Are electric skateboards legal ?
This is an aspect of electric skateboards that's often ignored. As you might guess, there is no general response to the legality question, it depends on your country or state/province laws.
Illegal ? Why ?
Transportation laws are often not adapted to esk8s. One example: in British Columbia, Canada, electric skateboards are considered as "motorized skateboards". The law forbidding them in public space was released in the 80s, but it was aimed at skateboards using small petrol engines. California, USA, had the same kind of law, but they added a specific law for eks8s in 2016, authorizing them with some conditions (helmet, 16 years old minimum, 35mph max on roads..., see that post for more details).
The main "problem" with electric skateboards is that they are going quite fast (often 20km/h minimum). In some countries, they would be allowed if limited to a certain speed (much lower), otherwise they should be insured and have a license plate (yes, for real).
The general issue is that making a law takes time, and politicians don't really care as it concerns very small communities (and if politicians would care about people, the world wouldn't be in the state it is right now...). There are no hobbyists defending esk8, and companies selling esk8s or parts are too small to go into such procedures.
How can I know for sure ?
Well, we're not experts in laws for every countries in the world. The easiest way is to search on the internet for more information. You can also contact a lawyer (but that ain't cheap).
We might put up a list of countries/states/provinces allowing esk8 on public areas. Contact us if you think you can contribute.
Electric skateboards are pretty new, as we saw, laws aren't adapted for them, and even law enforcement isn't really sure about how to handle that.
In most places where a specific law doesn't exist, as long as you're riding respectfully and safely, you won't be bothered much. Avoid going crazy speed in front of policemen, that helps too. Of course, you can never be 100% sure, there are idiots everywhere.
It's hard to say but as esk8s are becoming a bit popular, hopefully laws will follow up. I personally believe that it follows the trend of electric transportation, ecology, green energy and therefore should become more popular in the next years to come.
We'll try to keep this article updated with important news.