NEWEST, UNREGISTERED “MOTORIZED VEHICLES” COULD CAUSE ISSUES FOR PEDESTRIANS AND OTHERS
Jan. 6, 2016
Lawmakers (and parents) are struggling to keep up as a growing (but still largely illegal) fad is gaining traction and potentially causing serious danger on our sidewalks and roads. This new fad is the “hoverboard”–an invention that looks like an electric skateboard–and it is evidently this year’s “must-have” holiday item.
Untested and Unregulated
The most popular hoverboard model travels up to 12 miles an hour on two wheels. In some states, they have been classified as “motorized vehicles that cannot be registered,” leading to fines being assessed for their use. They have a motor, which makes their use on sidewalks problematic, and yet they are arguably not safe enough to use on roads with cars that can travel much faster.
Although heavily promoted by manufacturers, hoverboards and similar products have not explicitly been tested for safety, nor have regulators been able (or had time) to promulgate specific rules to govern their use in order to ensure that the public is safe with their use on the roads, sidewalks, or anywhere else. Then again, states such as California have tried to get ahead of the issue by allowing their limited use in bike lanes, but only if riders wear helmets.
Pedestrian Collisions & Bans
Thus far, some pedestrians have suffered due to collisions with hoverboard riders, leading some college campuses to ban their use in hallways and on walkways. Property owners are also concerned, as they are difficult to control and those operating them can easily get injured in the process, with some outright banning their use on private property in order to avoid liability issues. Some have also seen competing brands and models quick to fall apart or split, causing serious injuries for the riders.
Outside states such as New York and California—both of which have taken explicit steps to either ban the product or allow for it in limited circumstances—other Americans, such as those in Florida, remain uncertain of their specific legality. Florida does have laws, for example, related to skateboarding, and these laws entail where skateboarding and related activities are and are not legal in order to ensure the public’s safety. For example, in Florida, there is no authority or permission to use government property for skateboarding and related activities unless explicit permission has been provided via designation through a posted rule in the designated area that identifies all authorized activities.
Legal Representation for Injuries and Accidents
The law often has difficulty keeping up with technology, potentially leading to serious accident and injury-related issues involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, pedestrians, and even the occasional fad that is something in between, like the hoverboard. It is frightening to think that no one agency is on top of regulating new inventions that could cause serious injuries.
It is crucial that any and all accidents related to these “vehicles” are handled by an experienced personal injury attorney. If you have been injured in an accident, contact Mike Walker Law to get the help that you need in holding those responsible accountable.