Most British people say ‘self-balancing scooters’ look like good fun rather than a bit ridiculous – but there is broad support for a ban on public roads

There have been reports of large numbers of people riding the streets of Britain on hoverboards – not the kind seen in Back to the Future (set in October 2015), but a kind of hands-free Segway, also known as a ‘self-balancing scooter’.

They’ve become popular among pop singers, rappers and footballers but new YouGov research reveals the huge scale of their use in Britain. We showed British people a photograph of a hoverboard and 41% said they’ve seen someone using one, rising to 58% among the 18-24 generation.

You might expect British people to think the devices, which reach a top speed slightly above a brisk walk (6.2 mph), are a bit bizarre. But actually that’s not the case – most people (51%) say they look like fun, and a nice way to get around, while 41% say they look a bit ridiculous and they can’t see why someone would want to use one. Among those who have seen someone using one, 57% say they look like fun.

And surprisingly it’s young people (47%) who are more likely than over 60s (41%) to say they look ridiculous.

The police recently issued a notice reminding people that hoverboards are banned under the Highways Act 1835, on both roads and pavements.

The largest group of British people (44%) agree they should be illegal on both roads and pavements, however a third (33%) say they should be legal on pavements but not roads. 48% of young people say they should be legal on pavements but not roads, and 8% say they should be legal on both – a majority of 18-24s support them being legal on pavements.

See the full poll results

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