Electric skateboards are the newest way of transportation. They look like a normal skateboard and come with a little remote that can control your speed and brakes.
Wesley Kronmiller of Chico submitted a question to NSPR asking whether or not electric skateboards are illegal to ride in Chico. To find out more for Wesley, I headed over to the Chico Police Department. There I spoke with traffic officer Travis Johnsen who gave me my answer.
“Motorized skateboards, electric or gasoline powered are completely illegal,” Johnsen said.
The California State Vehicle Code does not allow electric skateboards to be on the road at all.
“It just simply states that no motorized skateboard may be propelled on the roadway or sidewalks,” Johnsen said.
And there is a reason why this law exists. According to a CBS news article, more than 64,000 children and teens in the United States were treated in hospital emergency rooms for skateboarding related injuries between the years 1990 to 2008. The article reports the number comes out to about 176 injuries per day — and those injuries are from regular skateboards without motors. Who knows what future research will show as the popularity of motorized skateboards increases.
“They don’t stop well,” Johnsen said. “I think they are pretty fast and I think that they put the rider and anyone else who may walk out in front of them in danger.”
Johnsen also explained the rules for some other legal and less dangerous ways of electric transportation.
“Electric scooters are allowed on the roadway, but there are some different laws you have to abide by if you're riding a motorized scooter,” he said. “You don’t need registration or insurance on a motorized scooter, but you cannot drive one unless you have a valid driver’s license.”
You also must wear a bicycle helmet while riding and cannot go over 25 miles per hour or ride on the sidewalk, Johnsen said.
I wanted to see what an electric skateboard was like to ride, but there isn’t a store in Chico that rents them. The closest thing I could find was an electric bike at AMain Cycling. There I talked to Kate Sage, a customer service specialist who explained that the rental process is pretty simple.
“Someone just has to come in, say they want to rent an e-bike and fill out a waiver,” Sage said. “We give them a brief rundown on how the thing works.”
There are three different classes of electric bikes on the market, but AMain Cycling only rents out the common version, which is a pedal assist e-bike.
“The class two that has a throttle we don’t sell so we don’t really have to inform people about how to use a moped or ride legally on the street because that’s out of our scope,” she said. “So in terms of renting an e-bike, it’s not a lot different than renting a normal bike.”
One of the store’s biggest customers are couples, Sage said.
“One is really into cycling and the other is just getting into cycling so there is a bit of a speed difference and fitness difference,” she said. “So the electric bikes offer a great solution for the couples do that.”
Sage also mentioned that when someone rents these bikes, they must follow the state’s regulations and laws.
“We just have to make sure that our customers are riding them safely and within the law,” she said.
So to answer your question Wesley, it is illegal to ride an electric skateboard in Chico, but there are other forms of motorized transportation, like electric bicycles that are legal as long as riders follow the laws put in place by the state.
Legal ways of transportation Chico:
- Electric Bikes
- Electric Scooters
- Electric Unicycle
All of the above modes of transportation are legal as long as riders follow the laws put in place by the state.
Illegal ways of transportation in Chico:
- Electric Skateboards
Since You Asked is a series on NSPR where you ask the questions and we find the answers. Whether your question is lighthearted or hard-hitting, we want to get to the bottom of it. Submit your question below, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a voicemail at 530-433-4887.