This week’s question comes from Craig F. who lives in the Mission District. It is a follow up on last week’s article on “Hover Boards/Power Boards.” Craig asks: “I am 15 and I got a Hover Board for Christmas. I was riding it on the sidewalk and a cop told me I couldn’t ride it on the sidewalk, that I was too young to use it, and that, anyways I needed a helmet. He said I could either get off and walk or he could write me a ticket and confiscate the board. I felt like he was just busting my chops. Is this for real? What’s the dealeo Dolan?”
I am glad to see that the S.F. Examiner includes readers of all ages and I thank you Craig for the question, it’s a timely one.
California law has just recently developed in response to the new “Hover Board” technology.
On February 24, 2015, Assembly Member Kristin Olson, from Assembly District 24, which includes parts of Stockton and Modesto, introduced Assembly Bill 604 in the State Legislature.
AB 604 was introduced to address the issues of public safety concerning “Electrically Motorized Boards.” It was signed by the Governor on October 11, 2015 , and sets forth the current state law on a number of electrically motorized boards.
First, the definition of Electrically Motorized Boards (EMBs) has now been codified in California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 313.5 as follows; “An “Electrically Motorized Board” is any wheeled device that has a floorboard designed to be stood upon when riding that is not greater than 60 inches deep and 18 inches wide, is designed to transport only one person, and has an electric propulsion system averaging less than 1,000 watts, the maximum speed of which, when powered solely by a propulsion system on a paved level surface, is no more than 20 miles per hour. The device may be designed to also be powered by human propulsion.” a “Hover Board” falls within this definition.
The following are provisions set within the CVC regulating EMBs. Each is a section of the Vehicle Code.
21291. EMB’s may only be operated by someone 16 years of age or older.
21292. No EMB operation on roads, bikeways, sidewalks, bicycle paths, etc without a helmet.
21293. EMBs operating on public streets, paths or trails, at night must be equipped with the following: a) lamp emitting white light which illuminates the area in front of the EMB, visible from 300′ away (this may be attached to the operator ); b) a red reflector on the rear that is visible from 500′ away (this may be attached to the operator ); and c) white or yellow reflector on each side visible from 200 feet away (this may be attached to the operator ).
21294. EMB’s can only be operated on roadways with a speed limit 35 miles or less unless it is operated entirely within a designated Class II or Class IV bikeway. A person shall not operate an electrically motorized board upon a highway, bikeway, or any other public bicycle path, sidewalk, or trail, at a speed in excess of 15 miles per hour.
Notwithstanding the previous 35 mile per hour restriction, EMBs can not be operated at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, pedestrian and vehicular traffic, and the surface and width of the highway, bikeway, public bicycle path, sidewalk, or trail, and in no event at a speed that endangers the safety of any person or property.
21296. Makes it unlawful for operation of an EMB while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or any drug, or under their combined influence.
Section 21960 authorizes the Department of Transportation, as well as local and county governments, to enact further regulations applicable to their jurisdiction.
So Craig, that’s the Dealeo. With every new technology comes a new set of problems and a new set of laws to address them I can tell you these problems are real: my office has been contacted by several people injured on, or by, these EMB’s. If you or someone you know has been injured by an EMB, you should reach out to a Trial Lawyer, like myself, to advise you of your rights.