Marty McFly made them cool and Justin Bieber even cooler but beware, they’re not all fun and games! The motorised scooter/hoverboard/segway may be this year’s hottest toy but unfortunately it comes with many dangers.
“Hoverboards are the hot ticket item on many Christmas wishlists, but we need shoppers to keep safety front of mind before they put their money down,” Australia’s road minister Tony Piccolo has said. “I don’t want to be the Christmas Grinch, but I want people to know and send a message that these new toys have real safety concerns.”
The hoverboards can reach speeds of up to 26 kilometres [16 miles] per hour and they don’t have adequate brakes, lights or warning indicators, meaning they can’t interact safely with other road users like pedestrians.
“What’s more, riders endanger themselves because they’re unprotected around other vehicles like cars and trucks.”
You may think Australia’s roads minister is a spoilsport, but he does have a point. If a skilled dancer and performer like Justin Bieber can’t ride a hoverboard without falling off, what chance do Australia’s children have?
Current rules for using the motorised scooters in Australia are as follows:
New South Wales:
— Can ride on roads but must keep left and cannot travel beside a pedestrian or car
— Can ride on footpaths and shared paths but must give way to pedestrians and bicycles, and must not ride on the pedestrian lane of shared paths that split in two
— Riders must wear an “approved bicycle helmet”
— Can ride on footpaths and shared paths but must keep left and give way to pedestrians and bicycles
— Can ride on roads except those with a median strip or centre line, one-way roads with more than one lane, and roads with a speed limit over 50km/h
— Must not ride at night, alongside a pedestrian or car, or cause a traffic hazard
Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania:
— Private property only
— Private property, off-road areas, and “any local council land designated for their specific use”.
Here’s a reminder of what can go wrong on the hovercraft. Be careful peeps!