Now that the season's hottest gift has been scooped up across California like some sort of 21st century Tickle-Me Elmo, a new law is set to take effect January 1 that will govern the use and misuse of the self-balancing scooters colloquially known as hoverboards. The California law, which will make it legal to ride the not-actually-hovering boards both in the middle of the street and in bike lanes, also mandates helmet use (sorry tweens!).
The law was introduced by Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen of Modesto, reports the Chronicle, who noted that the legislation also applies to electric skateboards and was originally designed to protect a manufacturer — Intuitive Motion — based in her district.
“I do think it’s important to encourage these emerging industries,” said Olsen. “It didn’t make sense that products invented here could not be used here legally. It’s important for the laws to keep up with technological advancements so California can remain the innovation capital of the world.”
With the forthcoming legislation, California, as it is want to do, bucks the larger trend of outlawing the boards on public thoroughfares. They are illegal to use on the streets, sidewalks, or bike lanes of New York City, for example, leaving only private property and city parks as refuge for the would-be hoverboard generation.
Whether or not the new law will apply to actual hoverboards, which, apparently, as of this morning are actually a thing, is unclear.
Either way, now that every kid in California got one of these fire-prone devices for the holiday, ready yourself for the forthcoming hoverpacks.
Day 2: Children have begun moving in "herds" or "packs" of hover boards pic.twitter.com/lxdUQmJbLf— matt stew (@matttstew) December 26, 2015