Are Electric Skateboards Legal?
This is a tough one and for quite some time electric skateboards have largely flown under the radar of UK legislation. Another example of the law not keeping up with technology. So are they legal?
Here is a brief overview of where the world is at the moment regarding electric skateboards:
Singapore introduced e-skate laws allowing them to be used on footpaths up to 15km/h and 25km/h on cycle paths but still technically illegal on the roads.
The Danish government have recently approved many electric vehicles as of 1/1/2019, of course with some restrictions. Max speed of 20km/h, 15 year old minimum and you have to have lights on the rider or board with no mandatory insurance or registration.
Belgium has a similar attitude to electric skateboards and they fall under the same category as Segways allowing riders to use them in the same location as bicycles, limited to 18km/h.
In the UK the area is unofficially grey, with no specific legislation for electric skateboards. Hoverboards, Onewheels and Electric Scooters are all banned in public places but as of yet Electric skateboards remain unlegislated.
Good news for people living in Sweden is that e-skates have recently been assimilated as bikes and given them the same rights with a few speed limitations.
Norway also just legalised light electric vehicles considering them the same as bicycles. Norwegians don’t need an insurance, registration or admission to ride. Permitted maximum speed is 20 km/h, you need head and tail lights, reflectors, a certain braking power and a signal horn or signal bell. However, exceptions to these requirements may be granted where such equipment can not be fitted.
For the Australian Road Rules, a person in or on a wheeled recreational device or wheeled toy is a pedestrian, not a rider (as in cyclist) and not a vehicle. A recent change in the law allows for ‘personal mobility vehicles’ to be used in Public Spaces and Road related areas. More generally you have to be over 16, wearing a helmet and many rules which apply to cars like not being drunk or using a mobile phone plus you’ll need some lights on while travelling at night.
Riders in California are allowed to use electric skateboards on bicycle paths and roads as long a a helmet is worn and the rider is over 16. They also require that they have lights and reflectors, in practice this usually means that a set of Shredlights or similar is enough for most cops to not be too bothered. They are however defined as a wheeled device with a propulsion system of less than 1000W and a max speed of 20mph.