The electric skateboard fever is sweeping all across Europe and everyone wants to be a part of it. Before taking part in the trend, you will need to know the legal status of electric skateboards in your country. If you’re interested in the legal situation of electric skateboards in Germany you’ve come to the right place.
The law doesn’t officially say electric skateboards are legal, but after a citizen protest, electric scooters were made street legal. With this, most other personal light electric-powered vehicles (PLEVs) have become more common on the streets. It’s unclear if electric skateboards are street legal with some outlets claiming it is legal while some others claim it isn’t legal. The only certain thing is that the government is interested in making electric skateboards legal across Germany.
Carry on reading below if you want to know more about the subject!
Laws governing the use of personalized light electric vehicles
The use of PLEVs in public is governed by certain laws in the interest of public safety and to ensure regulation of the use of PLEVs. While we cannot definitively say if electric skateboards are legal or not, it is clear that you need to meet certain standards to avoid getting into legal problems. For a full rundown on the laws, you can read them here. The highlights of the law include:
All riders are expected to maintain speeds less than 20km/hr (12.4 mph). When you obey this limit, you can operate without a helmet even though you are advised to wear one at all times. If the rider exceeds this speed, then the use of a helmet becomes compulsory, and failure to wear one is considered irresponsible, and an offense.
Permitted lanes and paths
Not all lanes allow the use of PLEVs and you are expected to stick to the approved lanes. Cycle lanes and paths are the obvious lanes for PLEVs but where they don’t exist, then you may use the road. Pedestrian paths and sidewalks are off-limits to PLEVs.
There is a limit to the power the motor of your PLEV is allowed to generate before it can be allowed for public use. The maximum power a road-worthy motor should generate is 500 watts, and this limit can be higher only in the case of electric vehicles that are considered self-balancing. In such a scenario, the limit is raised to 1200 watts.
Driving dynamics refers to the state of your PLEV and how it will operate on the road. A certain standard is expected of all PLEVs found on the road and your electric skateboard is no exception. It should be able to function properly as expected to avoid any mishaps. Do quick check-ups on your device before your ride to see if everything is in order!
Can you ride any electric skateboard on the road?
Not all electric skateboards are considered road-worthy. While your electric skateboard must be of acceptable driving dynamics, it still has to be approved by the German federal motor transport authority before you can buy it or operate it on the road. You can check if the electric skateboard you want to buy, or the one you already own is approved on their website however, it is in German only, so you need to understand German to verify your electric skateboard eligibility. If your electric skateboard is not approved, it is best to either not buy it or not ride it on the roads to prevent you from getting in trouble with the law. The eligibility of electric skateboards and PLEVs has a lot to do with the speed of the device. Devices that are faster than the approved speed limits are the ones that tend to not be approved.
Do you need a license?
No, you don’t need a license to operate an electric skateboard in public. The only mandatory thing is the age of the rider, and that states that all riders of PLEVs must be at least 14 years old. Any rider that doesn’t meet this age requirement cannot operate a PLEV in public, but that doesn’t mean they can’t own one. As a matter of fact, as a loophole, they may be able to ride a PLEV as long as they aren’t in public. Since it isn’t needed, there isn’t a formal system in place should a person decide they want one. The law is still young and may change, so you need to keep yourself updated constantly.
Do you need a insurance?
Yes, you need insurance, and it is mandatory. All vehicles require insurance and the law has been amended to account for PLEVs. It is a serious crime to operate a vehicle without insurance in Germany so you may want to avoid this. Insurance is relatively low so you can avoid bigger problems by paying a small fee. Once your electric skateboard has been insured, a sticker is attached to it to prove you have insurance. This sticker also serves as a license plate that can help identify the owner of an electric skateboard if they are involved in a collision.
Can you ride an electric skateboard on the sidewalk?
No, electric skateboards cannot be ridden on the sidewalk. Also, you cannot ride an electric scooter on any path that is deemed a pedestrian path, so riders must avoid them. You can only ride them on the paths approved and even when they aren’t available, sidewalks are still off-limits. The law is designed to keep pedestrians safe and with electric skateboards being able to travel as fast as 20km/hr (12.4 mph) legally, they are considered unsafe for pedestrian pathways. If you are just pushing or carrying your PLEV, then you should be able to move with it on a pedestrian path.
Can you ride an electric skateboard if you have been drinking?
This is an interesting conundrum as drinking and driving are illegal. With an electric skateboard though, one may feel the rules should be less strict as the damage it can cause is limited. Where electric skateboards and other PLEVs are concerned, a minimum alcohol level applies. You can read all about the limits set by the government relating to alcohol consumption and operating a PLEV here. If you are involved in a collision, you will be held accountable and face penalties, even if your blood alcohol level is below the limit. You will be classified as unable to operate the PLEV due to the influence of alcohol. If you are under the age of 21 though, there is no tolerance for drinking and operating a PLEV. Fines and other penalties apply as well if any traces of alcohol are found in someone operating a PLEV.
Since, electric skateboards are legal on the roads in Germany, they can serve as alternative means of transportation. You simply need to make sure you obey all traffic laws and PLEV specific laws to ensure you don’t get in trouble with law enforcement. When you are on private property through, all the rules don’t apply anymore and you are free to do whatever you want.