Electric skateboards are fun, trendy, and a great way to get around. There are laws about the use of all vehicles and this applies to electric skateboards are. That’s why residents of the UK who want to join in the trend and use electric skateboards need to know how the law affects this choice.
So, are electric skateboards legal in the UK? No, electric skateboards are not ‘street’ legal in the UK. This law applies to all the countries that make up the UK excluding Northern Ireland. You are not allowed to ride an electric skateboard on any road, or footpath as they are reserved exclusively for pedestrians.
The law may not seem reasonable, but it is worth noting that it was first created in the 1800s. This law still holds sway to date and is designed to protect pedestrians. While electric skateboards are a recent invention, the 1835 law prevents all devices that carry people from operating on footpaths. Considering how old this law is, it may soon need to be reviewed and/or amended.
What do UK laws say about electric skateboards use?
The highway act of 1835 which is still in effect in the UK was created when modern vehicles like electric skateboards didn’t exist. So how does the highway act translate to electric skateboards?
Electric skateboards are classified as vehicles under UK laws, and as such, are not permitted on civilian pathways, where they were designed to operate. Using one in such places can attract fines and or other infractions and punishments. Your penalty would be the same as that of a major vehicle infringement. At the same time, electric skateboards don’t meet the standards set out for roadworthy vehicles, and as such, cannot be operated on major roads. This places them in a sort of transition state, as it both is, and isn’t considered a vehicle.
Even though electric skateboards are not legally street-worthy, no law prevents you from owning one. As long as you aren’t technically in breach of the highway act of 1835, you are free to use it. This means you can operate and ride an electric skateboard as long as you don’t ride it on a pedestrian lane or pathway. This leaves a lot of room to the imagination of the user to find a location where they can ride their electric skateboard legally.
Protective gear laws
There are no explicit laws that mean you must wear protective gear when using an electric skateboard. Due to the law preventing you from using electric skateboards on major roads and pedestrian lanes, this is understandable. Electric skateboards can only be used in controlled or regulated environments, so you are normally relatively safe. Any additional protection can be applied at your discretion. In the interest of safety, it is however advisable to always make use of protective gear, same as with bicycles and other recreational vehicles. Wear a helmet, shoulder and knee pads, as well as any other protective gear that can help improve your riding experience. In the case of children, this is a necessity rather than a choice as electric skateboard injuries are common.
Injury and damage laws
Same as with vehicles, the rider of an electric skateboard can and will be held accountable for any injuries or damages they cause. In the case of cars and major vehicles, insurance can cover cases like this, but electric skateboards are not insurable. They do not meet the requirements for being insured, which is why they cannot be used on major roads. So if you are involved in an electric skateboard crash where there is damage to an individual or property, you could face a civil suit.
Where in the UK can I ride an electric skateboard?
With public roads, pedestrian lanes, and pathways off-limits to electric skateboards, the next question becomes where to ride your device. Technically, any location that doesn’t fall under the above-listed classifications is a legal riding site and you can use your electric skateboards. Some locations that fall into this classification include:
No one can tell you what to do in your home, so you get a free pass here. If you live in a property that has a yard, this can be your skateboard track. However, if you live in an apartment building or housing complex, your building laws are what determines electric skateboard usage. Provided your building permits it, you can ride it, if not, then it is best avoided.
Private land and properties
Same as with your home, any landed properties you own can be used to ride your electric scooter. You can even allow other riders to use your property if it pleases you. It belongs to you and provided you remain on your property and don’t harm any pedestrians, you are in the clear.
Parks are technically a pedestrian destination and should normally be off-limits to electric skateboards. However, parks offer the ideal location for a person to ride their device. Parks are spacious and people are free to express themselves as long as no laws are broken. Using an electric skateboard qualifies as expressing one’s self, and thus, is not a crime. In the current world, there are parks for different situations and skate parks now exist for reasons like this. If there is a skate park close to you, then you can ride your electric skateboard legally. With over 1600 skate parks in the UK, you shouldn’t have to go too far to find one.
What are the best places to buy an electric skateboard in the UK?
If you want to buy an electric skateboard in the UK, where do you go? There are several possible destinations for electric skateboards including:
- Online stores: everything seems to be available for purchase online and electric skateboards are no exception. Online stores afford you the benefit of delivering the product directly to your home. If this appeals to you, then online shopping for an electric skateboard will be fun. Some of the most common market places for electric skateboards in the UK include: Amazon, Segbo, eBay
- Physical stores: Nothing beats the experience of shopping for something in person. There are quite a few stores all across the UK where you can buy electric skateboards in person. The best part is they have online catalogs, so you can check out the products before going to the store. They even offer online purchase and delivery if you’d rather get the product at your doorstep. Depending on your location in the UK, you may want to go to the one closest to you. Some of these stores include: Forty-two shop, Slamcity
You can enjoy your electric skateboard in the UK provided you don’t break the law whilst doing it. While streets aren’t the place to use them, there are various other locations where they can be used. Skate parks mean electric skateboards are considered recreational, rather than means of transportation. With the rise in the use of electric skateboards, the law may soon change regarding these devices.