Skateboards Legally Ridden in Bike Lanes? It Could Happen

The expansion of bike lanes in Los Angeles can make motorists feel a bit elbowed out. We've seen perfectly pristine four-lane roads transformed into two-laners with thick strips of asphalt set aside just for the peddle-power set.

Well, bicyclists, you could soon feel the way we feel.

A state assemblywoman wants to allow motorized skateboards in bike lanes. Say what? It's true. Kristin Olsen of Modesto this week hosted a demo of motorized skating to boost support for her proposal.

Her office calls the rides a "safe and eco-friendly mode of transportation for commuters" that are currently banned in the state. That prohibition dates back to 1977, when the skateboards were gas-powered and noisy.

Today, Olsen's office says, they're safe, clean and much more quiet.

The Assembly Republican leader says her bill would support this emerging industry:

It makes no sense that an environmentally conscious product that is designed and assembled in our state cannot be legally operated here. AB 604 simply seeks to modernize California law so this industry can grow and provide more jobs and convenient transportation options for short commutes.

The lawmaker credits Geoff Larson and Ben Foreman's "senior project" at USC for the evolution of the board. Their work culminated in Intuitive Motion's contemporary ZBoard. Foreman:

My hope is that this bill will encourage more companies to develop similar transportation models that will help make public transportation a viable option for a wider range of commuters by making the last mile between home, work and the transit station quicker and easier to travel to.

The bill heads to the Assembly Transportation Committee Monday. So, cyclists, are you behind it?

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow L.A. Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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