The hoverboard, the new mode of transport that appeals to city dwellers

Revolution in soft mobility, the hoverboard increases its influence on local traffic. The perfect complement to trains, trams, and buses, this somewhat futuristic machine is revolutionizing the lives of city dwellers. Praised by some and decried by others, hoverboards ease traffic congestion while providing extra speed for pedestrians. Focus on this new mode of travel.

Who invented the hoverboard?

hoverboard back to the future Marty MC Fly is officially the first person in the world to ride a hoverboard. The hero of the film “Back to the Future 2”, released in the 90s, surfs on a board that seems to be propelled by a tiny reactor. This is obviously fictitious, but remains the inspiration for modern hoverboards.

The hoverboards that we know, also called Segways, without handlebars and without saddle, appeared much later. If they are very largely inspired by the “ Mattel ” board present in the film, they are nevertheless different in terms of their technological functionalities.

However, it is difficult and perhaps even hypothetical to designate a particular inventor. Indeed, the hoverboard is at the center of many lawsuits between different companies claiming its paternity.

What is a hoverboard made of?

From a very basic point of view, the hoverboard is a skateboard with a small engine.

The soft mobility device is therefore composed of a board that serves as a support for the feet. Far from being the basic board of a skateboard, it is thicker and has a different cut to allow a good positioning of the feet and the center of gravity.

The wheels are also more elaborate than those bolted to a skateboard. Wider, they have a much more resistant and shock-absorbing “tyre” type coating. Depending on the use of the hoverboard, there are different types of wheels a bit like on cars.

As explained on the website, the engine is a real gem of technology. The motherboard, like those found in a computer, is the brain of the machine. It is she who controls and assists the machine in its maneuvers. The motor also includes a battery. This determines the range and maximum power of your hoverboard. Finally, the charger works in synergy with your battery.

How does this means of transport work?

Fun and easy to handle, the hoverboard is often, and wrongly, compared to an ordinary skateboard with a small motor. The reality, however, is a bit more nuanced.

The operating logic of the hoverboard is, all in all, quite easy to understand. Just get on the machine and lean in different directions to cause the board to move. Yes, but it cannot be improvised. Indeed, movements that are too sudden or too strong can quickly cause you to skid.

To get a hoverboard to work properly, you have to take the time to tame the machine. The more you learn, the more the speed increases. Likewise, the more you lean, the tighter the board will spin. It is therefore advisable to practice before mixing with pedestrian traffic.

Once taken in hand, the machine is rather playful and safe. This new high-tech gadget is equipped with LEDs that work like car indicators.

To stop, you just have to lean back without ending up on the asphalt.

What is the legislation around the hoverboard?

Like all other new electric vehicles, hoverboards have rules of use, even if they are sometimes vague or unknown.

While a decree should see the light of day this year, French laws currently have no specific regulations for hoverboards since they are not motorized land vehicles (their speed does not exceed 24 km/h ), but they cannot, however, be equated with pedestrians either. One would therefore be tempted to deduce that what is not prohibited is authorized, but with the application of common sense.

If the law is silent on the use of this type of machine on cycle paths, the precautionary principle then requires not to ride there.

Tolerated on sidewalks, they must nevertheless respond to maximum speed as well as safe driving. Wearing a helmet and sometimes even an outfit including elbow pads and knee pads is recommended. This is particularly the case when the driver is a child.

To avoid any hiccups, here are some key points to remember:

  • It is forbidden to use a hoverboard on the road.
  • The practice of the hoverboard is not authorized on the cycle paths. These are indeed reserved for machines which have two separate wheels and which can exceed 25 km/h.
  • The maximum speed of the machine must not exceed 24 km/h.
  • The use of the hoverboard is tolerated, even authorized, in pedestrian streets, green spaces, parks and meeting places as long as it does not contravene the safety of pedestrians.
  • The maximum speed allowed on the sidewalks is 6 km/h.

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