CORONA — A group of politicians asked the city to legalize hoverboards as a way to "keep up with technology"— just hours before the NYPD commissioner blasted anyone who uses the two-wheeled rides as "out of their mind."
State Senator Jose Peralta joined Assemblyman David Weprin and Councilmembers Andy King and Ydanis Rodriguez on the steps of City Hall early Tuesday to create a registry that would allow the hoverboards and their single-wheeled cousin, the electric unicycle, to become legal.
“These are some of the hottest items on store shelves and the idea here is that if they are sold legally in New York, as they are now, you should also be able to ride them in New York," Peralta said of the wheels, which are currently restricted under New York State law.
Under the law, riders can't use vehicles that aren't registered first. And since the boards can't be registered, they're technically illegal.
"This is a bill that tries to keep up with technology,” Peralta added, noting that his bill will allow state or municipal governments to set their own restrictions.
But NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton told reporters Tuesday afternoon that anyone using a hoverboard in the city is "quite frankly ... out of their mind."
Bratton, speaking with Mayor Bill de Blasio at an unrelated press conference, said it's difficult enough "walking out in the streets, let alone hovering."
The commissioner said he's seen videos of the boards catching on fire and that's a reason to question their use.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he's working with the NYPD and City Council on how to "properly legislate to ensure safety."
Rodriguez, the city's transportation chair, agreed that hoverboards should be prohibited from the streets and sidewalk. But he believed "there is a place for them to be used recreationally, in safe designated areas, without fear of a fine."
The wheels were a hit over Christmas, and continue to gain popularity — despite an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Committee.
Tim Haden, founder of online site Hoodriderz, said the boards have a "great potential to reduce pollution as adoption grows."
His site sells the personal transportation devices from between $300 for a hoverboard to more than $3,000 for scooters.