Date
23 March 2017
Air boards (inset) are illegal in parks and playgrounds without a license, according to transport authorities. Photos: YouTube
Air boards (inset) are illegal in parks and playgrounds without a license, according to transport authorities. Photos: YouTube

Air boards are illegal, says Transport Department

Motorized self-balancing scooter boards, also known as air boards, are illegal in Hong Kong without a license.

The Transport Department issued the warning as sales of air boards continue to soar thanks to high-profile purchases by celebrities such as C AllStar, a cantopop group.

Many shop owners might have misled buyers that the vehicles are legal in parks and on private property, Headline Daily reports.

Air boards are selling for HK$2,000 (US$258) to HK$6,000 in Sham Shui Po, Tsim Sha Tsui and Kwun Tong.

Salespeople lure customers with demonstrations of high-speed dashes and fancy tricks.

A Sham Shui Po salesman said he sells 10 air boards a day.

These are legal in parks and playgrounds and on private premises, he said.

But a Transport Department spokesperson said air boards are considered motorized vehicles. As such, they need a license.

By law, anyone convicted of negligent driving or causing danger to the public could be jailed three months or fined HK$500.

Meanwhile, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said motorized vehicles are not allowed in country parks.

Offenders face a fine of up to HK$2,000 and three months imprisonment, it said. 

Also, beaches are off-limits to motorized vehicles, according to the Cultural Services Department.

Lo Kok-keung, a fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said air board batteries have increased risk of short circuits because of their higher voltage which is six times that of conventional car batteries.

An explosion could produce damage comparable to 10 times that from a lithium battery used in mobile phones and could cause serious burns.

Air boards have a top speed of 16 kilometers per hour and could unleash 600 pounds of force in a crash, he said.

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EL/DY/RA

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