With the increased popularity of skateboards as a form of transport, the industry has seen an increased demand for electric skateboards. The electric skateboards popularity spike can be credited to the fact that it makes moving from point A to B easier. You do not need to keep stepping down to initiate movement
No. you cannot ride an electric skateboard on the road. While standard skateboards are widely condoned in most places, the new advanced electric skateboards have not been met with the same indifference. Granted, the laws regarding their usage are still hazy. But most cities have frowned upon riding of electric skateboards on sidewalks and roads.
That said, there are ways to go around these laws. Keep reading to learn if you can ride electric skateboards on the road.
Why Are Electric Skateboards Not Legal Yet?
Electric skateboards are still new, and hence there are few guidelines regarding their usage on public roads. While some cities have begun implementing laws regarding the usage of electric skateboards on roads, most cities are yet to embrace electric skateboards as a mainstream mode of transport.
However, as their usage becomes adopted by more people, the laws governing their usage will slowly come into effect. This will, in turn, lead to a more structured approach to dealing with the usage of an electric skateboard on public roads.
That said, some local authorities have no issue with the usage of electric skateboards on public roads as long as you do not flout public rules regarding road usage.
You Can Still Ride Your Electric Skateboard in Places Where Normal Skateboards are Allowed
Technically, there is no physical difference between a standard human-powered skateboard and an electric skateboard. The only way one would be able to tell that you a riding an electric skateboard is by seeing you holding a throttle or the speed of the skateboard.
How To Get Away With Riding Your Electric Skateboard In Public
This makes it possible to ride your electric skateboard in public, especially if you can keep to a low speed and abide by public skateboarding rules. That said, most police have no issue with riding electric skateboards on the road or walkways as long as you do not cause a civil disturbance.
This means, wearing reflective clothing and protective gear, not riding your skateboard at an intrusive speed, and not using it in crowded areas or busy roads and walkways. This is as much about your safety as it is about the safety of other road users.
How to Blend in with Your Electric Skateboard
The most important thing is to make the fact that you are riding an electric skateboard less noticeable. This means keeping to the speed of a standard skateboard and portraying human-powered skateboard actions such as a pretend kick-push. Also, stay away from the main road as they tend to have cops patrolling them.
Check this too: Skateboarding Law: How To Avoid Trouble When Skateboarding
Difference Between Motorized Skateboards and Electrically Motorized Skateboards
According to California law, a motorized skateboard is a gas-powered skateboard. This definition is based on older advanced skateboard inventions from the 80s, where motors used on skateboards were gas-powered.
Electrically Motorized Skateboard
This is a highly advanced skateboard that is battery powered and can be controlled remotely via a handheld throttle or remote. They tend to be faster than skateboards and motorized skateboards. They are also equipped with a speed controller and motor. They were initially designed for easing skateboard transportation.
Places With Defined Electric Skateboard Laws
These regions have the most advanced and comprehensive laws regarding the use of skateboards.
Electric skateboards must not exceed a speed limit od 25mph on a marked bicycle path. They must also yield right of way to pedestrians on sidewalks.
Recent law amendments have made it possible to ride electric skateboards on public roads but at a maximum speed limit of 25 mph. This law, however, is still in its infancy stages and is yet to be approved.
The minimum age limit for using electric skateboards in public is 16 years. And the maximum speed is 15 mph on roads with a speed limit of 35 mph. Riders must also wear a helmet and comply with driving laws. The electric skateboards must not exceed a wattage of 1.34 horsepower or 1000 watts.
Skateboards can be used on footpaths and cycle paths but at a maximum speed of 15km/h. riding an electric skateboard on public roads is considered illegal. And the size restriction is 70 centimeters wide with a maximum weight limit of 20kgs.
Germany; – electric skateboards are categorized as recreational sports equipment. They are not allowed on public roads, bike paths, or sidewalks.
Sweden; – electric skateboards are classified with bicycles and can be ridden on sidewalks but with speed restrictions.
Norway; – categorizes electric skateboards as bicycles, and they have a maximum speed limit of 20kmh.
Belgium;- electric skateboards fall in the same category as Segways. They can be ridden in the same areas as bicycles with a maximum speed limit of 25kmph.
In Australia, skateboards are categorized as wheeled recreational devices. As such, they are allowed access to walkways as skateboarders are classified as pedestrians. However, electric skateboards cannot be used on one-way roads or any road where the speed limit exceeds 50 kilometers per hour.
Restriction son electric skateboard usage is individualized from city to city. For instance, Toronto states that the use of motorized vehicles is not allowed on sidewalks except for mobility scooters. In Alberta, Segways cannot be driven on public roads. Whereas the city of Calgary forbids driving of Segways on B.C roads as they are not insured or licensed.
Bear in mind that these laws are still being adapted as time goes by. So ensure you are up to date when considering getting an electric skateboard or before using your electric skateboard in public.
How to Tell if Electric Skateboards are Legal in Your Area
It is quite easy to find information on the legality of electric skateboards in your area. You can visit local government websites to find out if the skateboards are legal in your area. You can also find information regarding skateboard use on local forums or blogs that focus on skateboard content.
Alternatively, you can reach out to your local authority to determine if the use of electric skateboards in your area is considered illegal. This is the best way to eliminate any doubt regarding the unlawful use of electric skateboards in your area.
Make sure you find out if you need any special authorization or any particular guidelines regarding the riding or electric skateboards on the road.
Staying Safe on Electric Skateboards
Being a mechanized machine, riding an electric skateboard is as dangerous as riding a moped or any other mechanized form of transport. Follow the guideline below, and your chances of ending up in an accident will be significantly diminished.
Wear a Helmet
This will protect you when you fall or get hit while riding your skateboard. Invest in a high-quality skateboard that is resistant to scratches, impact, and other external factors that may lead to fatal injuries.
Wear a Reflective Jacket and Other Protective Gear
Make yourself visible to pedestrians, motorists, motorcycle riders, cyclists, and moped riders. Protective gear also protects you from grazes and other injuries should you fall off your skateboard.
Be Attentive to Your Surroundings
Be keen while riding your electric skateboard. This will be key in protecting you from skating into curbs, walls, other drivers, and fences. Since an electric skateboard is faster than a manual one, stopping should be instantaneous to prevent accidents. For this, you need to be attentive at all times.
Install Reflectors and a headlight On Your Skateboard
This will make you visible from a distance, especially at night, when you a riding your skateboard in darker areas. Buy a good quality headlight with a long-lasting battery. They should also be vibration-proof, so they do not fall off as you ride your skateboard.
Do not go for the thrill or try to get anywhere faster on your skateboard. It is better to be safe than sorry. Make it a point to move at a reasonable speed, especially in areas where vehicles have a higher speed limit.
Do Not Crisscross
Try to ride your skateboard decently. This includes keeping a straight line and maneuvering corners with caution. This will prevent you from running into pedestrians, cars, cyclists, and stationary objects.
Until riding electric skateboards becomes a common occurrence, chances are it will still be restricted. So while the laws may always be changing as people make electric skateboards their primary source of transport, they may become more lenient with time. As long as you work on being safe on the road for you and other road users, you will not get into trouble while riding your electric skateboard. You should also be particular about where you ride your electric skateboard.