CABO opposes AB 2054, Electric Skateboards
The California Association of Bicycling Organizations, the association of California’s bicycle clubs, respectfully opposes AB 2054, as amended February 20. While we endorse the use of alternative transportation such as electric skateboards, the ideas here are not fully worked out.
As introduced, the bill expressed the Legislature’s intent to define “electric motorized skateboard.” But that has not been done (though the term “electric” has expanded to “electrically”). The bill should probably begin with a definition of “skateboard,” as part of the Vehicle Code’s Definitions division—perhaps something along the lines of “a device for riding upon while standing, consisting of a short piece of wood, plastic, or metal mounted on roller-skate wheels, and having no seat or handlebars” (possibly specifying the size, number, or arrangement of the wheels). “Electric motorized skateboard” could then be a type of skateboard that has the properties described on p. 3 of the bill. The insurance disclaimer also belongs logically with this definition (as with the current definitions of “motorized bicycle” and “motorized scooter” in Vehicle Code §§406 and 407.5, and the proposed definition in AB 2173 (Bradford) of “low-speed electric bicycle”). It doesn’t fit under the Rules of the Road division.
But these are technicalities. The substance of the bill leaves many questions unanswered. How can electric motorized skateboards be a practical means of transportation if they’re permitted in bike lanes, but not on roadways? What does the rider do when the bike lane ends (or before it begins), or to turn onto a street without bike lanes? What are the operating characteristics of electric motorized skateboards: For instance, can they maneuver and stop quickly enough for street use? What are the consequences of shared use with pedestrians and equestrians on hiking and recreational trails?
What about lighting requirements at night? Are operators subject to vehicle registration, operator licensing, or helmet requirements? For comparison, see §24016 for the corresponding regulations for electric bicycles.
We would like to see these issues addressed so we can evaluate electrically motorized skateboards on their merits.