Beijing Introduces Harsher Penalties for Hoverboard Users

By Ryan Gandolfo, November 7, 2018

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Planning to buy one of those nifty hoverboards or electric skateboards this upcoming Singles’ Day? If so, we have an important heads-up for you: on November 1, the Beijing government increased fines for electric skateboards, hoverboards, unicycles and other motorized gadgets caught navigating the roads of the capital city. 

According to a Weibo post from Beijing’s traffic police, anyone caught breaking the recently revised traffic law will have their commuter apparatus confiscated and will be charged a RMB200 penalty.

hoverboard-case.jpg
Image via @北京人的新鲜事/Weibo 

The latest amendment on China's Traffic and Safety Law states, “the use of any motorized hoverboard, skateboard or other device on roadways will result in the device being confiscated by the Public Security Bureau’s transportation supervision department and result in a RMB200 fine.” The post concluded saying that pedestrians using conventional skateboards, roller skates and similar equipment on roads will also be violating traffic laws.

The latest announcement is by no means the first ban of its kind implemented in Beijing, with announcements dating back to 2016 calling for hoverboards to get off the city’s roads. However, the new regulations impose a significantly higher fine than previous announcements. (In July 2017, the penalty for riding a hoverboard on the road was either a warning or a fine up to RMB50).

Guangzhou and Shanghai have also rolled out similar measures, banning the motorized contraptions from public roads in 2016 and 2014, respectively.

The latest announcement regarding daibu (‘substitute for walking’) commuting tools has led some Internet users to question whether these new laws are a bit excessive. One person vented online, writing, “you can sell them and buy them but you can’t ride them, once you start riding it’s hard to quit. Only after purchasing one is it now illegal.” Others called out the hypocrisy of penalizing hoverboards while continuing to allow laonian daibu che, essentially a high-powered wheelchair or cart used by senior citizens, to drive on the roads unchecked, often times without a license plate. Another user weighed in, writing, “What about those old carts driving around? Aren’t those vehicles even more dangerous?”

Hoverboards and other electric transportation devices have been steadily increasing in popularity, with electronics maker Xiaomi growing their market share of the ‘sport amusement tools.’ We reached out to Xiaomi’s official Taobao store to inquire about the legal use of the motorized boards. Below we have provided the rough translation.

xiaomi-rules.jpg
Screengrab via Ryan Gandolfo/That's

“We’re very sorry! This may bring you some inconvenience, but because our product is for sports and entertainment and not intended for transportation purposes, we recommend you operate the device in an open square or inside the confines of a neighborhood. For you and your family’s safety, we recommend you avoid riding the device on the road. Thank you for your understanding and support!”

While their response falls in line with the government’s current initiative to get the boards off the roads, their customers are yet to show any sign of stopping.

[Cover image via @青岛西海岸新区中心医院/Weibo]

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