Electric skateboards are becoming more popular all across Europe, prompting more people to purchase them and join in the fun. It provides a great means of transportation that is efficient especially if you live in a populated city with traffic. Those who live in Ireland, or plan to visit the country sometime soon should be aware of the legality status of electric skateboards before taking to the streets.
No, electric skateboards are not street legal in Ireland. Technically, the law doesn’t specifically make electric skateboards illegal, as electric skateboards didn’t exist when it was made. It does, however, prevent you from operating vehicles that have speeds less than 45 km/hr (28mph) on the roads. Most people see this as a legal grey area and as such proceed to use their electric skateboards on the roads. Most times, people get away with riding their electric skateboards on the roads, but it doesn’t make it legal. According to the government, there is no legal grey area and electric skateboards aren’t legal as their wheels are not compatible with Irish roads.
Where can I ride my electric skateboard legally in Ireland?
With electric skateboards not being legally allowed on the roads in Ireland, it raises the question, where can I ride my electric skateboard legally? There are limited options available thanks to the law but they do exist.
There are numerous skateparks all across Ireland and with the roads off-limits, then this is the best available place to ride your electric skateboard. The skate parks are built specifically for riders and it has turned into the premiere skateboard location in the country. Whether you’re just having fun and learning to ride an electric skateboard, or you’re a pro, a skate park is an ideal location for your electric skateboard.
If you own a home with a large yard, then you can ride your electric skateboard. As long as you’re in an enclosure and away from the public, you can ride your electric skateboard without being scared of breaking the law.
Do we need a license?
No, you don’t need a license to ride an electric skateboard. As it stands, it isn’t legal to operate an electric skateboard on the road, so there is no provision for you to need or have a license to operate one. If electric skateboards are made legal, however, the law would probably require all electric skateboards to have a license before operating in public. At the moment, electric skateboards remain illegal to operate on the road but that may change soon. With major densely populated cities like Dublin, transportation avenues are usually crowded and during a pandemic, this poses a problem. The government is already considering making electric skateboards legal to help ease the reliance on public transportation and to help promote social distancing. As a result, there is talk of laws that will accompany this approval including the use of licenses, minimum rider age, and other rules of the road to help promote ridder and civilian safety.
Do we need insurance?
Same as with a license, you don’t need insurance for your electric skateboard as it isn’t street legal at the moment. Also, you may not be able to insure your electric scooter as well, as the law doesn’t allow for it. The law states that only vehicles over the speed of 45 km/hr (28mph) can operate on the road, and as such, be insured, require a license to operate amongst other rules. As electric skateboards have an average speed of 27km/hr (17mph) and speeds as high as 35km/hr (22mph) they fall short of this requirement. You may be able to get the insurance that covers property damage in case of collision and or cover medical expenses. To help avoid serious injuries, you can ensure you wear proper protective gear such as helmet, shoulder and knee pads.
Can you ride an electric skateboard on the sidewalk?
Here, we have a sort of grey area. You have better chances of getting away with riding an electric skateboard in public if you stick to the sidewalk. Legally, you aren’t supposed to be able to ride your electric skateboard on the sidewalk as it is reserved for pedestrians. With electric skateboards too slow to operate on major roads, the sidewalks present the perfect place to ride your device. According to the report of one YouTuber, Garda (the Irish police) asked him to operate his electric skateboard on the sidewalk and keep off the roads. It doesn’t make much sense but if it works then you can give it a try. To avoid any problems arising from this, it is advisable to wear a helmet and obey traffic signals if they are present. Failure to do so may be what draws the attention of the police and causes other issues.
What happens if electric skateboards are officially made legal?
With the government currently debating making electric skateboards, then it seems the law will change. Some of the major changes we can expect include:
Safety regulations are currently being suggested rather than enforced. Should the law be passed and electric skateboards are made legal, then they will likely be enforced. Helmets will become key features of all-electric skateboard riders across the country.
There will probably be lanes assigned to electric skateboard riders. The freedom that comes with uncertainty will no longer exist and law enforcement officers will enforce these laws. The riders may be required to stick to the roads, or sidewalks, or cycling lanes and will not be allowed to operate in other lanes.
License and registration
Just as with vehicles and motorcycles, you will probably be required to take a driver’s test and be issued a license. Also, you will probably be required to register your electric skateboard. You may get a license plate or sticker to attach to your board to prove it has been registered.
Once they become a normal means of transportation, there is bound to be a need for insurance. Whether it is to repair a damaged electric skateboard or a property damaged after a collision with a skateboard, insurance will cover it all. Medical insurance will also be a key feature and may even be a requirement before you are allowed to ride an electric skateboard in public.
The best advice is to avoid the roads and only ride your electric skateboards in the skate parks. However, it should be noted that the law enforcement officers don’t seem to penalize people for operating them on the road. Law enforcement can seize the electric skateboard or issue a fine if they wish are they are in the right; However, they seem to permit its use and don’t seem to be bothered with the rise in its use. It could be due to the covid-19 pandemic or due to considering the needs and wants of the people, regardless, they allow riders to carry on. You can try the roads or the sidewalks if you are in Ireland, and as it seems the law may change soon, you could be simply exercising your legal precedence. You should however ensure you stay under 45km/hr (28mph), for if you go higher, then your electric skateboard may be subject to other road laws.