If you live in Maryland, you may be wondering if electric skateboards are legal. As each state in the US has its laws, you need to know where your state stands in the matter. For those who plan to visit the state any time soon as well, legality should be a major question. So what does the law in Maryland say about electric skateboards?
Electric skateboards are legal for public use in Maryland. The state law doesn’t have general laws that apply statewide. Rather, every city in the state has its ordinances relating to the matter. However, as it stands, electric skateboards seem to be legal statewide. All riders are expected to be sensible when operating on the road and obey all rules.
Rules for operating electric skateboards
While each city has the option of creating its laws for electric skateboards, some laws are general. While the rider is expected to be cautious and know what to do, there are still laws to obey. For a more detailed outline of the rules of the road for electric vehicles, see here. The law is detailed and accounts for numerous vehicles, not just electric skateboards. The laws for riding an electric skateboard in Maryland include:
All electric skateboard riders are expected to maintain speeds less than 32km/hr (20mph). This doesn’t just apply to electric skateboards, but other electric vehicles as well. Luckily, the places where you are allowed to ride allow you to do so safely at that speed.
Responsible use is a broad term and covers certain behaviors expected from all electric skateboard riders. The use of earphones and headsets while riding is illegal, as it is deemed too unsafe. Another part of responsible use is to avoid riding while under the influence of alcohol. Just as with drinking and driving, riding under the influence is highly unsafe to the rider and pedestrians.
The Maryland law states that all vehicles especially portable ones should not have more passengers than required. Electric skateboards are designed for one person and there should be no passengers on board. If two people are needing to get somewhere quickly, each of youshould have one electric skateboard.
Use of helmets
Helmets are an essential accessory for all electric skateboard riders as they improve safety. You are not required by law to wear a helmet when riding an electric skateboard in public. The only people who are legally required to wear a helmet are those who are under the age of 16. The law helps protect the riders from head damage in case of any collisions. Nonetheless, those over 16 are still encouraged and advised to wear helmets when riding in public. In certain cities, every rider of electric skateboard may be legally required to wear a helmet.
Where am I not allowed to ride my electric skateboard?
While you are allowed to ride your electric skateboard in public, you can’t do that everywhere. Some places don’t allow the use of electric skateboards in Maryland. Even if you were already riding elsewhere, you need to stop once you get to these places. This law doesn’t apply to electric skateboards alone, as it includes, electric scooters and other mobility devices. The laws governing electric skateboards are the same as those governing electric scooters. For a more comprehensive understanding of where you can ride an electric scooter, see here.
Sidewalks and crosswalks
Sidewalks and crosswalks are designated pedestrian pathways. With crosswalks specifically designed for pedestrian crossing, no vehicles are allowed on them, including e-skateboards. Sidewalks on the other hand can get pretty crowded especially in the business area. So, vehicles are banned from operating here, even portable ones. The law is in place to avoid accidents, as crowds and electric skateboards aren’t a good mix.
Campuses are another location where you find a lot of pedestrians. In the case of campuses, the population you find around tends to be young. This is also where you find riders who are into electric skateboards because it is trendy. Add in other factors like the use of headsets, and riding an electric skateboard becomes dangerous. Since the goal is to keep students safe, electric skateboards are illegal to use on campuses across Maryland.
Parking garages aren’t built to accommodate pedestrians but they are still off-limits to electric skateboards. Cars, busses, and motorcycles are the kind of vehicles you find in most parking garages. In this case, your safety as a rider is the reason for the law. This is because electric skateboards aren’t safe enough to operate around heavy vehicles. Hence, the use of electric skateboards in parking garages is illegal.
Do you need a license?
No, you don’t need a license to operate an electric skateboard in Maryland. With electric skateboards legal for people younger than 16, a license isn’t feasible. People under the age of 16 can’t legally hold a license, so a license isn’t mandatory. In addition, you don’t need to register your electric skateboard. It is however expected that you ensure your board is in perfect working condition, falling under responsible use. There isn’t any recognizable system in place to license or register electric skateboards as of yet. With the law constantly changing, this may not be the case in a few years. If the use of electric skateboards continues to rise, there may be a need to register and license its use.
Do you need insurance?
No, there is no law mandating that electric skateboard riders must have insurance to operate in Maryland. While cars and other large vehicles are legally required to have insurance, electric skateboards aren’t. As their use is dangerous, they may require insurance more than most other vehicles. If you can insure your electric skateboard under property insurance, go ahead. In case of damages, it will be repaired or replaced at no extra cost to you. You should also make sure you have up-to-date medical insurance, in case of any injuries.
To avoid getting in trouble with local law enforcement, you should obey all the local laws. There may be exceptions to some of the laws for electric skateboards and other electric vehicles. Familiarize yourself with the law, and if needed, you can always ask the police. A more detailed version of the laws of the road for electric vehicles can be found here. It is also important to remember to make way for a pedestrian when riding an electric skateboard. In addition to safety, pedestrians have priority when it comes to the roads. If you find that the road is crowded with pedestrians, you may be better suited to walk. This is not legal advice, so you may want to contact a professional if you need some legal guidance. As the law is constantly changing, the laws for electric skateboard usage may change as well. Hence, it is important to stay up to date on all the laws relating to electric skateboard use in Maryland. Also, as different cities have different regulations, always check what each city law says before riding publicly.