Electric Skateboard Laws for the United States

by Jonathan D. SepterUpdated October 25, 2017
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Electric skateboards and electric motor-handled skateboards commonly called scooters, represent relatively new technology that US lawmakers either create new laws specifically for, or expect residents to include such vehicles under existing laws. Most states consider low-power vehicles illegal for road operation, though some states, such as California, accept electric skateboards as viable alternative means of transportation, according to online electric vehicle informational resource Electric-Bikes.com. Knowing local laws ensures vehicle operation within safe and legal guidelines.

Federal Laws

Federal law does not permit or limit the riding of electric vehicles in the US, rather individual states govern riding laws, states online electric vehicle information source ElectricScooterParts.com. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) oversees the safe assembly and operation of such vehicles. The CPSC oversees safe bicycle construction and several other consumer products available for purchase in the US besides low-power electric vehicles such as electric skateboards. CPSC regulations require manufacturers to build products that safely complete tasks they advertise the capability of. Bicycles, electric vehicles and other vehicles must safely support rider weights and withstand common bumps and potholes experienced while operating such vehicles.

State Laws

State motor vehicle legislation often limits the use of electric skateboards and their handled brethren, according to Electric-Bikes.com. Several states outright refuse street or sidewalk access to such vehicles. Some states require electric skateboards to follow bicycle laws. Some states permit handled electric skateboards while outlawing regular electric skateboards. State motor vehicle law designates whether an electric skateboard or handled electric skateboard may ride on streets, sidewalks, paths or parkways within a state. Several states allow such vehicle operation on private property only. While states may allow such electric skateboard vehicles access, local laws may prohibit these vehicles in cities, counties or municipalities. Many state-operated parks do not allow such vehicles within individual park borders.

Local Laws

Many cities and counties in states permitting electric skateboards and scooters deny vehicle operating rights within certain city, county or municipal limits. Some cities in states where ill-defined or vague laws exist enact laws permitting such vehicle operation inside city limit, such as Petaluma, California, and Sebastopol, California, states Electric-Bikes.com. Local laws often represent the strictest government regulations, since local law may only enact tighter regulations than those enforced at state and federal levels. Many areas require helmet use while operating electric skateboards, and many local laws require helmet use in states lacking electric vehicle helmet laws. Though many companies offer electric skateboards for purchase, many local areas of the US limit the use of such vehicles on public roads.

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