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Hoverboards, Uber and Cannabis

Trending news items this week

The UK outlawed riding hoverboards in public 180 years ago

The Metropolitan Police (MPS) have announced some bad news for hoverboard fans, pointing out that it's actually illegal to ride the things on public roads or pavements - or anywhere apart from private property with the landowner's permission.

The MPS quotes legislation that states that "self-balancing scooters" (such as segways and Swagways and Hoverboards) can't be ridden on roads as they're not licensed and registered.

Using them on pavements, meanwhile, would contravene section 72 of the Highway Act 1835 in England and Wales and section 129(5) of the Roads Act 1984 in Scotland.

You can only ride an unregistered self-balancing scooter on land which is private property and with the landowner's permission," they say. 


Uber taxi-hailing app does not break law, High Court rules

The taxi-hailing app operated in London by the US firm Uber does not break the law, the High Court has found.

The court had been asked to decide whether the company's smartphones were considered meters, which are outlawed for private hire vehicles. The phones use GPS and external servers to calculate the cost of a journey.

Transport for London said taking the case to court had been "in the public interest".

The app-based company allows users to order cars via their smartphones, which often arrive within minutes and can cost a fraction of the price of a black cab. Mr Justice Ouseley declared that taximeters do not operate in the same way as the app as they do not depend on GPS signals or include the app's other new-tech characteristics to calculate fares.


MPs want to relax laws on cannabis research to find out if it should be legalised in the UK

Laws governing medical research into the effects of cannabis on patients could be relaxed, a Home Office minister has signalled.

Mike Penning told MPs the Government would not support an e-petition calling for the legalisation of the production, sale and use of cannabis – which gathered 223,169 signatures.

But the Conservative frontbencher said there is a need to ‘look carefully’ at the impact of certain parts of legislation on research.

He added there should not be anything in law which prevents research into improving the quality of people’s lives, noting he would work with other government departments to see how that can be done.


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