Electric Skateboard Legalities - local laws and what you do about them

from: Bill Text - AB-604 Electrically motorized boards.

when powered solely by a propulsion system on a paved level surface, is no more than 20 miles per hour.

unless I am mistaken its not 35mph its 20mph?

I’m wrong about the 35 mph, it says you can not ride on roads with speed limits higher than 35 mph.

But I’m not sure if the definition is met with that 20 mph speed limit. It defines the device as having a propulsion system of 1000 watts or less, however, most electric skateboards are much higher than 1000 watts. The board I’m working on runs at 2250 watts (the carvON dual drive), so then, it doesn’t really fit the definition. Either way, I think I’ll be fine, as I live in San Francisco, and the police here rarely care about these kinds of things. Technically, all skateboards, motorized or not, are illegal in San Francisco. I’ve had 2 tickets in the last 4 years for skateboarding, and my first 3 years here, my main method of transportation (besides the occasional bus or train) was my skateboard. So the chances of a ticket are rare to begin with and these laws do nothing to legalize electric skateboards in San Francisco, as the law clearly says that local governments can still ban them.

313.5. 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.

Its actually a terrible law. It says a motorized skateboard is not the same as an electrically motorized board. While giving a definition of an electrically motorized skateboard, it provides no definition of what a motorized skateboard is or where this is define in any other law.

So motorized skateboards are reaffirmed as illegal in this law, but an electrically motorized board is legal.

Also, the speed limit is set to 15 mph.

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

The other issue is, my board does not meet the requirements of an electrically motorized board, as it goes faster then 20 mph and runs at a higher power then 1000 watts. So is it then a motorized skateboard? The law is too vague to ever know.

1000 watts… pfffffffftttt


this is where the vagueness you describe comes into play. “Averaging”… what does averaging mean here? like if i have multiple motors you take the average of the two? Or (and this is the more accepted belief) does it mean the actual “average” wattage usage? In the case of actual wattage average you will probably never find a board that will average over 700… most are sitting around 400 last I checked. See… by saying average we are suddenly no longer talking about the wattage label of the motor, as the wattage label of the motor(s) is in by no way an average.

It has been discussed elsewhere, I would have to find it, but I looked into it for a few hours as I too board here in the san fran bay area. Basically since our boards never pull over 400 watts you just bull crap the cop and tell him its a 400 watt board, well under the 1000 required. Secondly I am almost 100% certain that its 20mph as top speed, and then a 15mph top speed on sidewalks. Feel free to correct me on either of those points if your research says otherwise. I would not mind being corrected in the interest of safety.

—rant incoming— at the end of the day its a law put into place by some politicians that had no idea what the heck they were even talking about when saying wattage. When you really start breaking down how the law works, its not a system of justice its a system of traps. As long as we are smarter than the people trying to rule over us, and aware of what we are doing, there would be no reason for a cop to pull us over. If pulled over he would be easily fooled by any hint of knowledge in the topic. Its all a game.


under section 21294, it says:

(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.

To me, it seems to set the speed limit every wheres but your own property to 15 mph. If its 15 in the street (all streets are highways in laws), sidewalk, bikeway or trail, that’s just about all public space.

Again, it’s not going to stop me from going faster. As you probably know, cops here in sf only care about anything when they see people being reckless. So if your going 30 mph for example, I doubt most cops will say anything unless they see you riding in a reckless and dangerous manner.

The law was sponsored by the representative from Riverbank, CA where Zboard is located - they basically got this law passed - the law fits the Zboard’s specs: 400w, 15mph top speed…


We should totally bring this convo out of the new member thread lol yeah buddy gotta go as fast as the mobs of bikers on the streets know what im sayin?

Just moved this out of the “introduce yourself” thread. Enjoy!

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@evoheyax check out this thread: https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=73383

let me know what you think bruh

The specifics might apply to a court of law but realistically lots of laws are on the books and rarely enforced unless someone is acting irresponsible or acting overly entitled.

For example it’s illegal in many states to listen to the radio while driving.

The 15 mph limit on bike paths is probably not to endanger or irritate other trail users.

Cyclists and pedestrians have much more influence on laws than E boarders due to their numbers.

If a few entitled DB’s are ticking off other users then we might see a lot of bans in California municipalities.

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I like the idea of trying to change the board to meet a different requirement, though I have yet to find the definition of a motorized board (which I know refers to the loud, polluting, gas powered skateboards). I need to see that definition in order to see if there’s something that can be done to change the board so it no longer meets that definition, because right now, we are not using electrically motorized boards (because most boards are capable of going over 20 mph) in the eyes of the California government.

Those bikers too, they fly. I’ve almost toke one out on market at the bottom of the hill after octavia (if your heading towards downtown). Some guy doing well over 30 went by my right, while I had my right turn signal on.

And that’s what sucks about this law. Its ok for bikes to go as fast as they want and do dangerous things like that but its not ok to go 16 mph on an electric skateboard.

if the police are out there with radar guns they will likely be citing or warning all users for speeding.

There are a few places in California where cyclists can get speeding tickets.

Mt. Tam and Flume Trail at Lake Tahoe are two I am aware of. Pretty rare though. Usually just on nice busy weekends.

I doubt they are going to clock a cyclist at 30 and do nothing and then yank over an E boarder for going 16 and write a ticket.

Not saying it couldn’t happen but seems unlikely.

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One reason i use the paved bike trails instead of bike lanes on streets or sidewalks when riding for fun (other than not having to deal with idiots in cars) is because in my area there are a whole lot of very serious cyclists going very fast in herds. People walking dogs or out for a jog already know that somebody (or a large group of somebodies) is about to blast past them doing about 30 on a $5000 bicycle anyway, so they’re already looking for it.

all of those trails are marked at 15mph. No serious cyclist goes that slow. Pushing on my gravity i can maintain 15mph for some distance on the flats and i sure as hell get up past there on the down slopes. But on my electric, even when doing about 25 or so, i still get passed up by that herd of cyclists.

i’ve never seen anyone enforcing anything on these trails, i’m assuming they are out of site and out of mind for any traffic patrols, and also i think they are treated like state parks in a way where they just have people in yard trucks emptying trash and clearing the trail and that’s the only attention they pay to it.

I have legacy trail right next to my house in sarasota.it runs 10.8 miles to the town south of me (venice fl). I have seen biker cops riding the trail but never sitting there with a radar gun. There are 3 bridges and 1 overpass on the trail. We should keep this thread updated on tickets. :smiley:

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I have stayed out of this conversation because. a) I’m in Australia where all motorized skateboards are illegal. and b) I really hate this topic.

but here I go…

I really hate this topic. I also have a few electric bikes and the Law topic comes up similarly with them. in my area you are allowed to have up to 250W motor on a bike, but skateboards with motors are strictly prohibited. I understand the need for laws. I also understand that I am always breaking the law when I skate. do I care? yes, no, maybe, I dunno. I’m going to keep skating anyway. If I get busted I will acknowledge the fact that I am breaking the law albeit a stupid one. Im guessing the law is there to stop idiots from mowing down pedestrians on an over powered death board. however when I skate, I try to be polite and give people right of way, slow down around children and dogs etc… and I feel, that as long as I am not being a total dick on my skateboard I would have to find a Cop that has had a hell of a bad day and piss him off somewhat in order for him to book me.

TLDR: I know theres laws… but there is also common sense. be safe and polite people.


Agreed. That’s just common sense … but lets face the facts that most people don’t have that anymore and ruin it for the rest of us. Probably why those stupid laws are in place to begin with sadly.

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Venting here! I just paid a $239- cell phone summons yesterday (first time offense) NJ just raised all cell tickets to $200-300 1st offense, $400-600 2nd offense and third offense $600-800 with 6 month license suspension + court costs. All because I left my f*#$%^g Bluetooth in my other truck. Wonder if I’ll also get pulled over for being on the phone while riding my e-board to work after my third offense. KICKER- I saw three uniformed police officers in marked cars on their phones on my way home (not on Bluetooth BTW). Thankful that he was decent though, got off on my tint.

Whoever voted for and passed that legislation were fucking idiots…how many people have died now from people texting while driving? It was safer to talk on the phone. Now everyone is sneaky, taking their eyes off the road to read or type!

Now my rants done too haha

I agree that the no texting or talking while driving laws are stupid.

The other new law that’s pissing me off right now is the FAA thinking they have the authority to demand that I register my drones.

I think the bigger issue with all of this technology is that our law makers have no clue how to regulate this technology (as they don’t understand the technology), and as a result, you end up with fear mongering and misinformation about the dangers of new technology. With the guidance of a few who stand to profit from new regulations, new regulations which make little to no sense for those in the industry/hobby are passed.

When a lawmaker is misinformed, they make stupid and hasty decisions that produce these stupid laws.

  • Giving tickets to people of use cellphones while driving makes the road no safer, as now those people will text with there head looking down instead of texting with the road in the background.

  • Making people register drones makes no one safer, as the people already breaking the rules will not comply, making it impossible to track the abusers down.

  • Limiting the speed, power, and where one can ride an electric skateboard does nothing to make one safer, as these laws might ban one from riding where it is safe, forcing one into unsafe roads. Yes, 35 mph roads seem ok, if you can go 25 mph, but limiting the speed limit to 15 mph means cars will be going by me at 45 mph, 3 times my speed limit.

In the end, these potential "issues could be curbed with other efforts.

  • For texting, work with bluetooth companies to create better bluetooth devices, which give you the full ability to control any aspect of your phone hands free. Market these as an advancement in society, and people will flock to them (for the same reason people ditched landline phones for cellphones)

  • For drones, create a micro-TCAS (traffic collision avoidance system), create a way for these drone to show up on radar with altitude and course information, and a communication channel for traffic controllers to communicate to drone pilots. These would insure public safety, while this mandatory registration (which is also a tax, as you have to pay to register) does nothing to protect anyone.

  • For electric skateboards, come up with different classifications for electric skateboards, class II or higher requiring special licensing and inspection to prove they are safe. This brings safety, while making me go 15 while cars go 45 around me does not make anyone (especially me) any safer.