Janelle Evans riding on a Watch Me Hover Hoverboard in Los Angeles / Broadimage/REX Shutterstock

The law bans taking ‘horse, ass, sheep, mule, swine, or cattle or carriage of any description, or any truck or sledge’ on the pavement, and railway was just catching on when hoverboards were outlawed

Hoverboards have been banned — and the law making them illegal was passed 180 years ago.

The fashionable “self-balancing scooters”, as authorities refer to them, are banned from pavements under a law that was passed in 1835. Along with taking a “horse, ass, sheep, mule, swine, or cattle” on the pavement, the police could arrest anyone for driving the two-wheeled Segways along the pavement.

Riding the scooters on the road is also an offence, according to different legislation passed in 1988. That means that hoverboards can only be legally used on private land, with the permission of the landowner.

Riding hoverboards on the pavement is banned under Section 72 of the Highway Act 1835 in England and Wales, along with the riding or driving of any vehicle. The act makes it an offence “to wilfully ride on the footway”, with only certain vehicles used by disabled drivers being exempt.

Pilgrim on hoverboard in Mecca

The text of the relevant section reads: “If any person shall wilfully ride upon any footpath or causeway by the side of any road made or set apart for the use or accommodation of foot passengers; or shall wilfully lead or drive any horse, ass, sheep, mule, swine, or cattle or carriage of any description, or any truck or sledge, upon any such footpath or causeway; or shall tether any horse, ass, mule, swine, or cattle, on any highway, so as to suffer or permit the tethered animal to be thereon” they can be fined according to a standard scale of charges and will be liable for any damage that they cause.

In Scotland, riding the scooters on the pavement is an offence under the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984.

Since the law is so old, hoverboards have been banned ever since they first caught on, a year or two ago. But the growing popularity led the police to tweet out a warning over the weekend, since when many fans have become worried that their expensive purchases might get them in trouble with the police.