New California Laws 2016

Hundreds of new California laws took effect on Jan. 1. Capital Public Radio looked at the tangible impacts of these laws on the lives of Californians.

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New Laws Open New Paths To Electric Bikes and Skateboards

 Kārlis Dambrāns/Flickr

The gears of an electric bike.

Kārlis Dambrāns/Flickr

This story is part of Capital Public Radio's series on new California laws that take effect on Jan. 1, 2016.

Electric bike and skateboard riders will have new access to California roads in 2016, as well as new requirements.

A 1970s law barred the era’s loud and gas-powered motorized skateboards from public roads. Today’s quiet, electric skateboards have technically fallen under that ban.

Jessica Gonzalez with the Department of Motor Vehicles says California is trying to catch up with emerging modes of transportation.

"We’re seeing new types of technology out on the road ways to make it easier for people to get around, and so new laws had to be created for them," says Gonzalez.

Starting January 1st, electric skateboard riders can use public roads and sidewalks, if they’re over the age of 16, wearing helmets and sober. Electric bikes will similarly be allowed on bike paths.

Cities and counties can also pass local ordinances to restrict the vehicles.

Under another new law, “beer bikes” — which  allow up to 15 people to pedal from bar to bar — are now regulated as a type of pedicab.

Even those not riding electric vehicles may see questions about the road rules for them on future driving tests.

The DMV lists the following laws that will create new rules for drivers on January 1st: