Are electric skateboards legal in NYC?

New York City is one of the busiest and most crowded cities in the world. With the crowds and large population, transportation within the city can be a pain. This has led to a rise in alternative forms of transportation including the use of electric skateboards. Whatever your reason for buying an electric skateboard, legality will affect how you ride it. The big question on everyone’s lips is, ‘are electric skateboards legal in NYC?’.

Yes, it is legal to ride your electric skateboard in NYC. This is good news because not too long ago, it was illegal. The city officials didn’t legalize electric skateboards alone but went further as to legalize other vehicles. Not all officials were convinced that electric skateboards were safe enough to be operated on the street. This led to certain rules and regulations introduced to govern electric skateboards and their use.

Rules for riding an electric skateboard

To help promote the safety of riders and pedestrians alike, there are rules all electric skateboard users must obey. Without these laws, the use of electric skateboards would still be illegal all across the city. To ensure its continuous legal status, you are advised to obey all the regulations. For a greater understanding of the laws governing the use of electric skateboards, see hereOpens in a new tab.. The highlights of the laws include:

Speed limits

As you will be riding in areas populated with pedestrians, you are expected to maintain reasonable speeds. The maximum speed of an electric skateboard is 24km/hr (15mph). You are advised to stay under this limit or you risk getting arrested and fined!

Legal riding age

To ensure riders are responsible and can legally be held accountable, there is a minimum age restriction. The legal age for riding an electric skateboard is 18 years old. If you are under the age of 18 you can still ride an electric skateboard, but the use of helmets becomes mandatory. Otherwise, if you’re over the age of 18 you aren’t legally required to wear a helmet but are advised to.

Where can and can’t you ride your electric skateboard legally?

With the law allowing their use in public, it is important to note that there are still places where they are illegal. To be on the safe side, you need to know where you can ride your electric skateboard legally. Riding in the wrong place can earn you a ticket and in some cases like this oneOpens in a new tab., points off your license.

Places where you can ride your electric skateboard legally

The places where riding an electric skateboard is legal to include:

Bike lanes

Bike lanes aren’t available everywhere in the city, but where they are available, they are the first option. The speed limits for bike lanes are considerably less than normal roads or highways and thus, safer. Bike lanes are built for vehicles like electric skateboards, which makes them the best place for you to ride you e-skateboard!


Highways are another legal place where electric skateboards can operate with impunity. The only added difference is that they can only operate on highways with a speed limit of less than 30mph (48km/hr). This law is mainly in your interest as a rider as highways can get very busy, which can prove to be dangerous!


The streets are usually crowded with cars and other vehicles, but electric skateboards don’t require much room. Thus, an electric skateboard can operate safely, as long as the rider is careful and mindful of their surroundings.

Places where you can’t ride your electric skateboard

The places where riding an electric skateboard is prohibited includes:


No, the sidewalk is off-limits to all electric skateboard and other vehicle riders! This is because sidewalks are designated pedestrian areas and all vehicles are illegal here. They tend to get crowded and operating an electric skateboard here will likely cause a collision. In such a situation, you will be held accountable and can face criminal charges. To avoid such situations, simply steer clear of the sidewalks.


For the moment, electric skateboards and other motorized vehicles aren’t legal in Manhattan. This is probably because Manhattan is less crowded than NYC. As a result, normal transport means may prove to be sufficient. This also highlights the fact that the different regions in the City can have different rules. Therefore, you shouldn’t just assume that electric skateboards are legal everywhere in New York. Confirm from local law enforcement or seek legal advice to be on the safe side!

Do you need a license?

No, you don’t require a license to operate an electric skateboard in New York. While vehicles need licenses to operate, electric skateboards aren’t categorized as vehicles. It is worth noting that even though a license isn’t needed, you can still be penalized on your driving license. In this particular experienceOpens in a new tab., a rider got docked two points on his license. This is yet another reason why you need to obey all laws and regulations. There isn’t an official license available for electric skateboards as of yet. With the way more people seem to be using them, that may soon change though. You can monitor the rules in case there is a change in the requirements and licenses become needed.

Do you need insurance?

No, insurance is not mandatory either for electric skateboards. Nonetheless, you may still need it for your electric skateboard. Collisions are common when riding electric skateboards. Whether it’s to repair damages or to treat injuries, insurance comes in handy. The tricky part is how to get insurance for your electric skateboard. As it isn’t mandatory, you may have a problem finding great coverage. You can, however, insure a property against damages and get medical insurance against collision. Whichever way you come by it, insurance will still serve to protect you and your electric skateboard!


The city is progressive and looks to accommodate new trends to keep the people happy. As an electric skateboard rider, you should note that each area may have different laws. In addition, the laws can change or evolve. As such, you need to stay updated. Thanks to the legality of electric skateboards and the large population in NYC, skateboard groups are common. Rather than ride alone or simply ride your electric skateboard to work, you can find a group. Meeting are held in parks, where riders practice tricks and have a lot of fun. In addition to riding together, there is the benefit of shared knowledge which can help you stay updated and aware of any legal amedements regarding electric skateboards!


Electrical engineer, I have a passion for technology in general and modern urban mobility in particular. Do not hesitate to contact us or comment our blog posts if you have any questions

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