- Are electric skateboards legal?
Whether is it legal or not to ride e-skateboards or not turns out to be a big open-ended question for riders since, in most places, there is no answer such as YES (it´s legal) or NO (it isn´t).
The few cities or countries which already have some kind of regulation and/or laws on electronic devices, such as skateboards, allow people to ride them on a certain speed on footpaths, cycling paths or public roads.
Singapore, one of the cities with more electronic skateboards, has recently introduced e-skate laws allowing them to be used on footpaths up to 15km/h and 25km/h on cycle paths. They are still technically illegal on the roads, though. If you want to ride in Norway you must be 15 years old and not go faster than 20 km/h (the same as bikes). You need to have your lights on at night and wear a helmet, but you don´t need an insurance. Sweden and Norway regard them as bikes, also with a few speed limitations. In Australia,e-skates have recently been allowed on public roads with similar restrictions to cars: you must be sober and you can´t use your mobile phone. Heads up for California! the first city to regulate the usage of electronic skateboards allowing them on public roads as long as the rider wears a helmet and doesn´t go over 20mph.In Germany, these vehicles are allowed but they need to be insured. In Barcelona, there isn´t any specific law for e-skates. However, they would fall under category A, the same as scooters or any two-wheeled platforms allowing them to circulate at a 30 km/h on public roads and cycle paths.
In most countries, the first laws on other electronic devices which came before e-skateboards, such as segways and e-bikes, were written only 5 years ago. Thanks to their predecessors who had quite a hard time on the streets before gaining acceptance, we can say we have high hopes and expect some laws and regulations for electric skateboards to be written soon. The use of e-skateboards in major cities has significantly increased during the past few years and fresh laws have been introduced in order to regulate the use of alternative means of transport, such as segways or scooters.
If you take a walk on California, Barcelona, or Singapore you will see a man on a suit riding an e-skate smoothly on a cycle lane or a lady in high heels surfing the road on a scooter. You can even see a grandma walking a chihuahua in her scooter or a young boy running errands for local stores. You can even see them in London, where they are illegal. They´re everywhere, and they´re here to stay.
Something that has been delaying the acceptance on electronic devices is the fact that there have been accidents. Of course, anything can happen whether you are walking on the streets or riding a bike, but it sure has served as an excuse for the police in Barcelona and Shanghai to write more than one ticket after a man in a scooter was hit by a taxi. No matter how hard they tried to ban these devices, more and more people are turning to electric transportation because it´s cheap, easy to carry around the city, they are fast and they are FUN!.
Yes, we can expect laws on e-skates being written soon but the rider community must be aware that how fast they are introduced depends on acceptance, and acceptance depends on them riding safely on public areas.
A piece of advice: wear a helmet, use common sense, make sure your board is safe and enjoy the ride.