The Guardian view on hoverboards: toddle off | Editorial

The Guardian view on hoverboards: toddle off | Editorial
The hoverboard craze belongs indoors; in public places we’re better off walking or cycling

The fuss about hoverboards, or “swegways”, must puzzle anyone over 15: they are the latest children’s toys for adults, self-balancing platforms with wheels at each end, where the rider teeters, half terrifying and half absurd, down crowded pavements or through malls and airports. Why would anyone want one? They don’t actually hover. They are not the enchanting air surfboards that Back to the Future promised us. The nearest that technology has come to that is a board that levitates a few inches by magnetic repulsion from a specially prepared metal surface. That’s not much fun. A hoverboard should let you float above any ground. A true personal hovercraft would be really fun: imagine being able to skid across the Serpentine in Hyde Park, or to slalom down the Thames with the disdainful style of an urban cyclist. Of course they would have to be banned eventually, but at least there would be something really worth banning there. The wheeled hoverboard is hardly worth banning, though police have just clarified that it is illegal to use on a public road or pavement. It is anarchic in an infantile way. The man on the swegway (and it is hardly ever a woman) is making a statement that they are rich or lucky enough not to have to grow up. This is also the message of the adult scooter. But we stand for the pedestrian responsibilities of everyday life. Walking upright made us human. Walking in cities makes us civilised, as cycling does and cars don’t. Bin the board.

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Source: Guardian Transport

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