Last Updated on June 21, 2021
Many electric Skateboard enthusiasts have often wondered whether the law allows the boards to be used- yes, are electric skateboards legal where you live?
This is the first question that rushes to mind whenever some think about buying or building these devices. Well, the question is more complex than you’d think. Indeed, the legal status of e skateboards mostly depends on several factors.
These factors include the place (where) the rider uses them, how fast the rider is riding his skateboard, and how fast the skateboard can actually move. Another factor involves the type of safety gear the skateboard rider is wearing.
Laws on Electric Skateboards in the US and Elsewhere
What else matters? Well, in which country do you live? Of course, the laws differ from country to country regarding how skateboards should be used.
Considering this, make sure you’re acquainted with local laws governing the use of skateboards in your country. Do this well before buying or building your skateboard.
In this post, we’ll discuss the legal status of skateboards (and their use) in various US states, the UK, Europe, Australia, and Asia. However, in case of doubts, make sure you consult your local authority laws.
Does the Law Consider the Electric Skateboard a Vehicle?
Regardless of your residence, it’s essential to learn the rules governing road use. It doesn’t matter whether you’re traveling using a bicycle, a vehicle, on foot, or by a skateboard.
First, who is a pedestrian? This is a person traveling on foot or other human-propelled conveyance (like skateboards or skates). Note that a bicycle rider is not considered a pedestrian.
Thus, skateboarders, highway construction workers, and ordinary pedestrians are collectively known as pedestrians. Also, in many countries, the law recognizes disabled persons who use self-propelled tricycles, wheelchairs, or quadricycles as pedestrians.
A Skateboard isn’t a Vehicle
Generally, the law doesn’t consider electric skateboards as vehicles. In fact, the Washington State laws consider anyone riding a skateboard as a pedestrian.
Why? Skateboards run at speeds that motorists cannot quickly react to or spot. In many places, the law prohibits skateboard riders from crossing the road (except when they cross a street).
Overall, it’s wise for people using skateboards or roller skates to do so carefully and move at a safe speed.
Note that all skateboard riders must yield the right of way to other pedestrians.
Segway and E Bikes Faced the Same Legal Situation
Undoubtedly, the making of laws governing operations of the electric skateboard is something relatively new. Nevertheless, other products successfully faced the hurdle; there’s no reason it should be different for the skateboard.
Yes, the e skateboard is traveling familiar legal territory.
Let’s consider one example of a past product that underwent a similar legal situation, coming off victorious.
Segway and E Bikes Legalized
At first, US law considered these products as illegal. However, after much lobbying, Segway and e bikes were eventually accepted. In most places, the law soon permitted their use on public property.
Notably, most of the laws came into use in the last 5 years. This sets a precedence for similar transportation types to be legally accepted in the future.
No wonder many countries have recently introduced laws to allow the use of electric skateboards in public places.
Is it Legal to Use the E Skateboard in the US?
So far, most US states haven’t legalized the use of e skateboards. However, there are several places in the US where the law allows you to ride your e skateboard without a hassle.
Note that in many places, the idea of electric skateboarding is relatively new. But we know how fast technology moves- many times, it moves faster than the government can cope.
Nevertheless, the current situation means e skaters must wait for governments to make new laws; hopefully, this will happen soon. Unfortunately, even where some states have the laws, these are not usually straightforward.
Few Laws for Skateboards
As we’ve noted, many states have not made laws touching on the use of skateboards. And at the Federal level, the situation isn’t much different. Be careful, though; the absence of such laws doesn’t mean you’re free to use them-indeed, it’s often the opposite: Skateboards are technically illegal.
In this light, anyone using an e skateboard anywhere within the US must carefully adhere to a minimum set of standards touching on design; again, note that most e skateboards fall short on this.
Let’s now discuss the legal status of e skateboards in some major US states and abroad.
Can You Legally Use E Skateboards in California?
Good question: Are electric skateboards legally- allowed in California State?
Well, the Assembly Bill 604 is California’s applicable law. Do you recognize that electrically motorized skateboards and motorized skateboards aren’t the same thing? Thus, the law banning the use of motorized boards was first made in California in the 1970s.
At that time, some slapped gas engines on skateboards. The law also prohibited using skateboards while drunk.
Interestingly, Texas’ laws don’t prohibit this. In California, an electrically motorized board is described as “a wheeled device with a floorboard (less than 60 inch. deep and 18 inch. wide) designed for a single rider… with an electric propulsion of fewer than 1,000 watts that can’t exceed 20 miles per hour.”
Note that the 20mph speed limit here is a definition, not a regulation. Thus, a board that can travel faster is not subject to these laws. Further, you can’t ride your board at public schools, state parks, state colleges & universities, airports & county parks, and several other places.
Also, you must be at least 16 and must wear your helmet. You can’t ride on roads with 35 mph speed limits.
Other local authorities can introduce restrictions as they please.
Are E Skateboards Legal in Texas?
Do you live in Texas? If so, you may wonder whether electric skateboards are legal in that state. The authorities in Texas have laws that regulate electric skateboards just as bicycles and mopeds are regulated.
Actually, Texas uses the same law. Thus, the state classifies e skateboards as “Motor Assisted Scooters.” Also, under these laws, e skateboards are described as “electric personal assistive mobility devices,” “neighborhood electric vehicles,” or “motor-assisted scooters.”
E skateboard riders are only allowed to operate on highways or streets with a 35 mph speed limit. You can, however, cross a street at an intersection with a higher speed limit as long as you don’t go down the street.
Further, the law allows you to ride the skateboard on some streets regardless of the existing speed limit; you can even ride on a sidewalk. Other counties and states may have different laws on the use of skateboards. Thus, it’s wise to check your county or city regulations.
The law requires e skateboards to meet the same safety standards and regulations as bicycles. Overall, since e skateboards are not designed with a place to attach reflective lights (like bicycles), it means you can’t ride at night.
Safety reminder: Always wear your helmet while riding a skateboard.
Are E Skateboards Legal in Florida?
Florida State has stricter laws on skateboards. For instance, it’s technically illegal to use a skateboard on property classified as public. The Florida state transportation code has a section that allows “Electronic Personal Mobility Devices” to be used. Note that this code applies only to Segways.
The code defines EPAMD’s as “a self-balancing 2-non tandem-wheeled device.” Of course, that doesn’t describe a skateboard. So, the legal definition of a skateboard considerably limits where you can use it.
Also, consider this: Florida law defines a motor vehicle this way: “An automobile or a motorcycle, trailer, semi-trailer, truck, truck tractor or semitrailer combination…used to transport people or property… propelled by non-muscular power.” Of course, this definition fits the nature of an e skateboard.
Florida law also requires all motor vehicles to be legally operated and registered. However, you cannot register an e skateboard. This means you can’t ride the e skateboard on the sidewalk, roads, bike paths, or bicycle lanes. Why? E skateboards aren’t propelled entirely by human power.
Do Not Ride on Public Property
You may only ride an e skateboard on private property (your driveway or the gated community). Interestingly, some say that the Florida authorities don’t enforce the law whenever they spot anyone using the e skateboard- instead, they seem to consider e skateboards as safe to use.
We can reasonably conclude that the Florida authorities haven’t explicitly banned e skateboards. But take care- it’s entirely illegal to ride e skateboards in Florida. Thus, anyone riding this device on public property does so at his own risk.
Overall, Florida classifies the e skateboard as a vehicle but fails to provide a way to register it as such. Know what your local law says. Consult forums like Reddit or eSK8 Builder to learn what others say about the latest legal developments.
Is it Legal to Use E Skateboards in Europe?
The European Union has no formal laws on e skateboards; instead, individual EU member nations have their own homegrown policies. Most nations classify e skateboards as Light Electric Vehicles (just like bicycles and scooters). In Finland, the law requires e skateboard riders to register the vehicles; it also requires them to insure the boards as light motorcycles (classified according to their speed).
Germany, Denmark, and Belgium allow the use of e skateboards- you only have to adhere to the speed limits. In Norway, e skateboards are treated the same as bicycles; e skateboards are legal in Iceland, Switzerland, Spain, and Greece. In France, the authorities are working on new laws to allow the use of skateboards.
Apart from Austria and Turkey, other European nations don’t have explicitly restrictive laws to limit the use of such vehicles; the law often bundles skateboards with Segways and hoverboards and treats them as such.
Overall, e skateboards aren’t yet street legal in much of Europe.
The situation in Europe is, however, changing quickly. For example, new e skateboard-friendly laws were recently introduced in Germany and Norway in 2018. Hence, it seems most European countries that don’t allow e skateboards might change their policies in the future.
What About the UK – Are E Skateboards Legal Here?
The UK famously introduced restrictive laws governing the use of hoverboards and Segways. However, the rules governing e skateboard use are still a little confusing. In 1835, the UK first introduced the Highway Act. The law explicitly prohibits horses, sheep, mules, swine, and asses from causeways and footpaths. The same law seems to lump together hoverboards and Segways.
Both England and Wales recognize the Highway Act. In 1984 Scotland introduced its own Roads Act; the act prohibits the same things the Highway Act does. Both laws ban the riding or driving of animals or vehicles on footpaths.
Evidently, the same law applies to skateboards.
Now, are electric skateboards regulated just like hoverboards and Segways? Does the law lump them together with e bikes as legal vehicles? Well, it seems the law considers e skateboards as different. Why?
UK law defines electric bikes as having pedals- e skateboards have no pedals (this means they aren’t electric bikes). Overall, e skateboards fall in the same category as Segways and hoverboards- thus, they are illegal when used on public property within the UK.
Interestingly, many e skateboard enthusiasts have noticed that law enforcers don’t apply the regulations strictly. Hence, in major cities like London, some have been spotted riding their skateboards down the sidewalks.
But make no mistake about this- electric skateboards are still illegal in the UK. This means anyone riding them does so at their own risk. If caught, you can have your skateboard confiscated; you may be fined for the offense.
Hopefully, things might change soon.
Can You Use E Skateboards in Canada Legally?
Just like the UK, Canada has no explicit nationwide laws governing e skateboard use. Each province or municipality is, therefore, free to make its own specific laws.
In British Columbia, e skateboards are illegal and cannot be insured. Interestingly, some law enforcers ignore e skateboard riders (unless they act recklessly or endanger order).
It’s not clear whether you can ride e skateboards on bike lanes in cities like Vancouver. Regardless, your skateboard is unlikely to qualify for registration or insurance as a vehicle. This makes it illegal for road use.
In cities like Toronto, e skateboards are explicitly illegal.
What About Australia- Is It Legal to Ride an E Skateboard?
Australia classifies e skateboards as “wheeled recreational devices.” Just like the UK and Canada, Australia has no specific laws governing the use of e skateboards. However, Australia treats e skateboards differently- the law considers them the same as motorized or regular scooters- but e skateboard riders are considered pedestrians, not riders.
In Australia, you cannot ride your e skateboard on any road with a median strip or dividing line or one with a speed limit exceeding 50 mph. Also, you cannot ride on a one-way road with multiple unmarked lanes- neither can you ride them on the road at night.
Take care not to travel alongside more than one pedestrian wherever you can legally ride. Always wear a helmet when riding your skateboard.
Can You Legally Ride an E Skateboard in Singapore?
In 2017 the law allowed e skateboard riders in Singapore to operate on footpaths and cycle paths. They must, however, keep to the specified speed limits. The limit on a footpath is 15 km/h. On a cycle path, the limit is 25 km/h.
Overall, it’s illegal to ride an e skateboard in Singapore. It’s best to keep off highways and byways. The board must not exceed 700 mm in width or 20 kg in weight.
Do you love skateboards? Before buying one, consider several things. Consider these essential points: Does the law allow you to ride an e skateboard on public roads? Check what your local law says.
Try to adhere to the laws. If you must use your skateboard, do so discreetly without endangering public order or causing damages.
Yes, have fun while riding your e skateboard but do so responsibly and legally.