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Lawmakers Push For Legalization Of Motorized Boards

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A trio of state and local lawmakers are pushing to legalize self-balancing, motorized boards and electric unicycles in New York.

"Hoverboards are not motor vehicles," Assemblyman David Weprin, D-Queens, said at a news conference in front of City Hall on Tuesday.

But the devices are being treated as such, WCBS 880's Kelly Waldron reported. And since you can't drive a car on a sidewalk or without registration, the boards and unicycles are illegal in New York City, and people are being ticketed for using them.

Weprin, state Sen. Jose Peralta, D-Queens, and city Councilman Andy King, D-Bronx, are looking to change that. Legislation is in the works that would make the devices legal, but would leave it up to the state and municipalities to create regulations.

The legalization bill specifically targets devices that go less than 20 miles per hour, have a single axle and are less than 20 inches tall, CBS2's Alice Gainer reported. It would also require use of safety gear, specify areas where they would be permitted to be used and education for riders on safe use.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said Tuesday that anyone who buys the boards is "out of their mind." He cited reports that several of the devices have caught fire.

"If you want to expose your family to that, good luck to you," Bratton told reporters. "As well as the two to three hours it takes you to learn to ride the damned thing. You better put your helmets and your elbow pads on because you're going to be banging into a lot of things. So before we go wholesales into this, it's going to require a lot of review and study.

"We live in an extraordinarily crowded city," he added. "You have a (hard) enough time walking down the streets, let alone hovering down the streets."

Lawmakers added that my regulating the devices, they can more easily monitor knockoffs and hopefully curtail dangerous fires.

The legislation is expected to be put up for a vote in the coming legislative session.

The motorized boards were one of the hottest holiday gifts this year, with sales soaring by some 215 percent, Waldron reported.

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