Councillor voices continued safety concerns over hoverboards

Coun Glynn Gilfoyle
Coun Glynn Gilfoyle

A Nottinghamshire County Councillor has urged people to think carefully before buying a hoverboard.

Hoverboards remain increasingly popular, particularly with young people but Coun Glynn Gilfoyle, community safety chairman at the council, says there are plenty of reasons to be cautious.

In particular, he cited their practical use in everyday society and the dangers of buying them online.

He said: “While hoverboards were the best-selling toy last Christmas, their practical use to be able to fully enjoy them outdoors must be questioned.

“Guidance from the Department for Transport says they should not be used on the pavement or the road and should only be used on private land with permission.

“We continue to reiterate to consumers to be very careful when buying hoverboards online because some have had well publicised product safety concerns and people should also bear in mind the advice on their legal use.

“Since these products have come onto the market we have seen a rise in the number of people using them on public highways and pavements which not only endangers the individual using the board, but also the general public.”

The Department for Transport’s guidance on the use of Powered Transporters – hoverboards or self-balancing scooters and powered mini-scooters – can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/485354/powered-transporters.pdf

Coun Gilfoyle continued: “The guidance was initially released for Segway Scooters and points out that since hoverboards are powered vehicles, they are illegal to ride on the pavement under section 72 of the Highway Act 1835.

“Meanwhile our Trading Standards team continue to investigate the product safety of these items.

“Around 200 potentially unsafe hoverboards have been suspended from sale from retailers across the county to prevent them getting into the marketplace after tests concluded they were unsafe.

“A further 20 hoverboards deemed unsafe by the council could also be destroyed if court orders can be obtained.

“Nationally, major safety issues include plugs without fuses, faulty cabling, unsafe chargers and defective cut-off switches within the product itself.

Boards have been known to overheat, explode or catch fire, leading to a number of high profile recalls on the High Street.

Our main advice is that consumers must choose carefully when they are looking to invest in a hoverboard, and be aware of guidance about where to ride them.

CIf you have concerns over the product safety of a hoverboard, the council urges you to seek advice from your supplier or alternatively contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.