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Quality of Life

New Laws Open New Paths To Electric Bikes, Skateboards


Electric bike and skateboard riders will have new access to California roads in 2016, as well as new requirements.

A 1970s law barred the era’s loud and gas-powered motorized skateboards from public roads. Today’s quiet, electric skateboards have technically fallen under that ban.

Jessica Gonzalez with the Department of Motor Vehicles says California is trying to catch up with emerging modes of transportation.

"We’re seeing new types of technology out on the road ways to make it easier for people to get around, and so new laws had to be created for them," says Gonzalez.

Starting Jan. 1, electric skateboard riders can use public roads and sidewalks, if they’re over the age of 16, wearing helmets and sober. Electric bikes will similarly be allowed on bike paths.

Cities and counties can also pass local ordinances to restrict the vehicles.

Under another new law, “beer bikes” — which allow up to 15 people to pedal from bar to bar — are now regulated as a type of pedicab.

Even those not riding electric vehicles may see questions about the road rules for them on future driving tests.

The DMV lists the following laws that will create new rules for drivers on Jan. 1:

Pedal-Powered Vehicles

Electrically Motorized Skateboards

Electric Bicycles

Driving Under the Influence

Earbuds or Headsets

Consumer Protection - Starter Interrupt Warning

Transportation Network Companies

California Residency Requirement

Traffic Amnesty