Just Plain Stupid

Electric Skateboards

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So your’e a bit older now.  You came from skateboards and BMX as a kid, but now it’s time to check out the new stuff on the block, something your kids told you about.

Here’s what I saw; a guy on a mountain bike flying by me like I was parked.  My ego was shattered until i realized he had electric assist.    Next I was walking on A1A in Fort Lauderdale and I was shocked at how quick a skateboard was going on one push off, I then realized it was electric.  One guy on a Boosted Board and the other on a Evolve Skateboard.
It was revolutionary to me and the idea of a quality electric skateboard is amazing.  Smoothly carve down a bike path or a quiet road and…wait a minute……carve your way up hill, 25 degrees to be exact.
He is the misleading issue, now that I found out that a guy like me needs 3000 watts of power to get up that 25 degree hill.
I came across the article below when a fiend emailed to me.  The salient point is that a skateboard over  1000 watts is defined as a Mechanical Board, a board that is illegal to operate.
Meaning….
Me and children could be having a great time off the road on a bike path somewhere and we could get stopped by police at any time, if they so desire to.  Check the board and end the day.
And with that notwithstanding, all jurisdiction around the United States have no consensus on Electric Skateboard laws
Meaning….
One city could be no problem and another township could have everyone thrown in the back of a police car LOL, maybe a giant ticket, ending the day.
So…with all that said READ ON and check out this great interpretation of the important parts of a Skateboard Law.
And realize how uncertain everything is.

There seems to be some confusion in the community as to what the recently passed California law is on electric skateboards. So I will break it down in great detail and give you commentary on it so we are all on the same page.

First, you need to understand one thing: “electrically motorized boards” and “motorized skateboards” are 2 different things in law. California already has laws dating back to the late 70’s that ban motorized skateboards. Prior to this law, there was no definition of electrically motorized boards, so all electric skateboards were motorized skateboards. If you don’t pay attention to this difference, the law becomes confusing.

Just remember, “electrically motorized boards” do not equal “motorized skateboards”, they have 2 different definitions.

This bill would provide that an electrically motorized board is not a motorized skateboard for those purposes.

So to start off the bill:

This bill would define the term “electrically motorized board.”

Self explanatory. So lets keep going…

The bill would prohibit the operation of an electrically motorized board
upon a highway while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or any drug

So don’t don’t drugs and ride your electric skateboard

The bill would require the operator of an
electrically motorized board to wear a helmet while operating an
electrically motorized board upon a highway, bikeway, or any other
public bicycle path, sidewalk, or trail.

So you must wear a helmet while riding an electric skateboard.

The bill would require an operator to be at least 16 years
of age in order to operate an electrically motorized board

So you can’t ride legally if your not at least 16 years old.

The bill would also require electrically motorized
boards to be equipped with safety equipment, as specified, and restrict
the operation speed of electrically motorized boards

We will jump into what these safety equipment are, but it’s white headlights, read tail reflectors, and orange side reflectors, If operating at night.

Moreover, this last part, says this law limits the operation speed of electric skateboards. They do this by limiting the definition of electrically motorized skateboards to 20 mph, and leave anything higher defined as a motorized skateboard, which is still illegal. But I’ll show you more on this in a bit.

Existing law makes it a crime to operate a motorized skateboard on any sidewalk, roadway, or any other part of a highway or on any bikeway, bicycle path or trail, equestrian trail, or hiking or recreational trail.
This bill would provide that an electrically motorized board is not a motorized skateboard for those purposes.

So were getting into the meaning of this bill. It’s to separate the definition of a “electrically motorized board” from a “motorized skateboard”

So let’s get to the definition of an “electrically motorized board” then…

An “electrically motorized board” is any wheeled device that has a
floorboard designed to be stood upon when riding that is not greater
than 60 inches deep and 18 inches wide, is designed to transport only
one person, and has an electric propulsion system averaging less than 1,000
watts, the maximum speed of which, when powered solely by a propulsion
system on a paved level surface, is no more than 20 miles per hour. The
device may be designed to also be powered by human propulsion.

So to meet the legal definition of an “electrically motorized board”, your board can’t run at more than an average of 1000 watts, or be capable of more than 20 mph.

If you don’t meet this definition, your board is still classified as a motorized skateboard, which this law re-affirms is illegal…

(a) A motorized skateboard shall not be propelled on any sidewalk, roadway, or any other part of a highway or on any bikeway, bicycle path or trail, equestrian trail, or hiking or
recreational trail.
(b) For purposes of this section, an electrically motorized board, as defined in Section 313.5, is not a motorized skateboard.

So there is is, in black and white. If your board is capable of more than 20 mph, your board doesn’t meet the definition of an “electrically motorized board”, which means you board is a “motorized skateboard”, which this law reaffirms is illegal to ride basically any wheres in public.

Lets add a few more tid bits from this law, just so everyone’s aware of the other details defined in the law.

Electrically motorized boards shall only operate upon a highway
designated with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour or less, unless the
electrically motorized board is operated entirely within a designated
Class II or Class IV bikeway.

In this law (and I believe laws in general), “freeways” and “expressways” are what we normally call “highways”. And “highways” are really just normal roads.

So here, it says you can only ride on roads with a 35 mph or less speed limit.

This bill would authorize the Department of
Transportation and local authorities to also prohibit or restrict the
use of electrically motorized boards upon freeways or expressways.

So don’t ride your boards on the highway basically.

Here’s the next crazy part that actually limits operating speed beyond the “electrically motorized board” definition.

(b) A person shall not operate an
electrically motorized board upon a highway, bikeway, or any other
public bicycle path, sidewalk, or trail, at a speed in excess of 15
miles per hour.
© Notwithstanding
subdivision (b), a person shall not operate an electrically motorized
board at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard
for weather, visibility, pedestrian and vehicular traffic, and the
surface and width of the highway, bikeway, public bicycle path, sidewalk, or trail, and
in no event at a speed that endangers the safety of any person or
property.

So basically, you can’t ride at a speed higher than 15 mph any wheres in public. It’s also vague, in saying that even if your going say 14 mph, a cop can still pull you over for speeding if he deems it was too fast to be safe given the particular situation.

Remember I said about “Required Safety Equipment” above? Well, here is the required safety equipment…

(a) Every electrically motorized board operated upon a highway during darkness shall be equipped with all of the following:
(1) Except as provided in subdivision (b), a lamp emitting a white light that,
while the electrically motorized board is in motion, illuminates the
highway in front of the operator and is visible from a distance of 300
feet in front of the electrically motorized board.
(2) Except as provided in subdivision ©, a red reflector on the rear that is
visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear when directly in front
of lawful upper beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle.
(3) Except as provided in subdivision (d), a white or yellow reflector on each
side that is visible from a distance of 200 feet from the sides of the
electrically motorized board.
(b) A lamp or lamp combination, emitting a white light, attached to the
operator and visible from a distance of 300 feet in front of the
electrically motorized board, may be used in lieu of the lamp required
by paragraph (1) of subdivision (a).
© A red reflector, or reflectorizing material meeting the requirements of
Section 25500, attached to the operator and visible from a distance of
500 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of
headlamps on a motor vehicle, may be used in lieu of the reflector
required by paragraph (2) of subdivision (a).
(d) A white or yellow reflector, or reflectorizing material meeting the
requirements of Section 25500, attached to the operator and visible from a
distance of 200 feet from the sides of the electrically motorized board,
may be used in lieu of the reflector required by paragraph (3) of
subdivision (a).

So lets break this down…

If you ride in the dark, you need to either use:

  • A white headlight that is visible from 300 ft or more, a red reflector on the back which is visible from 500 ft or more, and a yellow or white reflector on each side (left and right) of your board that is visible from 300 ft or more
  • The same requirements, but attached to you, the operator, instead of the board.

So here it is. I’ve tried to find the 1976 law which defines what a motorized skateboard is, but it doesn’t seem to be searchable on the internet. If anyone can find it, feel free to post it so I can add that information here.

The reason I’m posting this is there seems to be some confusion out there as to what this law means for us builders and riders. Most of this law is legal garbage that we don’t care about, so you have to either spends hours (like I have) reading the entire law to find the useful pieces, or now, you can read this post.

While everyone in the media is celebrating this law, they are too ignorant to realize many of the biggest commercial boards are still illegal (including boosted and evolve). This law was crafted by Z-Board, which surprise surprise, has a top speed of 18 mph. So their boards are now legal, while most of their competitors are still illegal. Nice job rigging the industry in your favor guys…

So to sum it up: Your electric skateboard is illegal if you can go faster than 20 mph on it (this includes boosted and the evovle CGT). If you can’t go faster than 20 mph, your board is legal as long as you follow these regulations:

  • You can’t ride high or dunk (duh)
  • You must wear a helmet
  • You must be 16 years or older
  • You can only ride on roads of 35 mph or less
  • You can’t ride on highways
  • You can’t ride on public property at speeds higher than 15 mph
  • For nighttime riding, you must use a white headlight, orange side reflectors (on both sides), and a red reflector on the back.

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