Move over bikers, hoverboards are joining your lane

Hoverboards, increasingly popular motorized skateboards, have not only caught the attention of the public, but also that of California lawmakers. As a result, new transportation laws have been introduced, which will address the safety requirements of the new fad.

Unlike bikes or automobiles, hoverboards lie between a legitimate form of transportation and a toy, causing ambiguity with regard to where hoverboards are permitted.

For instance, Vaishnav Puri, senior, rides his hoverboard around Newbury Park and Thousand Oaks in unconventional locations. “I’ve ridden it around the mall,” Puri said. “I also went through the Taco Bell drive-through on my hoverboard.”

Hoverboard riders often fall due to a loss of balance and control, causing concern over the injuries they attain. Thus a new law regarding transportation has been created.

The new law, AB 604, which focuses on electrically motorized boards, became active as of January 1st, 2016. It requires that “Anyone using a motorized skateboard must be at least 16 years old. Operators also must wear a bicycle helmet and safety equipment for increased visibility at night. The boards can only be ridden on roads with a speed limit of 35 mph or less but must not be ridden faster than 15 mph. They must also be ridden in the bike lanes and not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Violators face fines of $250.”  

Laying down the law

Hoverboards have dominated the streets and sidewalks for the past few months, but as of Jan. 1, new laws were passed restricting where hoverboards can be used and who can ride them. Camila Wise/Pawprint


Puri agrees with the new laws. “Personally, I’ve ridden on the sidewalk before and it can be dangerous (so) I think that these laws are necessary, not only for the people riding (the hoverboard) but for other people’s safety too,” he said.

However, enforcing these laws could be difficult to do and many people doubt law enforcement would be serious about strict compliance with the new rules.

“Maybe if you break the law right in front of law enforcement you might get caught, but I don’t think they are going to go out of their way to enforce it,” Puri said.

Cole Peterson, sophomore, is also a frequent hoverboard user and agrees with the idea that hoverboard users might ignore these new rules and continue with their habits.

There’s no way I’m following (these laws), I’m not even 16 yet. You don’t always get caught, there’s not always going to be a cop rolling right around you when you’re just riding something for fun,” Peterson said.

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