small-town America, but New York is a different animal.”

      So, you expect everyone here to believe NYC, from Rockaway all the way up to Riverdale, have “busy streets” that are hard to navigate… by foot no less? Not everyplace looks like Midtown.

      “And, while we’re at it, let’s ban motorcycles in New York altogether! Noise generators for idiots.”

      Being that NYC puts the “park” in parkways, I propose we force all people in NYC that own a vehicle to trade them in for motorcycles. This would obviously help traffic congestion on the main arteries in the city because motorcycles take up 1/3rd the space as other motor vehicles!

      ^^It’s too bad that you won’t see the above response as exactly the type of stupid shit you are suggesting, but you’re too absorbed by your smugness to have any self-awareness of your condition.

    5. Ya know what? If the sidewalk is so crowded that these would be dangerous, owners won’t ride them, because they are no fun and provide no advantage.

      It’s amazing how many things work themselves out without government intervention. It’s even more amazing how many statists just can’t see that.

    6. “let’s ban motorcycles in New York altogether! Noise generators for idiots.”

      The only idiots making noise are those riding Harleys. The rest of us stopped being infantile when we took the cards clipped with clothes pins off of our bicycles when we were 13 years old.

  13. I give up. NYC is not only not a good place to live, it’s not even a good place to visit!

    1. Not anymore. Although NY’ers are always so full of themselves. Like there is something special about them because they live there. The only thing special about them equates to the short bus. Especially given that they sent carpetbagger Hillary Clinton to the Senate, pervert Anthony Weiner to the HoR, and communist DeBlasio to the Mayor’s office.

    2. NY is the ONLY Place to live.

      Not just for liberals btw.

      Donald Trump, Koch Brothers, John Stossell and various other “liberal” critics call this home.

      I wonder why? Is the lack of Freedom?

      1. More to do with it being a news and financial center. Not because it’s such an awesome place.

        ‘Only place to live’. Sounds like typical NY’er inflated sense of self and city.

      1. Pretty much. And they can all fuck off.

    1. He won’t care… until some cop decide he doesn’t like his YouTube video, or his T-shirt, or his attitude and is going to make an example of him.

    2. Well you had to sit through half of Caseys above noted youtube vid (this being some hitherto undiscovered-by-me species of the lesser Casey ,ie the non Doug phenotype),till you got to the gold. 30 second synopsis follows…..Patriotic and impassioned NYC Hipster-Proglodyte with some impressive 240 volt haute coiffure sets out on a mission to completely disprove the insulting notion that his particular natal tide pool is the corner of the swamp so fetid, so backwards, so regressive as to actually allow such a petty tyranny… (Casey bloviating). “I mean I mean this is just like so absurd man, for real yo, the cops around here totally have better things to do than fuck with people for riding on of these things,… Amirite?” Which he then proves by riding past a few of NYC’s finest and being mostly ignored rather than immediately challenged or beaten into submission and arrested. Yep all good till encounter 6 or 7… (Casey on hoverboard)-“Hey, this isn’t illegal is it?”..(Cop walking next to him with his partner)-“Well, technically it is!. Be safe!.” (Casey on hoverboard, wisely decides to tuck his tail between his legs and go on his merry way as fast as his hoverboard will allow with no further conversation,provocation or confrontation.) Yeah, Ballsy Rebels here. The kind that don’t bend over or suck any kind of slaver dick. Unless we totally feel in the mood. Which apparently we always do.

  14. Maybe NYC needs a new motto…something along the lines of, “anything not permitted is strictly forbidden!” with a chorus from the city council shouting, “Jahwohl, mein gruppenfuhrer!”

    1. Or cries of “Carousel” after the next phase of Obamacare kicks in.

      1. +1 Logan – Run boy Run

  15. Here’s the thing. When people exercise authority, the gap between restraint and ego begins to diminish rapidly. It’s this reason why a system of government needs restraints against rapid action.

  16. New York City Bans the Hoverboard

    As a longtime skateboarder and someone that values human dignity and all things decent, please let me just say…


    I will unflinchingly stand behind reason when they righteously decry bans on just about anything including, but not limited to, vaping, Four Loko, unsupervised children, ride hailing apps, smoking indoors and unlicensed interior decorators. But these fucking stupid things? Y’all need to have a serious discussion about which horses might be just too embarrassing to hitch your wagon to.

    1. The man who truly understands liberty will defend other’s rights to do that which he, himself disagrees with.

      Put another way, its an individual right until it denies someone else their rights.

      1. No no no. Things folks can’t comprehend the market doing, and other things they are uncomfortable with makes sacrificing the liberty of others a no brainer. Especially when you get to hide behind the state and it’s standing army.

        Bet there are droves or folks waiting to see a cop beat up some violator of the ban.

        See, you should have obeyed the folks in fancy clothes and costumes. Cause it’s da LAW!!!

    2. I favor their use, if only for the opportunity to clothesline some obnoxious teen punk riding one.

    3. How about religious right clinic gunmen? Right = religious = conservative = libertarian… according to Mother Jones.

  17. Face it, when it comes to sensibility for mankind, “It’s all (H)over but the crying.”

  18. In the nanny state, of course, you can only have things the government knows how to register and license. When new products come along?so new they don’t exist within a previous level of government regulation, classification or control?they simply cannot be.

    You can “nanny state” all you want. This is the way it should be until they can register and insist on safety guidelines similar to those of cars/motorcycles/bikes/etc.

    And, as far as “LIve free or Die”, I don’t want to “Live free And Die”

    1. What would we ever do without government rules and approval? Oh, right. Be much happier.

  19. Of course the NYPD’s own officers get to ride Segways and other electric scooters on city sidewalks. You think laws apply to public employees?

  20. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ??????

  21. “Still, it might not be a great idea to get into a legal debate with the NYPD…”
    I… can’t… breathe…
    If they’ll kill you over a cigarette you weren?t even holding, what would they do for unregulated roller skates?

  22. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. For further details, Check this link………….

  23. First they came for the Hoverboard

  24. I’m sure they wouldn’t pose a risk in much of small-town America, but New York is a different animal. And, while we’re at it, let’s ban motorcycles in New York altogether! Noise generators for idiots.

  25. Many people can work on this to avoid the ban like hoverboards did in the past and at the present time.

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