Riding self-balancing electric scooters, also known as hoverboards, on streets and pavements in Hong Kong may be fun but is illegal, according to the Transport Department.
A recent rise in global interest in the smart-looking, battery-powered two-wheeled gadgets recently prompted the department to classify them as "motor vehicles", which must be registered and licensed before they can hit the streets. But Young Post readers question whether these scooters are as dangerous as "motor vehicles".
The department's spokesperson told Young Post that riding hoverboards outdoors, including on cycling tracks, without a licence is illegal. "Hoverboard riders are not allowed to use cycling tracks. But it's legal to ride the hoverboards indoors. Let me specify that people can ride them at home if they have a big garden or spacious living areas," said the spokesperson. In Hong Kong, a driver of an unlicensed vehicle is liable to a fine of HK$5,000 and imprisonment for three months on a first conviction.
Young Post junior reporter Leo Vincent Wagner said hoverboards are dangerous if the riders can't control them. "They should be banned in places like shopping malls because the riders can hit other people."
But last year's SCMP Student of the Year - Sportsperson winner, Felix Tang Hoi-yen, said hoverboards should be allowed if there are rules, such as a speed limit. He said the government should set up indoor spaces for hoverboard riders.
Information technology lawmaker Charles Mok said the existing transport regulations were outdated.
"There are many open areas in places like Kai Tak and the West Kowloon Cultural District. We should explore letting the hoverboards run there."