If you’re looking to ride an electric skateboard in Switzerland, you’d best know what the law says before you proceed. I’d advise you to do this before you purchase a board but if you’ve already bought one, then you should at least see what the law says before hitting the road. Knowing the law and obeying it will help keep you out of trouble with the Swiss police.
No, electric skateboards are not legal to be operated in public in Switzerland. Unlike most countries where the police don’t care and may let you get away with riding an electric skateboard in public illegally, the Swiss police have been known to enforce this law and punish offenders, with reports of people having their electric skateboards confiscated. The police have even made it public knowledge and asked people to consider carefully before choosing to buy an electric skateboard.
How can I ride my electric scooter without getting into trouble?
With public roads and paths being illegal to electric skateboards, the next question becomes where to ride your electric skateboard. The police don’t take too kindly to those who violate these laws so risking riding your electric scooter in public may not be worth it. The only place you are allowed to ride an electric skateboard is on privately owned property. This includes your home, skate parks (if they are available), estates, or other enclosures. You can do whatever you want legally on privately owned property, provided the landowner has given their permission else you face another legal issue.
Alternatives to electric skateboards
It is worth noting that not all electric-powered vehicles are illegal in Switzerland. The Swiss are progressive and have altered the law to amount for some electric-powered vehicles. These electric vehicles are street legal and can be operated in public provided you obey the laws set forth to regulate their use. If you are seeking a thrill similar to that of an electric skateboard, then these vehicles are the best options for you. Some of the most popular and best legal alternatives to electric skateboards include:
An electric scooter is street legal all across Switzerland provided you obey the rules set forth by Federal Roads Office (FEDRO). The legal speed limit for this vehicle is set at 20km/hr (12.4 mph) and you aren’t legally required to wear a helmet, but it is still advisable for both your protection and others around you as well. 6 is the legal age for riders and a license isn’t required for this. However, people who are up to 14 years old can operate one using a category M license. The sidewalk is the only location that is expressly off-limits to riders but on special conditions, where the sign shows that it is allowed, then you can ride an electric scooter on the sidewalk. You can read more on the laws for electric scooters here.
Electric bikes are similar to motorbikes and it is only logical for them to be legal seeing as motorbikes are legal. They are however subject to the laws of an electric-powered vehicle. Also, electric bikes are subject to one critical law that differentiates them from motorbikes. It corresponds to the fact that they are not allowed to have more than one passenger. Unlike with a motorbike where you have to register and have a license plate and number, you don’t need to register your electric bike. Electric bike riders can be as young as 14 provided they have a category M license but those aged 16 and over don’t require any license to operate an electric bike. The legal speed limit for an electric bike in public is 20km/hr (12.4mph) but when the electric bike is equipped with paddle assistance, then that limit is raised to 25km/hr (15.5mph). Legally, you aren’t obligated to wear a helmet on an electric bike but you are still advised and expected to wear one, so endeavor to do so, protecting yourself and others. The sidewalk is for pedestrians and is therefore off-limits to electric bikes unless otherwise stated. You can read more about the laws of electric bike use in Switzerland here.
Do we need a license?
No, you don’t need a license to operate an electric skateboard in Switzerland. You need a license to operate vehicles in public but electric skateboards don’t qualify as vehicles so they don’t require any licenses. Also, you can only operate your electric skateboard on privately owned property and here license and permits aren’t required.
Do we need insurance?
No, you don’t need insurance to operate your electric skateboard, and I don’t think you can get insurance for it even if you wanted to. Electric skateboards aren’t considered vehicles and while vehicles require insurance, electric skateboards don’t qualify to be insurable. In some cases, they are deemed unsafe which is why they cannot be insured. The use of electric skateboards is on the rise and while it can only be used on private property at the moment, this may soon change. Once such a change occurs, then it should be possible to insure your electric skateboard.
Can you ride an electric skateboard on the sidewalk?
No, you cannot ride an electric skateboard on the sidewalk, as you can only ride it on private property in Switzerland at the moment. Electric skateboards aren’t the only type of device or vehicle that aren’t allowed on the sidewalk, as the sidewalk is strictly for pedestrians, vehicles aren’t permitted there. There are, however, special cases where a vehicle or portable mobile device like an electric skateboard can be allowed on the sidewalk, but if that is the case, there will be a sign indicating that you can use these devices on the sidewalk. You will probably still have to give way to pedestrians on the sidewalk and avoid parking there.
General rules for electric vehicles in Switzerland
There are set rules that govern the use of electric vehicles that are currently legal in public and those who may end up getting away with riding an electric skateboard in public probably obey these laws to keep the police at bay. To read more about these laws and understand them, an English-translated version exists here. In summary, the law says:
- There can’t be more than one person on an electric vehicle
- Select roads with special notifications and sidewalks are off-limits to electric vehicles
- The minimum rider age for any electrical vehicle is 14
- All riders should always use cycle lanes first where they are available
- The electrical vehicle must comply with standards set forth by FEDRO.
While they aren’t allowed in public at the moment, the law changes constantly and electric skateboards will probably be road legal at some point in the future. As some other electric vehicles are already legal for public use, one can assume that they will serve as a pilot program and perhaps pave the way for electric skateboards and other portable mobility devices to become street legal in the future. If and when they do become legal, please ensure you obey all rules that will be set forth to help govern public safety and ensure the continued legal status of electric skateboards.