California just legalized electric skateboards

October 13, 2015, 5:12 PM UTC
Gadget Product Shoots
A GolfBoard electric skateboard, taken on June 18, 2014. (Photo by David Caudery/T3 Magazine via Getty Images)
T3 Magazine 2014 Future Publishing

California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill on Sunday making electric skateboards legal in the state, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Who knew they were illegal? Customers who placed orders, then canceled them after doing some research, a spokesperson for electric skateboard manufacturer Intuitive Motion told WSJ. What these customers found was a law passed in 1977 that banned gas-powered skateboards from operating on the street.

Because the ban was discouraging sales, Intuitive Motion brought Kristin Olsen, a California assemblywoman from Modesto, into its facilities for a tour. The electric skateboard makers showed her that their devices are different than motorized skateboards of the past; higher-capacity batteries allow for skateboards that produce virtually no noise and no emissions, convincing Olsen to introduce the bill.

The new bill is set to go into effect on day one of 2016, but it doesn’t necessarily make electric skateboards legal everywhere in the state. Instead, it gives local governments the authority to decide whether or not to allow the technology in their individual towns.

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