Have you ever been skating and thought, Wow, this rolling around on four wheels stuff, passing pedestrians left and right, is just too much hard work?
Yeah, us neither. But still, the electric skateboard revolution is upon us, and that trip to the corner market on your board could get a whole lot easier.
Gov. Jerry Brown over the weekend signed AB 604 by Assemblywoman Kristin M. Olsen of Modesto. The law goes into effect Jan. 1. It will allow people 16 and older to ride electric skateboards in California bike lanes, bike paths, sidewalks, trails and roads where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour or less.
Under the law, riders must wear helmets. Night riders must also use boards equipped with a light and reflector. Cities could impose their own limits on electric skaters.
The legislation revisits a 1977 ban on motorized skateboards. That prohibition focused on noisy, gas-powered rides. This bill legalizes boards that are less offensive. In the words of Olsen's office, “Boards built today are quiet, clean and safe to ride.”
“My legislation updates our outdated laws to give Californians an environmentally friendly transportation option, and encourages the growth of an industry to create new jobs,” Olsen said.
The bill benefits the Hermosa Beach–based maker of the ZBoard, which describes its product as “the world’s first weight-sensing electric skateboard.”
“We are grateful that the governor recognized the need to allow for this technology, and are hopeful that it will allow many more Californians to enjoy the benefits and joy of riding an electric skateboard safely,” said Brad Phillipi of Intuitive Motion, manufacturer of the ZBoard.
The ZBoard is the result of a senior project at USC that grew into a 2012 Kickstarter campaign that launched the product.
“Tired of bikes getting stolen and having to push skateboards up hills and over Los Angeles’ notoriously uneven streets, our goal was clear: Design a device that is faster and easier to ride than a skateboard, and more fun and portable than a bike,” ZBoard states.
They travel at up to 20 miles per hour. You can buy one for $599.
One caveat: Under this law you cannot drive one drunk or high, no matter what a great idea it might appear to be at the time. If you're caught doing so, you could be looking at a $250 ticket.