There are rules everywhere.
There are rules for almost everything now.
“On Sundays, you can’t walk around with a waffle cone in your pocket.” –Dumb NYC Law
Some people think it’s a stupid way to keep people in line, while others say it’s for safety…
When it comes to following rules, electric skateboards are no different.
There seems to be a lot of confusion about the rules of the road among both skateboarders and e-boarders.
Are bikes allowed on the sidewalk?
Can you ride in the street?
Where is riding against the law?
Let’s answer your questions and keep you safe from the police and those annoying “know-it-all” citizens.
Different places with their own laws
The first thing you need to know.
There won’t be the same rules in every town, city, and municipal.
Take for example, Marijuana…
Marijuana is completely legal for recreational use in states like Colorado, Washington, and Massachusetts.
But if you’re caught with even one bag of marijuana in the South, some states will throw you in jail right away, no questions asked.
Electric skateboards are the same…
In some places, you can ride your board almost anywhere you want and it’s totally legal.
In other places, it’s not okay, and the rules are very strict.
Rules and laws depend on where you are and who has authority over you…
You must first find out what the law is by talking to your town, police department, mayor’s office, or another authority.
- Step 1: Look at your town or city’s website.
- Step 2: Call your local police station (non-emergency line)
- Step 3: Call or email your town or city’s transportation office if it has one.
Can an electric skateboard be ridden on the sidewalk?
Let’s not hide the truth.
Can I ride my electric skateboard down the sidewalk?
In general, the answer is yes…
Again, it will depend on the rules in your neighborhood, city, or town.
But if you live in the suburbs or in the country, you shouldn’t have too much trouble with it. I’ve always ridden on sidewalks without any problems.
Even if it’s not allowed or recommended, I doubt anyone will make sure it doesn’t happen. If they do, just go back to the street.
Still, I think it’s better to ride on the road in the first place. (Walkways were made for people on foot, not for things with wheels.)
Also, because of all the cracks, riding on the sidewalk is usually bumpier and less comfortable.
Larger cities have more problems with people riding on the sidewalk, so they are more likely to have laws against it.
I found a Reddit thread about skateboarding on the street in New York City.
“Don’t skate on the sidewalk and always skate with traffic,” was a common rule. When there is a bike lane, use it. When there isn’t one, use the whole street.
It makes sense as well.
For safety reasons, you shouldn’t ride your 25 mph electric skateboard on the sidewalks of a big city, weaving in and out of people. That’s a sure way to get into trouble.
Regardless of why you ride on the sidewalk, make sure to follow these rules:
- Slow down and make room for people on foot.
- Follow the laws of your state, stop at intersections, wait for the light to cross, etc…
- Be careful
- Put on a helmet and other protective gear.
- At night, use lights.
Electric skateboards vs. skateboards
You might think that regular skateboards and electric skateboards are the same thing, but some places and laws might not see them the same way.
Some lawmakers say that the fact that an electric skateboard has a motor is a big change.
For instance: There have been a lot of electric bikes and scooters on the streets of New York City recently, which has been in the news.
There used to be a rule against these vehicles.
Some people said it was a silly law because a bike and an e-bike or e-scooter aren’t that different from each other.
Even if you don’t have an electric bike, you can still ride very fast and put other people in danger. What’s all the fuss about?
But in June 2019, the state decided that all e-bikes and scooters could be used as long as the rider was over 16 and didn’t go faster than 20 mph.
So, another tip for you is to find out if the rules for skateboards and e-skateboards are the same in your area.
There’s a good chance your city already has rules about skateboards. That means that those rules also apply to your electric skateboard, since they are basically the same thing.
Any place with a sign that says “rollerblading, skating, etc. are not allowed” is also not a good place to go electric skateboarding.
Riding on someone else’s land
When riding an electric skateboard, there is always one thing you need to watch out for.
Don’t ride on someone else’s land.
A lot of the arguments and fights between skaters on YouTube can be traced back to them riding in the wrong place.
Personal property is personal (hence the name).
You need permission from the property owner to go for a walk on their land.
And they will say no 99 percent of the time. Not because they’re jerks, but because they don’t want to be responsible if you hurt yourself or accidentally break something of theirs.
And you should never just assume that someone will let you ride on their land.
Stick to public areas like skate parks, boardwalks, parking lots, and the street.
Can Something Bad Happen?
You probably won’t get in trouble for riding an electric skateboard unless you do something really bad.
But yes, anything could happen…
If the police stop you for any reason, here’s what you should do: BE RESPECTFUL.
The police are also people. If you do what they say and treat them with respect, your chances of getting off with a warning go up tenfold.
If you do something really stupid, like ride on a highway or cut through the busiest street in town, you could get a big ticket or even be arrested for something stupid.
Just use common sense. You should care about safety just as much as cops do.
Don’t try to jump through the road like Evel Knievel.
If you don’t try to get into trouble, you won’t.