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Electric Skateboards In Bike Lanes? It Could Happen...

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Assembly Minority Leader Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) and Asm. Mark Stone (D-Santa Cruz) try riding electric skateboards outside the state Capitol Monday.

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

The market for electric skateboards is growing – but it’s against California law to ride them.
A bill at the state Capitol would change that – and even allow them in bike lanes.

There’s nothing quite like seeing a California lawmaker – dressed up – learning to ride an electric skateboard in front of the state Capitol.

“I can do a three-point turn – just not a tight turn,” says Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen, testing one out. Her bill would allow motorized skateboards to be ridden wherever bicycles are ridden – including bike lanes.

“Bicycles are used not only for recreational purposes but for commuting – to work, to the grocery store, what have you. And these are designed for very much the same purposes. So we thought it would make sense to imitate laws that surround bicycle use for these electrically-motorized skateboards,” Olsen says.

“You’re going next to similar vehicles going similar speeds – the similar use case. Too far to walk, too short to drive – that’s really the sweet spot for bikes, for electric skateboards. So I think putting them all in the same area makes a lot of sense.” says Ben Forman, the co-founder of a company that manufactures electric skateboards.

The California Bicycle Coalition says it wants to ensure bike lanes don’t get too crowded – but other than that, it likes the idea.

The bill’s first committee hearing is set for early next week.

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio