Self-balancing motorized boards have many names: hoverboards, swagways, self-balancing scooters, and personal transporters. The good news for hoverboard riders is that they will now be street legal in California. Drivers should be cautious of hoverboard riders and recognize that they have rights and responsibilities on the roadways.
Southern California hoverboard riders and automobile drivers must be aware of new California law set to go into effect beginning January 1, 2016.
Here are some of the highlights of the law:
1) Hoverboard riders must be at least 16 years or older to ride on public highways/roadways.
2) Riders can only ride on public highways/roadways designated at 35 mph or less unless it the roadway has a Class II or Class IV bike lane. Sorry, still not allowed to ride on the 405 freeway during rush hour, even though it may be faster than sitting in traffic.
3) Riders cannot operate their hoverboards on a highway, bikeway, or any other public bicycle path, sidewalk, or trail, at speeds over 15 mph.
4) Department of Transportation and other local authorities restrict usage. Don’t be surprised if some of your favorite beach communities like San Clemente, Dana Point, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, and Manhattan Beach, pass regulations to restrict hoverboards on their streets.
5) Helmets will be required when riding in the streets. This should be a no brainer, pun intended.
6) If you are planning on riding on the streets at night you will need to be equipped with a lamp with a white headlights that can be seen from 300 feet in front of the hoverboard, a red reflector visible from 500 feet away when directly in front of a legal headlamp of a car, and yellow side reflectors. If your Hoverboard not equipped with the proper safety equipment, the rider can also wear the headlamp, rear and side reflectors to be street legal.
7) Operating a hoverboard on the streets while under the influence of alcoholic beverages or any drugs is expressly illegal. Don’t Drink and Hover.
8) The UC and Cal State Schools can restrict hoverboard usage on campus.
9) Hoverboards are not expressly banned from sidewalks, bikeways, bicycle paths or trail, equestrian trail, or hiking or recreational trails. However, it does not mean that riding in these areas will be allowed. You will have to check with the local laws of your town or city.
You might be wondering if you can ride your hoverboard in outdoor public places such as the Irvine Spectrum Mall? Expect that most privately owned public spaces will likely ban the use of hoverboards on their property. Having riders zipping around pedestrians can not only be an annoyance, but also can pose a serious risk of safety to others, especially in crowded areas. Mall owners will likely not want to risk being liable allowing an reasonably dangerous condition to exist for other shoppers.
If you have any questions regarding the information provided in this article, please don’t hesitate to call Gokal Law at 949-753-9100. Safe Riding!