Learn more about the UK’s eskate laws. eSkate Hub explains which areas electric skateboards can be legally used.
You might have hopped from one website to another trying to find out whether electric skateboards were legal in the UK. But, you will soon discover that nobody really knows what is happening and all they can say is “you’ll be fine so long as you don’t ride like an idiot.”
I understand your pain. I came across websites and websites full of excuses for why you shouldn’t ride an electric skateboard, despite the fact that there are no laws in the UK regarding eskate. There was also no evidence to support these claims.
To understand the situation better, I did some digging and looked at the UK’s laws and government websites.
If you are interested in purchasing an electric skateboard after reading the electric skateboard laws, make sure you visit the UK to see which eboard is the best for you.
Is electric skateboarding legal in the UK?
The short answer to this question is no. Technically speaking, your electric skateboard is not permitted to be used on roads or footpaths in England, Scotland, and Wales.
There is good news. The UK announced on the 9th of May 2020 that they would be testing e-scooter regulations in all parts of the UK starting next year.
This means that you can ride your electric scooter on public roads or paths starting in June.
Although the rules that escooter riders must follow are not yet clear, more information will soon be available.
What does this all mean for electric skateboard laws in the United States?
It’s still unknown if electric skateboards or EUCs will be included in this trial. It’s great news if so. If not, it’s still very encouraging for the Personal Electric Vehicle community.
These trials will continue, but it is important that we, as eskaters, act as role models. Safe riding involves wearing a helmet, giving way to pedestrians and cars, being respectful of other road users, and following all road rules.
This will increase our chances of legalizing electric skateboards within the next few years.
It is actually quite fascinating to see why electric skating laws have remained so grey for so many years.
It’s mostly because of the Highway Act 1835.
The act prohibits electric skateboards from being ridden on footpaths. It states that “carriage” (a broad term that includes anything that transports something or someone) can’t ride on footpaths intended for pedestrians. This is a complete no-go.
The footpath is not only prohibited from electric skateboards or electric scooters, but also bicycles are strictly prohibited. It begs the question: What about regular skateboards or scooters? Technically, they can’t be ridden on footpaths, but the police struggle to enforce this.
The UK still operates on legislation written more than 150 years ago. To put it in perspective, cars weren’t popularized until 1886. This is 31 years after Highway Act 1835 was published. You can still find information about the laws that govern horse and cart.
It’s easy to see why modern-day people, including law enforcement personnel, are having trouble using the Act as their governing legislation.
Let’s not forget about all that. We can now look at a more rational and better approach to regulation of electric skateboarding in the UK.
You must register your motor vehicle to be able to drive it on roads. Also, you need insurance and pay a vehicle tax. You will also need a valid driver’s license to drive it on the roads.
An electric skateboard could be considered a motor vehicle since it is self-propelled using a motor.
A motor vehicle must be registered in the UK according to minimum safety and design requirements. Unfortunately, electric skateboards don’t meet these requirements.
We can all agree that we as eskaters don’t want to be classified in the same way as cars because of the different ways we use them.
An electric skateboard can be used in the same way as an electric bicycle. It is used primarily for weekend rides or commutes.
Electric bikes or, more precisely, electrically assisted pedal cycle (EAPCs), have the same road rules and regulations as regular bicycles.
A license is not required, registration is not required and there’s no tax to pay.
It would be wonderful to have electric skateboards granted the same privileges that EAPCs. This seems the best logical decision.
People are searching for alternatives to cars, buses, and trains. Peak hour traffic can be a nightmare, and nobody wants to sit on crowded public transport like sardines.
Although bicycles are great, not everyone is keen to ride them to work. EAPCs are a great alternative.
EAPCs can be used to transport electric skateboards or scooters. They take up much less space than bikes, which makes them a viable option. This is a personal preference.
The UK eskate community has done a lot to change the laws and allow electric skateboards and other personal electrical vehicles.
Lee Wright, who owns an eSkate YouTube channel and is a leader member of Carve UK, It’s Electric and other organizations, talked to me about the experience with the police and what it’s like to ride an electric skateboard in the UK.
“Well, thankfully, the police are almost not interested in Electric Skateboards in general. We were only mentioned in the media and in public communications by the government until there were a few high-profile incidents involving Electric Scooters. We have had some interactions with the Police in London since then, but we generally find that the police are more interested in riding on the pavement and safely than we are. One of our riders was charged with “riding on footway motor vehicles”. He decided to go to court instead of paying the PS50 fine. There had been one previous case in which someone was charged with riding an electric skateboard. However, the prosecution collapsed and the case was dismissed. This made us all happy. Carve UK promotes safe riding, wearing protective gear and riding with courtesy. As long as everyone follows this simple code of conduct, we are generally able to fly under the radar.
Even though electric skateboarding is illegal, police don’t usually bother you if your ride is safe and courteous.
According to the eskater community, the UK government is trying to make laws that allow eskaters riding in public areas.
Lee was kind enough to answer my questions about the future of eskate law.
“If I’m honest, bleak. With so many new things, the temptation is to clamp down. TFL’s pressure on the government means that I expect regulation that restricts power/speed and places for riding. However, I believe that once the rules are mainstreamed, they will be relaxed. In the next few years, I think we could be in for a wild ride.
The laws that govern electric skateboard riding will be quite restrictive at first. This means that you won’t be allowed to ride on certain roads, and safety gear will be mandatory.
Lee says that as eskating becomes more popular and people ride sensibly, the laws may change.
This is a good start in making electric skateboards legalized in the UK.
This is the law of eskating for future and current eskaters in the UK. It’s gray. You have to decide if you want to ride.
One officer is all it takes to have a bad day, to not follow the rules and to impose a fine or take your eboard away.
However, the vast majority will not be bothered by you riding safely and courteously with lights, wearing a helmet, and keeping your eyes on the road.
This article will be updated if the laws change for the better or worse. Follow me on Instagram and Facebook to stay up-to-date.