New York lawmakers want to legalize hoverboards

(Image: Shutterstock)


(CNN) — State Senator Jose Peralta and Assemblyman David Weprin, both Democrats from Queens, are trying to get hoverboards reclassified so they’ll be legal in New York City.

“There is no evidence to suggest that an all-out ban on hoverboards is in the public interest,” reads a statement on Peralta’s web site.

The New York City Police Department and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles consider hoverboards to be illegal in New York City.

“Motorized self-balancing devices, such as Segways, hoverboards, and other ‘personal transporters,’ are prohibited in New York City by New York State law,” said the NYPD in an email to CNNMoney.

The NYPD said that hoverboards are classified as motor vehicles under state law and the state requires motor vehicles to be registered. “Since none of them may be registered they are not permitted,” said the NYPD.

Peralta hopes to exempt hoverboards from motor vehicle classification with his bill, assuming that it passes the Senate and Assembly and gets signed by the governor.

Weprin could not be reached by CNNMoney, but a spokesman for Peralta said he’s entered a similar bill.

Hoverboards were a hot holiday gift and have also proven very controversial.

There have been nearly two dozen reports of flaming hoverboards, including one that combusted at a shopping mall in Texas. There have also been 70 reports of emergency room visits during the holidays from hoverboard accidents. There’s even a hashtag called #hoverboardfails.

A Filipino priest got in trouble for riding a hoverboard during a service on Christmas Eve.

Major airlines, including Delta (DAL), United (UAL) and American (AAL) have banned the hoverboards from flights because of safety concerns related to the devices’ lithium-ion batteries. Federal rules restrict some types of batteries on planes because of the risk of combustion.

“Anybody who buys one of those things is out of their mind,” said Police Commissioner Bill Bratton in a press conference on Tuesday, where he complained about the “spontaneity of them catching on fire.”

Related: Hoverboard crash injuries spike during the holidays

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