Segways and Hoverboards – could you be breaking the law?

Powered Transporters, a term coined by the government, covers Segways, Hoverboards, Balance Boards and Electric Scooters.

Operating using similar methods, Powered Transporters serve as an alternative to the traditional scooter or motorbike.

These quirky ride-ons have topped Christmas lists for several years and although the production and use is legal on private property, they remain illegal to use on public roads.

Segway is the longest standing producer of the ride-on board, however, it announced in June this year that it was stopping production of its transporter after 19 years in production. Segways have failed to catch on as much as the company had hoped and have been criticised for being unsafe as several users have been thrown to the ground after the unit span out of control.

Usain Bolt also had an altercation with a Segway in Beijing 2015. A cameraman riding a Segway ran over him while he was completing a victory lap after winning the 200m.

Hoverboards or balance boards were not introduced into the UK until 2015. Initial boards did not meet UK standards and concerns were raised after some were related to house fires and injuries. Hoverboards should now be tested and approved by UK trading standards before use.

The electric scooter has hit the headlines recently with new trials launched across the UK as commuters have searched for alternative transport methods during the Coronavirus pandemic. Read more on electric scooters HERE

 What is the law?

According to government guidelines Powered Transporters are motorised and designed, which means they are classed as a ‘motor vehicle’.

It is illegal to use a Powered Transporter:

  • On a public road
  • In spaces that are set aside for use by pedestrians, cyclists, and horse-riders; this includes on the pavement and in cycle lanes

Where can I ride one?

Powered Transporters can be used on private land with the permission of the landowner.

What happens if I break the law?

If you are caught using a Powered Transporter on a public road or other prohibited space in breach of the law, you will be committing a criminal offence and can be prosecuted.

The government website states: “The potential penalties depending on the nature and gravity of the offence, and sentences range from fines and penalty points to disqualification from driving. Those who use powered transporters dangerously or under the influence of drink or drugs can also be convicted of offences leading to imprisonment. Offences related to the standard of driving and speeding also apply.”

Accident Prone

There have been several high-profile accidents involving electric scooters but accidents on Hoverboards and Segways have also resulted in trips to A&E.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident on a Powered Transporter contact us for legal advice as you may be due compensation.

Call 03330 112732 or email


How to ride a hoverboard:

Powered transporters: