Anyone in North Rhine-Westphalia hoping that Santa will bring them a hoverboard this Christmas may want to think twice now.
A 40-year-old man was fined €1,200 by a Düsseldorf court last week after police stopped him as he was “hovering” along a pavement, Der Westen reports.
The man had not crashed into anything; his crime was rather that of using the vehicle to move faster than walking speed.
Commercially available “hoverboards” have little to do with the levitating skateboard of Back to the Future fame, but are rather a board suspended between to battery powered wheels, which can be controlled through movement of the feet.
The Düsseldorf judge stated in his ruling that any vehicle that travels at a speed quicker than 6 km/h is subject to insurance. As such, the man was in contravention of the law for not having insured his vehicle.
The court ruling is not yet final, as the “hoverboarder” has the right to lodge an appeal.
Many riders may be unaware that they are breaking the law while rolling these gadgets down the street.
Hoverboards are not licensed to be used on public roads and streets in Germany. This also extends to skateboards with electric motors and “solowheels”, a similar idea to the hoverboard, where the wheel is placed between the feet of the rider.
These forms of transport may be used on someone's private property, for example in the house or garden. But anyone caught rolling around their local REWE carpark may be risking a fine, Der Westen notes.