Are electric skateboards legal to ride in the US? Here is Your Answer
When you buy an electric skateboard, one crucial question is, are electric skateboards legal to ride in the US? Can you ride them on the sidewalk, roads, or bike paths? Also, what to do if you get caught?
The short answer is that the laws do not permit you to ride an electric skateboard in most states since they consider low-power vehicles illegal for road travel.
However, the rise in popularity of e-boards has influenced the laws in the last couple of years. As a result, more and more states are now reviewing the rules to regulate the use of electric skateboards.
Are Electric Skateboards Legal in the US?
The majority of states in the US have not made the use of electric skateboards legal because the state motor vehicle legislation limits the use of low-power vehicles. Several states also refuse access to sidewalks to even skateboards.
However, some states allow electric skateboards to follow the rules set for bicycles. So, if you already have an electric skateboard and you want to use it as a portable means of transport, then what should you do?
Well, since electric skateboarding is just beginning to get mainstream, we can wish for the laws to become more flexible. However, if the confiscation of your e-board by the police is your primary concern, you don’t have much to worry about.
The police are more tolerant of the e-boards now as no federal laws allow or limit the use of electric skateboards.
US States Where Electric Skateboards Are Legal
We assume that most states will consider e-boards as illegal if they look into the federal laws. However, every vehicle on the road has to meet the requirements for a license, so unless the state introduces a permit for the e-board, the chances are that you can only use them for a leisure ride.
However, if you’re lucky, you may live in a state where skating is legal. Please read below to find out about the different US states and their laws about electric skateboards.
Are electric skateboards legal in Texas
In Texas, electric skateboards are placed in the low-power vehicle category. Therefore they come under the same rules set for bicycles, golf carts, or mopeds. Since they are considered the same as motor-assisted scooters in Texas, it could be legal to ride them on the road but only under certain conditions.
You will have to adhere to the following rules to ride the electric skateboard on the road.
Ride the electric skateboard at a max speed of 35 mph.
You can ride the skateboard in the bicycle lane or on the sidewalk.
Are electric skateboards legal in California
If you’re a Californian, consider yourself lucky as electric skateboards are legal to ride in the public areas of California. However, California has set some rules as of 2016 that you have to comply with to ride your e-board.
The laws state that electric skateboards can be used by people with a minimum age of 16 years at the speed limit of up to 15 miles per hour (24 km/h). In addition to this, you must wear a helmet or protective gearing and comply with the drive/drug laws.
Here are some rules that you will adhere to if you wish to ride the e-board in public spaces.
You must be at least 16 years old
You must wear protective gear or a helmet
Keep the speed 35 mph max
You have to comply with the driving laws
Follow the speed limit of 15 mph in residential areas
You should not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Don’t ride on highways
The power of your e-board must be under 1000W
You must have a front white light, rear and side reflectors to ride at night
Are electric skateboards legal in Florida
Unfortunately, it is illegal to ride an electric skateboard in the state of Florida. According to Florida’s laws, a motor vehicle is classified as an automobile, truck, trailer, semi-trailer, tractor, motorcycle, or vehicle that transfers a person or property. In addition, power or fuel should propel the vehicle.
Besides this, the motor vehicle should be registered for you to ride on the road. Since you cannot register electric skateboards, the police consider them illegal.
The electric skateboards do not meet the requirements for registration as they are not safe enough to be used as regular means of transport. Due to the minimum safety and design conditions, they have failed to be recognized as legal.
In Florida, it is also illegal to ride motor vehicles on the footpath or bicycle lanes. Therefore even if skateboards were registered as motor vehicles, you wouldn’t be allowed to ride them on the sidewalks.
Are electric skateboards legal in Michigan
Electric skateboards became legal in Michigan in 2018 when The Michigan House of Representatives passed the legislation to allow electric skateboards to go on the same roads as bikes and cars. In addition, the bill mentioned a speed limit of 25 miles per hour.
Since then, people enjoy riding their electric skateboards on the roads by adhering to the same rules as cyclists. However, remember that the electric skateboard cannot have more than 2,500W of power.
Are electric skateboards legal in NYC ( New York )
Despite being the most densely populated state, the laws of New York have not become flexible to facilitate the new yorkers when it comes to using portable means of transport. Just like electric bikes, New York considers e-boards illegal.
The government or the lawmakers do not seem to take active measures to make electric skateboards legal either. So we cannot hope for much regarding e-boarding in New York.
Electric Skateboarding Legality Issues in Other States
Although alternative mobility concepts have gained popularity, electric skateboards are still illegal in most of the US. It is because the state and the local ordinances regulate skateboarding laws. Skateboards are illegal in most parts of the US because the laws vary from state to state.
In some states, the laws set for electric skateboards are the same as those specified for bicycles. While in some states, the bikes are grouped with other motor vehicles that are registered.
As skateboards cannot be registered, they are not legal in that state. For example, if you live in Michigan, your electric skateboard is permitted as the state considers it a safe means of transport.
However, if you live in Florida, the skateboards do not meet the requirements to register as a motor vehicle. As a result, they are illegal in Florida.
Besides that, most states require you to wear protective gearing and a helmet when you ride the e-board in public.
In some states, skateboarding is usually permitted but only at a specific time as a recreational activity. For example, one town may allow skateboarding for half an hour after dawn or before dusk, while another city may limit skateboarding to specific areas such as the sidewalks. Therefore, skateboarding is not legal in the entire US.
Riding an Electric Skateboard Stealthily
There are some ways by which you could ride your electric skateboard stealthily. Firstly, we suggest that you always ride considerately and courteously, ensuring that you’re wearing protective gear.
It would be best if you ride within the speed limit. If electric skateboarding is legal in your state, check the rules and regulations to know the speed limit.
If you ride on the sidewalk, be sure not to disturb the pedestrians. Also, be careful when passing near dogs; it is good practice to watch out for them.
Besides this, when you ride at night, you should ensure that you are being seen. For this purpose, you should have lights or reflectors in your electric skateboard.
Also, always try to carry your e-skateboard if you are in a congested area. You should be able to ride stealthily as long as you do not annoy people. Another great tip is avoiding main streets and busy roads. It’s better to take bicycle paths, or sidewalks instead.
If you’re unaware of your country or state’s rules and regulations regarding electric skateboards, then all you have to do is search the web.
You could mention your state and read up on the rules. If you are still unable to find any information, you could always ask a police officer to be as safe as possible.
If you want to ride your electric skateboard stealthily, you must take safety precautions. When you own an electric skateboard, you would definitely want to check how fast it can go.
However, if you wish to experiment with speed, it could get you into trouble with the police. Therefore, you need to make sure that you only do so in an appropriate place. For example, you may enjoy an exhilarating ride on your private property.
Higher speed usually results in a crash, and if you are not wearing any protective gear, you may suffer serious injuries. To prevent that from happening, you should always wear your safety gear to protect yourself from accidents.
Make sure that your safety gear includes a durable helmet, gloves along with elbow and knee pads for maximum protection.
Another safety tip is to avoid crowded and busy roads. Instead, try to ride your e-board on quiet streets or sidewalks only.
Besides this, remember to always keep your electric skateboard charged. When your e-board has a low battery, you are likely to experience voltage sag when you accelerate. Also, you would want to avoid a sudden stoppage due to low battery as it may cause an accident.
What to Do If the Police Catches You E-Boarding
Sometimes the police may stop you when they see you riding an electric skateboard. For example, the police could stop you if e-skating is illegal in your state or if you violate any of the laws.
So if the police catch you, then this could cause you some unnecessary trouble. In that case, what should you do if you see a policeman? Well, you’d want to be as stealthy as possible to avoid all possible encounters with the police.
To avoid a police encounter, you should ride at a moderate speed. Also, try to hide your remote control in your backhand, then kick-push your board to accelerate just like the normal longboarders. Finally, remember to wear a half lid helmet instead of a full lid helmet.
It would be best to keep in mind that more police officers are present in the capitals or the big cities. So if you’re riding your e-board outside of the big cities, you’re a lot safer when it comes to getting caught.
Penalties for Skateboarding Law Violations
Let us consider that e-skating is illegal in your state, and the police catch you skateboarding on the sidewalk. What happens in that situation? Well, in most states, you could get a penalty for skateboarding.
These penalties include fines, warnings, or in rare cases, arrest charges. Most of the sentences are based on whether the charge is a first or repeat offense. Some penalties also depend on whether the police officer considers the charge an infraction (most cases) or misdemeanor.
An infraction is a violation of the law that is also called a petty offense. For example, if you violate administrative regulations, a municipal code, or traffic rules, the police consider it an infraction.
In most states, the infraction is not a criminal offense; therefore, incarceration is the punishment in this case.
A misdemeanor is a more serious criminal offense than an infraction, for example, a crime that lies between felony and violation. A misdemeanor is punishable by a fine and incarceration in a local jail.
However, e-skating penalties rarely result in misdemeanors, so you don't have to worry about that.
There are many things to consider when you buy an electric skateboard. But the most critical factor in consideration is whether you can ride your e-board in public spaces or not.
Since the legality of electric skateboards is in question, it is wise to check your state’s local rules and regulations before purchasing an e-board. Besides this, make sure that you always follow safety precautions to avoid getting into accidents.