Cool folks zip around on some futuristic device called a self-balancing scooter, also called an electric scooter or simply a hoverboard. Because what’s cooler than being able to get around the mall on your e-scooter? Nothing, except mall security may hold completely opposite views concerning riding a balance board there.
Before buying a hoverboard, it’s important to ask these two questions: Where can I ride a hoverboard? Are hoverboards illegal?
In this post, I cover those two questions and a bunch more so you can enjoy your new exciting purchase without worries or constant nasty surprises.
Related: How to Ride a Hoverboard
It’s Easy to Hate Places That Ban Hoverboards
If you’re a hoverboard owner, it’s easy to “hate” states and countries that have banned hoverboards. But if you stop for a moment and think about what’s happened lately in the world of hoverboarding, you begin to understand why not everyone’s not crazy about this new, cool technology.
Where Can You Ride a Hoverboard in the USA?
Some U.S. states allow people to ride hoverboards in some places while restricting the activity in other areas. It’s your job as a hoverboarder to research and know what the law in your country or state says about riding a hoverboard in public places.
For example, California allows residents to ride hoverboards in areas where bikes are allowed. Thank you California. But this isn’t the case in other cities such as New York. New York hoverboard laws expressly ban these handlebar-less segways on city streets and sidewalks.
How NY City Cleverly Banned Hoverboards on Sidewalks & City Streets
There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to how to treat hoverboards. These personal transportation devices are insanely becoming popular, and it’s increasingly hard to just ignore them as them as just another passing fad. New York city views electric scooters as motorized vehicles (and they’re 100% right IMO).
What this means is that you’re supposed to register your hoverboard with the state pretty much like you would with a new car. But we all know it’s impossible to register a device such as a hoverboard. So that’s how good old New York outlawed hoverboards from its sidewalks and streets. I guess they hire some smart Harvard lawyer to craft those hoverboard-banning regulations.
But it’s not like you can’t ride a hoverboard in New York city. You can; you just need to know the allowed locations. To be clear, you can ride your self-balancing scooter in most public parks in seemingly strict New York.
But which other U.S. locations allow hoverboards?
10 Places in the U.S. That Allow You to Hoverboard to Your Heart’s Content
1.Albuquerque, New Mexico
3.Los Angeles, California
4.San Francisco, California
6.San Diego (Pacific Beach), California
7.Dirty 6th Street in Austin, Texas
8.New York City, New York
9.Santa Barbara, California
10. Venice Beach, California (Specifically Venice Beach Boardwalk)
A nice little list right there, but that’s the short answer. Below is the longer one so you can get a few of those little pieces of information that lists like this typically omit.
1.Albuquerque, New Mexico
Centrally situated Albuquerque isn’t only the largest city in New Mexico, it’s also the state’s cultural center. It’s a beautiful place with great scenery, a dry high desert environment. Small wonder Albuquerque is home to the International Balloon Fiesta every October.
This location boasts miles and miles of long roads, too, and doesn’t this make it the kind of place for hoverboarding, longboarding, or inline skating?
There’s also tons hills in this place, just what you need to get out of your comfort zone and become a better hoverboarder or skateboarder.
With 5 museums, lots of shops selling elaborately made Native American handicrafts, and the Rio Grade flowing silently like it’s done for millennia, it’s hard to get bored in Albuquerque. It’s just you that you don’t want to ride your hoverboard inside the museums, nor do you want to ride the cute little thing right into the Rio Grade!
2. Clearwater, Florida
Clearwater sits along Florida’s Gulf Coast, and if you can’t be happy here, you can’t be happy anywhere else on Earth. Yes, that’s what I said. I mean, aren’t Florida’s beaches some of the most beautiful in the United States?
There’s miles and miles of clean sandy beaches sitting adjacent to some the clearest water the world’s ever seen. And there’s nothing quite like floating on the flour-white sand. Oh, and no one will stop you and ask questions if you decide to ride you that electric scooter on the Boardwalk. And then there’s the rejuvenating Gulf breezes blowing in your hair the whole time.
When you’re done exploring Clearwater on your motorized board, consider spending some me-time at Clearwater’s Sand Key Park. And when the sun goes down, why not join the local community as they enjoy the exhilarating water sports? Just don’t dive into the deep on your hoverboard!
What’s not to like in Clearwater? Nothing!
3.Santa Barbara, California
If you’re looking for an Instagram-worthy location to ride your hoverboard, look no further than California’s Santa Barbara.
There’s only two words to describe Santa Barbara: bold and beautiful. Vineyards everywhere that stir up all sorts of ideas and memories. Surfing maniacs who know of no better ways to spend an afternoon. Meditative souls who never miss the golden beauty of a Santa Barbara sunset, happy folks who watch the sun as it descends behind the majesty of the tranquil, ancient mountains.
And then there’s you hovering around on your self-balancing scooter. They allow you to ride that thing to your heart’s content here, and when you’re all hovered-out, why not try out Santa Barbara’s outdoor dining?
Oh, and if you’re into art, consider checking out Santa Barbara Museum of Art. And while there, why not indulge in some DIY art therapy at the museum’s The Crafter’s Library?
4.Los Angeles, California
What comes to mind when someone mentions world-famous Los Angeles in a conversation? It’s Hollywood, of course. But there’s a whole lot more going in this heavily-sought destination than just shooting epic films.
First off, there’s Los Angele’s ethnic and cultural diversity to appreciate. And then there’s all the fine homes of the rich, the wealthy, and the famous to look at and mutter, wow!
Some of those helmet-less celebrities and athletes who recently lit up the internet with videos of themselves riding some cute hoverboard live here. OK, some didn’t do it so well, but it’s what it was.
I recall seeing one of the celebrities (who was that?) hovering around some park or some other place and then riding into water. It’s all marketing, you know, so don’t dive into some pond with yours even if the description says it’s IP56-rated. Because electric devices of all kinds and water have never been the best of friends.
Whatever America’s second-largest city represents to you, understand it’s a hoverboard-friendly destination. A destination you and everyone else should see at least once in a lifetime, because it is, well, Los Angeles.
5.San Francisco, California
San Fracisco is another place in the USA where you can ride a hoverboard without getting on the wrong side of the law. Look, this isn’t a guarantee you won’t get into trouble at all. Gotta watch where you’re riding because you’re definitely not the only person who’s visiting this city.
There’s all kinds of smooth streets in San Francisco to ride your hoverboard, but who ever leaves this city without seeing its famous Lombard Street? No one. Lombard Street is famous for its hair pin turns, and you can certainly fly down this street on your hoverboard. But if your riding skills aren’t up to scratch, I’d say stay away from this demanding street.
Fun Fact: In the movie Bullitt, Steve Mcqueen drives a Ford Mustang around San Francisco to escape from the hit duo following him in a Dodge Charger. But did you know that part of this famous car chase happened along Lombard Street? Here’s the car chase scene from the movie Bullitt in case in you’re interested to watch it.
Here’s one more thing. Lombard Street is one of the most photographed locations on the planet. Your friends and family would love to see you floating down this weirdly bendy street, so please record the experience for them.
Ever since Terry Currier (owns Music Millennium) exported the slogan “Keep Austin Weird” to Portland, Portland’s done a pretty good job of keeping the city weird. Small wonder Portland is one of the few places in the U.S.A. where you can ride a hoverboard without worrying about getting hefty fines from law enforcement.
Portland has been the skateboarder’s and cyclist’s paradise for years, and now hoverboard riders have one more location that thinks e-scootering is cool.
A bunch of spacious bike lanes and really wide footpaths criss-cross the city, making it one of the most skate, bike, and hoverboard-friendly destinations in the U.S.
Whether you’re a book-loving person, a food enthusiast, or just someone who likes exploring little-known locations in all kinds of weird places, Oregon got you covered.
A map is a powerful tool when it comes to exploring new places, which is why you should arm yourself with the Bike and Walk Maps of Oregon. Whether you’re looking to see Portland’s metropolitan area or Portland’s neighborhoods, the resource behind the link above has a map to get you there.
7.Dirty 6th Street in Austin, Texas
A street with Dirty as part of its name may not sound like the ideal place to ride a hoverboard. But it turns out that the Dirty 6th Street in downtown Austin is different in every conceivable way.
I feel they should change the name of this street to something that sounds better, to a name that suggests much better things than filth and squalor.
It once was a little college town, but one with lots of vibrancy. Things have been changing over time though. And small isn’t a term you can use to describe this once-sleepy town anymore.
It’s now a big city, but the vibrant character of the town’s stayed the same. Its famous Dirty 6th Street has become quite the destination for music and art lovers. It’s also home to the famous Pecan Street Festival. And did you know that 6th Street was once known as Pecan Street thanks to this popular event?
There’s always live bands playing in this sought-after party town. Lively bars bursting with revelers and restaurants serving the most delicious of Texan cuisine line up the streets. Then there’s food trucks everywhere for folks who feel that getting off their board to eat inside a restaurant is too much of a hassle.
And the best part? You can ride a hoverboard on this famous street. If this location sounds like an appealing hoverboarding destination for you, let nothing hold you back. Get down there and see what this lively location has to offer.
8.New York City, New York
Well, New York isn’t the most hoverboard-friendly places in the United States. But if anyone tells you that you can’t ride your self-leveling scooter in Texas, slap them hard. Seriously. Because they’re lying.
Here’s the thing. You can actually own and ride a hoverboard in New York city. But there’s one thing you can’t do. You can’t ride your fancy board on wheels on city streets. Nor are you allowed to ride it on the sidewalks.
But you can sure have fun in most public parks in this costly city. Admittedly, this regulation is limiting on many levels. But if there’s a public park nearby, you can have as much fun as you want.
In a world inundated with all sorts of emerging technologies, some cities and countries have yet to formulate sensible laws governing hoverboard use. But NY city has.
9. San Diego (Pacific Beach), California
Can your board’s lithium battery handle a 7-mile cruise without dying on you? If yes, it’s time to hop on the scooter to see one of the most peaceful sandy beaches in the world.
And after you’re done doing the 7-mile ride from the Palisades Park all the way to the North Jetty, you want to experience PB’s nightlife.
Even though PB is more a destination for adventurous, free-spirited 23-year-olds and young adults, you won’t feel out of place if you’re older.
Because there’s a lot of fun to be had in any of the beachfront restaurants, bars, and stores along the 3.2-mile boardwalk found between the sea and the beach. The Pacific beach is without question one of the best in San Diego.
10. Venice Beach Boardwalk, California
There’s four things you see when you arrive at Venice Beach, California: sand, cyclists, skaters, hoverboard riders, sun, and of course, the water.
It’s going to be a really long ride. So, make sure that your board has enough battery power. And that you have adequate protective gear.
Also, be sure that the BlueTooth speakers on your scooter are working. Because you’ll definitely need some soothing music from your favorite band as you cruise along this majestic coastline.
Are Hoverboards Illegal?
No, hoverboards aren’t illegal. That is, the factories who make them are doing nothing unlawful. But here’s the problem: in many parts of the world today, it’s not legal to ride a hoverboard on public sidewalks and highways. But with more and more people adopting this really cool means of personal transportation, who knows when the laws will change for the better? Until then, follow the law and ride your thing only in allowed places.
Can You Ride a Hoverboard in the UK?
In the UK, you can ride a bike on pavements and roads, but the law of the land prevents hoverboard owners from doing the same. The UK, just like New York city considers these wheeled devices to be vehicles. For this reason, you can’t legally ride them on any sidewalks or roads without being license and having adequate insurance for the device and yourself. So, hoverboards aren’t illegal in the UK. You just have limited options when it comes to where you can ride them.So, where can you legally ride an e-scooter or hoverboard in the UK? On private property.
Can You Ride a Hoverboard in Canada?
Just like in the US, UK, and many other countries, hoverboards aren’t technically an illegal contraption. You can import them from China or wherever and sell them to folks in all the provinces of Canada. But where you can ride them varies from province to province. Canada considers these devices to be a motorized scooter. Some provinces requires hoverboard owners to follow the rules and guidelines that apply to car owners.
Where can you ride a hoverboard in Canada? In all provinces, you can ride a hoverboard on private property and off-road trails. Here’s a detailed resource that tells you where you can ride a hoverboard in each province in Canada. If you’re in Canada, I suggest that you get a badass off-road hoverboard and stop worrying about the rules.
Can You Ride a Hoverboard in Australia?
While hoverboards (also called mod boards, self-balancing scooters, smart boards, sky walkers, or gliders) aren’t technically illegal in Australia, they may be if they’re not safe. If your hoverboard fails to meet the safety requirements set out in the Consumer Goods (Self-balancing Scooters) Safety Standard 2016.
But where can you ride a hoverboard in Australia? As is the case in the U.S., Australian hoverboard laws vary from state to state, and the same goes for the two territories of the country.
Below is a little where to ride a hoverboard in Australia guide to help you decide where to have the fun. Here’s the source.
There are 8 administrative regions (states and territories) in the largest island on the planet. It’s also the smallest continent just in case your geography’s gotten a little rusty. I didn’t include South Australia and North Territory because I couldn’t find any credible source. I’ll certainly update this page once I find worthy sources.
Territories: Where can you ride within the two territories of Australia?
Western Australia: You can ride your hoverboard on local roads where the speed limit is 50 kmh/31 mph and footpaths as long as its wattage is 200W or less and it doesn’t travel faster than 10 kmh/6.21 mph. But the road should have only one lane and shouldn’t have a median strip. And if the footpath has a pedestrian section, you can’t ride there.
But tell you what? The weakest hoverboards I’ve seen have 250 watts and I don’t remember seeing a 200-watt option. So, even though you can ride a hoverboard in said places, you can’t ride any kind of decent adult hoverboard there. Note: If the board is over 200 watts and travels faster than 6.21 mph, you must register it.
Australian Capital Territory
You can only ride on private property.
Australian States: Where are you allowed to ride in each state?
If your balance board’s wattage is less than 200W and it’s daytime, you can ride the device on footpaths and roads where the stated speed limit is 31 mph or lower.
If the board has more than 200 watts and travels faster 6.21 mph/10kmh, registration is necessary. What’s more, licensing is required, and you need to comply with all road rules. But can you register a hoverboard? No. If you don’t register (because you can’t), you can only ride your hoverboard on private property. It seems like you can’t ride a self-balancing scooter anywhere outside of private property in Victoria.
If the hoverboard’s power is 200W or lower and it can’t travel faster than 10kmh/6.21mph, you can ride it in footpaths/sidewalks and other public areas including roads. But the road’s speed limit shouldn’t exceed 50kmh/31 mph. Also, the road should have no median strip/center line. And if it’s a one-way road with two lanes, that’s also off-limits. Additionally, you can’t ride your hoverboard at nighttime on any allowed Queensland road.
New South Wales
In New South Wales, you can only ride your electric scooter on private property. That’s pretty much banning. If you decide to ignore the rules and ride it on any road, a hefty of $637 (Australian pounds) fine awaits you. And if you’re seen by authorities riding on any footpath or any lane adjacent to a road, that’ll attract a fine of $319.
Places, Airlines, Universities/Organizations That Have Banned Hoverboards
Over 60 universities in the United States have banned hoverboards. Also, all airlines decided to ban hoverboards on planes. And no, you can’t ride a hoverboard in Disney theme parks. When it comes to countries that have banned hoverboards, they include the following:
- UAE (Dubai specifically): All malls disallow hoverboards.
Many countries especially in the developing world whose laws are silent as far as riding of self-balancing scooters on roads and other public areas.
What about states in the US that banned hoverboards? Ohia is one of them. New York is another (no riding on sidewalks + streets but parks allowed). California allows hoverboards in several cities but has banned them in others. Here’s a detailed list of universities, states, countries, and organizations that prohibit riding hoverboards in public spaces.
Truth be told: there aren’t that many places in the United States and everywhere else in the world to ride a hoverboard with restrictions of some kind. Many countries, provinces, states, universities, airlines, and malls ban them. Even though these devices aren’t technically outlawed, you can only ride on private property in many places.
But nothing stays the same forever. As more and more people join the personal transportation revolution, the laws in various places might evolve into more permissive regulations.Until then, make sure to learn the hoverboard rules in your region and always ride safely.
I'm Esther Moni, a proud stay-at-home mom and a psychology graduate of the United States International University (USIU) . I hate it when anyone calls me a housewife, because what does housewife even mean? Being a mother of two babies and a pup, Bailey, as well as being Ricky's wife tires me to no end, but I still manage a smile at the end of it all. And when my boys aren't done doing mischief, I juggle writing a post on parenting or baby gear performance for this blog and running my little counselling office based out in Nairobi. <a href="https://www.facebook.com/esther.moni/">Visit my Facebook profile here</a>, and this is my <a href="https://ke.linkedin.com/in/esther-moni-3841b573/">LinkedIn profile</a>, and here's my <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKcVb3NNDrURDH8C0KiAE1g/">nascent youtube channel.