Electric skateboards are one of the biggest trends in the world right now and everyone wants to get in on it. There is however a small matter of legality. For those who want to ride electric skateboards in California, you need to know what the law says concerning electric skateboards.
Electric skateboards are legal to ride in public in California. The use of electric skateboards is however subject to certain criteria including the specifications of the board. The law does however state that electric skateboards cannot be used on highways, so stay away from them. The former law governing electric skateboards and their use were from the 1970s. The law made it illegal to ride electric skateboards in public as they were deemed noisy and dangerous. The new law redefined electric skateboards laying the criteria to operate them in public. Read further and understand the amended law on the website.
If you want to know about the subjet in more details, take a look at what follows!
Criteria for riding electric skateboards in public
In the interest of public safety, not all electric skateboards are allowed in public. The state identified criteria to allow an electric skateboard to be ridden in public. You can read up more on this here. However, we’ve summarized for your the highlights below:
It might sound weird especially in California, but the law states when operating an ‘electric personal assistive mobility devices’ you should be at least 16 years old!
Firstly, your electric skateboard should not be able to exceed an average speed of about 20mph (32km/hr). When you are riding on public property you are expected to maintain speeds slower than 15mph (24km/hr). When you are on the roads, on the other hand, you can go as fast as 35mph (56km/hr). To ensure you comply with this regulation, try to ride under the limits, just to be safe. Also, as another limiting factor to speed, your board should not have a power output greater than 1000 watts.
The biggest safety measure when it comes to riding electric skateboards is wearing a helmet. In California, helmets are not only an accessory, but they are mandatory. When riding an electric skateboard in public you must wear a helmet. When you ride your electric skateboard at night, you need to have lights. A white headlight, red reflectors for the rear, and yellow sidelights. Attach the lights to the board or the rider, but they are mandatory for night riding.
Where you can ride
Ensure you stick to the locations available for electric skateboards to avoid any major issues. Thankfully, the law in California is favorable and allows riding in several places in public. The only major public place where you cannot ride your electric skateboard is the highway.
Just as with drinking and driving, drinking and riding an electric skateboard is a grave offense. Drugs are another substance you cannot take before using an electric skateboard. These rules are designed to protect the civilians but riders will benefit as well.
Where can’t you ride an electric skateboard in California?
You can ride an electric skateboard in public in many places in California. However, there are places in the state where riding an electric skateboard is prohibited. The law already pointed out that highways are off-limits to electric skateboards, but are there others? Some of the places where you aren’t allowed to ride an electric skateboard include:
Elementary schools, high schools, universities, and colleges are off-limits to electric skateboard riders. By definition, these locations are designed to accommodate children and are for education. Due to this, electric skateboards and other motorized vehicles are illegal to operate on campus.
Airports are also off-limits to electric skateboard riders. The airport is also filled with people arriving and departing the city. To keep the people safe, then electric skateboards are made illegal around airports.
County parks are designed for pedestrians and most times, county parks are filled with civilians. Electric skateboards move at speeds that are deemed too fast for civilian territories. To ensure that people can relax safely, electric skateboards are illegal here.
Where can you ride your electric skateboard without worrying?
There are so many places where you can ride your electric skateboard legally without worry. While many other cities or nations don’t see them as safe and road compatible, California does. You can ride your electric skateboard safely on:
Public roads and paths
Where cycle paths are not available, you are allowed to use the roads. There is however a restriction on the roads you are allowed to use. You aren’t allowed to ride on roads with speed limits above 35mph (56km/hr) for the rider’s safety.
Bike lanes don’t exist everywhere but where they do, you are advised to use them first. Here, the speed limits restriction is tightly enforced. There will likely be bike riders, and other electric vehicle riders as well. You need to travel under the allowed speed of 20mph (32km/hr) to avoid legal trouble.
There is no law governing the use of electric skateboards here. The law only applies to the use of electric skateboards in public. While no laws are applying to your electric skateboard use here, you are still expected to apply safety measures. Keep the activity limited to the enclosure as once you exceed it, then the law applies to you.
There may be other places where you can ride your electric skateboard, so be on the lookout. It is worth noting that you are expected to ride your electric skateboard responsibly. Obey the rules at all times and ride safely.
Do you need a license to operate an electric skateboard?
No, there isn’t any law that requires you to have a license to operate an electric skateboard. There isn’t any system in place to provide one even if you decide you want one.
Do you need insurance to ride an electric skateboard?
No, insurance isn’t mandatory to operate an electric skateboard in public. As collisions may occur, however, it may be advisable to get insurance to protect you from damages.
Can you ride an electric skateboard on the sidewalk?
The law is unclear as to whether you can ride your electric skateboard or not. The law restricts the use of electric skateboards in certain places to improve civilian safety. Sidewalks are usually deemed civilian paths but the law doesn’t list sidewalks as a no-go zone. Following this, it is safe to assume that you can ride electric skateboards on the sidewalk. However, with roads and other paths available, it may prove better to use other paths. If you choose to ride your electric skateboard on the sidewalk, it is best to do it with caution. Give way to civilians and avoid the sidewalk if it is too crowded. In major cities like San Diego, streets and sidewalks are often crowded, so it may be best to avoid them.
At this point, you can already tell most of the dos and don’ts associated with riding an electric skateboard in California. While this may be the case, it is important to realize that this isn’t legal advice and as such, should be double-checked. You can read more on the amendment to the California laws relating to electric skateboards here. It is important to note that not all electric skateboards are deemed street legal in California. To be on the safe side, before buying a new electric skateboard, you should check if it qualifies. For a list of some approved electric skateboards for use in California, visit here.