Jump to content
Kens

California's Law for Electric Unicycle

Recommended Posts

The sudden floods of electric scooters around the country raises awareness and skepticism for personal electric vehicle that is convenient, cheap, and fun. Unfortunately, there are many people that ride with lack of common decency that create bad image for any personal electric vehicle (including our EUC). Now states and cities are scrambling to regulate them. People now can be stopped and received tickets from the police for riding electric scooter if breaking states or local law.

My intention for this topic is to compile information regarding any California State and cities law that affect our beloved electric unicycle so in the case of encounter with the law, we will know our rights. Hopefully I will be able to keep updating this first post when more law affecting our unicycle are discovered and / or new law passed. So please discuss below if anyone have new information or correction. Any information will be greatly appreciated. :cheers:

Disclaimers: I’m not a lawyer and the following information should not be considered legal advice.
I will not liable for any legal misfortune that might come up from using this information.

 

As for as I know, there is not any federal law regulating electric unicycle so this is for California and cities inside California only.

California Vehicle Code (CVC) can be viewed on: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codesTOCSelected.xhtml?tocCode=VEH&tocTitle=+Vehicle+Code+-+VEH

 

Definition

Let’s start with definition!

@Marty Backe introduced me to Assembly Bill No. 604 (AB-604).

 

California Vehicle Code 313.5

An “electrically motorized board” is any wheeled device that has a floorboard designed to be stood upon when riding that is not greater than 60 inches deep and 18 inches wide, is designed to transport only one person, and has an electric propulsion system averaging less than 1,000 watts, the maximum speed of which, when powered solely by a propulsion system on a paved level surface, is no more than 20 miles per hour. The device may be designed to also be powered by human propulsion.

 

Electric Unicycle that currently sold by ewheels.com and meet this definition are: IPS a130, KS14D/S, InMotion V8 (Solowheel Glide 3).

CA Laws and Regulations

Summary

  • Any PEV that have e-motor averaging more than 1,000 watts or have max speed of 20 mph are illegal by definition (313.5 CVC)
  • Must be 16 years old to ride. No driver licence required (21291 CVC)
  • Must wear bicycle helmet or higher (21292 CVC)
  • Can only ride on street that have speed limit of 35 mph or less (21294(a) CVC)
  • Max speed limit is 15 mph (21294(b) CVC)
  • DUI law applied when riding (21296 CVC)
  • Required proper equipment and lights / reflector when riding at night (more of this below) (21293(a)(b)(c)(d) CVC)

I made a one page summary compilation on the CA law regarding Electrically Motorized Board:

twvE0LI.jpg

Download or print: http://bit.ly/2F8aIA5

Use this summary as last resort only!

Full law regulating electrically motorized board can be found here:

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?lawCode=VEH&division=11.&title=&part=&chapter=1.&article=7.

 

City Laws

I’m afraid that our EUC will be mostly mistaken for electric scooter so anywhere that electric scooter are not allowed will increased the change of us getting stopped by law enforcement.

  • LOS ANGELES

New LAPD E-Scooter Enforcement Task Force NA19114ti created on 8/22/19 especially to enforce E-Scooters' Law (Thanks @chroma https://forum.electricunicycle.org/topic/15336-lapd-new-task-force/)

Santa Monica

https://www.santamonica.com/how-to-safely-scooter-in-santa-monica/

  • Motorized scooters must be driven on the road or in bike lanes, never on the sidewalk. Follow traffic rules and watch for obstructions and potholes. Scooters cannot be parked on the sidewalk in the way of pedestrian traffic.
  • Motorized scooters may not be driven on beach bike paths, Santa Monica Pier, Third Street Promenade, Ocean Front Walk or in municipal parks, including Palisades Park.

Police are stopping people riding electric scooter on the bike path between Santa Monica Beach and Venice Beach.

Venice Beach

According to this article, PEV may be ridden on the beach bike path: https://jalopnik.com/i-rode-all-the-e-scooters-most-of-them-are-awful-excep-1835373127

SAN DIEGO

Starting 09/13/19 you must walk your EUC on sidewalk and public plaza (SDMC 84.12) or can be cited by SDPD.

Stay away from Mission Beach and Ocean Front Walk. See SDMC 84.12(b) for more information.

Thanks @Flyboy10 & @Elder Meat

SAN FRANCISCO

Angel Island State Park

EUC are banned from the island according to the park ranger. (Thanks @scubadragosan)

 

Edit history:

06/13/19: Added summary section

08/23/19: Added LAPD E-Scooter Enforcement Task Force news @chroma

09/09/19: Added Angel Island legality @scubadragosan

09/13/19: Added San Diego Sections @Flyboy10 @Elder Meat

Edited by Kens

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cities have their own regulations with regards to our ability to ride on sidewalks as well, although I’m not cutting/pasting the actual statutes, it’s good to be aware and know where you ride.  LA is fine with us riding on sidewalks as long as we aren’t being wreck less and endangering others.  West Hollywood is the same except you can’t ride on sidewalks of roads that have designated bike lanes. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Kens

Does this 21968 CVC mean that "e-Skateboards" are -allready- not allowed???

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the information! I'm currently on vacation and I've been riding a few Onewheels that we rented with my family in Los Angeles and Orange County. Next we go to San Diego. I've seen signs prohibiting this and that, but it's hard to know if it applies to what I'm riding. I always try to be as respectful as I can where ever I ride. I always smile and wave to park officials and police and have yet run into any issues.

Where I'm from in Denver, they are looking into PEVs including my beloved EUC and Onewheel in their parks and trails and trying to decide what to do with them. Here's a video recently made on the topic. I do believe that as these thing become banned or accepted in large cities, other communities will follow suit.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't leave out Eddy Moy's famous alibi: the American Disability Act.  I and my wife are both seniors--60 and 68. If we ever get stopped by cops for riding our EUCs on sidewalks or anywhere.. Checkout his link below. Of course, Eddy is not a senior, but this Alibi is supposed to work under most circumstances since the EUC riders don't have to tell the cops of their medical conditions and cops are not supposed to ask. Cops have to take your words at face value.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@kens If you're going to carry a printout, be sure to include the published specs for your EUC to show that it does not meet the definition of an "electrically motorized board" and therefore those vehicle codes don't apply. More specifically, both the Z10 and ACMv2 can go faster than 20mph and their motors are bigger than 1000 watts. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Kens I don't really understand US law. But just toss a question up in the air...

Since most EUCs can ride more that 20mph and most (modern) have motor that is higher than 1000watts by close fit is not the same as complying with a regulation or law. So you might need to take into consideration? 

Secondly, this is why we are having issues in many EU countries, if the is nothing in regulation or law that your vehicle fits chances/risk is very high you are not allowed to use this in public areas (roads, bike lanes, pedestrian areas). 

Someone might claim ignorance... But it doesn't work in a lawsuit... (I don’t know I cannot drive 200 mph here as I see no sign stateing so)... or at lease not my any EU law/country I know off. 

I know things work (maybe) different in the US law system. 

Here in Sweden law state self balancing vehicle is classes as a bicycle as long it only goes by  up to 20kph and I seem to recall something about weight limitation of 25kg. If it can go faster then you can apply to register as an e-moped alloving upto 45kph. 

Again our laws limits us a lot. So I do think you advised not to draw too much attention with bad riding habits, is your best approach for most. 

Anyway all I hope is we all can enjoy our EUC without anyone's "bad ride style" labels us in same class as reckless annoying escoothers. IMHO that would best for most of us.

It is soooo or rather too easy to get a ban since most laws preserve conservative status and takes long time to influence for a change. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Dzlchef said:

Cities have their own regulations with regards to our ability to ride on sidewalks as well, although I’m not cutting/pasting the actual statutes, it’s good to be aware and know where you ride.  LA is fine with us riding on sidewalks as long as we aren’t being wreck less and endangering others.  West Hollywood is the same except you can’t ride on sidewalks of roads that have designated bike lanes. 

I agree that not being wreckless and endangering others is the most important thing. However just for clarification purposes, did you see a sign or law that said you can’t ride on sidewalks that have designated bike lanes?

1 hour ago, US69 said:

@Kens

Does this 21968 CVC mean that "e-Skateboards" are -allready- not allowed???

 

It's still really gray about that. I just put that in my paper just to further distinct us from e-skateboard.

Fun fact: AB-604 were lobbied by Z-Board, an electric skateboard company. All of their board have max speed of 20mph which makes them legal and other high performance wheel illegal. AB-604 supposed to legalize electric skateboard but the wording motorized is still confusing.

1 hour ago, scubadragosan said:

Don't leave out Eddy Moy's famous alibi: the American Disability Act.  I and my wife are both seniors--60 and 68. If we ever get stopped by cops for riding our EUCs on sidewalks or anywhere.. Checkout his link below. Of course, Eddy is not a senior, but this Alibi is supposed to work under most circumstances since the EUC riders don't have to tell the cops of their medical conditions and cops are not supposed to ask. Cops have to take your words at face value

Yes I seen that video before. It's amazing how he can pulled that off :lol:

I haven't looked into the law itself but I will add it to the main post later as another options..

36 minutes ago, Elder Meat said:

@kens If you're going to carry a printout, be sure to include the published specs for your EUC to show that it does not meet the definition of an "electrically motorized board" and therefore those vehicle codes don't apply. More specifically, both the Z10 and ACMv2 can go faster than 20mph and their motors are bigger than 1000 watts. 

Well I'm always riding my Luffy which will qualify :lol:

But it's true that most of mid to high performance wheel is out of this category which is my intention to make people aware off. But there's a lot of grey area here like what if we set the tilt back setting at 19mph? Will it qualify?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Unventor said:

Again our laws limits us a lot. So I do think you advised not to draw too much attention with bad riding habits, is your best approach for most. 

Anyway all I hope is we all can enjoy our EUC without anyone's "bad ride style" labels us in same class as reckless annoying escoothers. IMHO that would best for most of us.

It is soooo or rather too easy to get a ban since most laws preserve conservative status and takes long time to influence for a change. 

This.. cannot agree more than this.. :cheers:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Kens said:

But there's a lot of grey area here like what if we set the tilt back setting at 19mph? Will it qualify?

@Henrik Olsen post about government screwed over EUC community in Denmark a little while back, was trigger by a change to come. That the option to go faster, despite being limited, means it is illegal. This how mopeds had been regulated in Denmark for very long time (50 years back).

The odd part here they didn't make same approach to cars and motorcycles. 

Again that is how traffic law and regulations works in Denmark. 

It all have hint of Shakespeare over it... Something rotten... 😒

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, US69 said:

@Kens

Does this 21968 CVC mean that "e-Skateboards" are -allready- not allowed???

No it doesn't. When California law refers to "motorized skateboards" it is referring to gas-powered skateboards (outlawed here in the late '70s, before my time, but yes, they were apparently a thing). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, who_the said:

No it doesn't. When California law refers to "motorized skateboards" it is referring to gas-powered skateboards (outlawed here in the late '70s, before my time, but yes, they were apparently a thing). 

And apparently you are right.. and they still sell them:

cover.jpg

OK so we can use e-skateboard whatever electrically motorized board allowed as long it does not have top speed more than 20mph.

This also clear all OneWheel in Cali then :clap3:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You US guys are so lucky...really!

Hope that stays that way!!! which to be honest, -over longtime- i cant believe, seeing the actual US demand/market going to 70/80kmh EUCs...faster and faster and all more clothed like a motorbike rider. I would think that this brings up lawmakers sooner or later?

(but i really have no sense for US legislation!?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The pursuit of happiness" covers a lot of legal ground we're thankful for! I agree with the OP that unsafe, irresponsible riding, particularly if it hurts someone, is about the worst thing we can happen. I suspect we might differ on what that type of riding looks like, but in any case, it is incumbent on each of us to ride safely and in a way that, whenever possible, offers outsiders positive experiences and interactions with EUC, especially that first time. 

Legal liability is a significant issue under the US system. Right now, according to my research, it's not possible to buy liability insurance specifically for electric vehicles. I have tried. As it currently stands, holders of homeowners or renters insurance generally have some protection, and an umbrella policy can offer more. 

As for licensing, I think there ultimately will exist a new class of electric vehicles that will require licenses to operate, somewhere above electric bicycles but below motorcycles, perhaps 50 mph vehicles. I also think there would continue to exist a class of unlicensed vehicles, but how those divisions are made remain to be seen. Let's enjoy things while they last and not mess things up!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, who_the said:

"The pursuit of happiness" covers a lot of legal ground we're thankful for! I agree with the OP that unsafe, irresponsible riding, particularly if it hurts someone, is about the worst thing we can happen. I suspect we might differ on what that type of riding looks like, but in any case, it is incumbent on each of us to ride safely and in a way that, whenever possible, offers outsiders positive experiences and interactions with EUC, especially that first time. 

I feel that there's a pool of general perception about EUC. Right now we are kinda pulled down by the e scooter nuisance hence the general negativity. I think I'm gonna try to top more for people that curious or at least give a friendly waves instead of ignoring them. Gives them the 'oh that's so cool!' instead of the ' tsk those rascal are everywhere now' vibes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since we have pedals on eucs and not a Board, I am pretty sure we fit into Pedal assisted e-bikes and thats what I am calling them. I will also use @eddiemoy ‘s American with Disabilities act excuse as the loophole that allows these in the pedal assisted Bicycle category. Since the unicycle is a balance assist by using the pedals vehicle even without the motor in it , it is still a pedal assist vehicle with the balancing motor for the pedals.

There should be a liability lawsuit against the City or State for even restricting the safety power of a self balancing vehicle to under 1000watts if that is to be their position on our vehicles. So thats another loophole we should pursue as well. Civic govts are usually very easy to beat in liability type lawsuits. There are a ton of lawyers who specialize in this arena and make a very healthy living off of it. They also need to do pro bono hours to keep their law licenses. Its usually best to do this before an election so the idea that the City or State is seeking harm for its citizens will be a more receptive message for us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, Stan Onymous said:

Since we have pedals on eucs and not a Board, I am pretty sure we fit into Pedal assisted e-bikes and thats what I am calling them.

I can't comment for the US but UK law for e-bikes specifically states that to qualify as an e-bike the pedals have to be capable alone of propelling the machine.

Many people have tried getting around the e-bike/bicycle/pedal laws by simply adding pedals to all sorts of motorized vehicles but it never works because the laws are very clear in that the pedals have to be functional. Maybe the wording is US law is (hopefully!) better for you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Stan Onymous said:

Since we have pedals on eucs and not a Board, I am pretty sure we fit into Pedal assisted e-bikes and thats what I am calling them. I will also use @eddiemoy ‘s American with Disabilities act excuse as the loophole that allows these in the pedal assisted Bicycle category. Since the unicycle is a balance assist by using the pedals vehicle even without the motor in it , it is still a pedal assist vehicle with the balancing motor for the pedals.

Here's definition of bicycle according to CVC:

231 CVC

A bicycle is a device upon which any person may ride, propelled exclusively by human power through a belt, chain, or gears, and having one or more wheels. Persons riding bicycles are subject to the provisions of this code specified in Sections 21200 and 21200.5.

 

So by the wording I guess EUC can be passable as a bicycle because it has one wheel (weirdly). However,  you have to squint to pass the first requirement which is propelled by human power through gears(?). So human power is when you are leaning forward?? And it will power the gears inside our EUC??

 

Here's definition of electric bicycle according to CVC:

312.5 CVC

(a) An “electric bicycle” is a bicycle equipped with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts.
(1) A “class 1 electric bicycle,” or “low-speed pedal-assisted electric bicycle,” is a bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
(
2) A “class 2 electric bicycle,” or “low-speed throttle-assisted electric bicycle,” is a bicycle equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
(3) A “class 3 electric bicycle,” or “speed pedal-assisted electric bicycle,” is a bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 28 miles per hour, and equipped with a speedometer.
(b) A person riding an electric bicycle, as defined in this section, is subject to Article 4 (commencing with Section 21200) of Chapter 1 of Division 11.
(c) On and after January 1, 2017, manufacturers and distributors of electric bicycles shall apply a label that is permanently affixed, in a prominent location, to each electric bicycle. The label shall contain the classification number, top assisted speed, and motor wattage of the electric bicycle, and shall be printed in Arial font in at least 9-point type.

 

Even it passed as a bicycle it will not pass as any class of electric bicycle..

Any EUC that has electric motor of less than 750 watts will pass (a).

None of EUC can be pedaled so it will not satisfy class 1.

None of EUC can still be used without assisted by motor over 20mph so it will not satisfy class 2.

None of EUC have speedometer that will satisfy class 3.

Full website: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?lawCode=VEH&division=1.&title=&part=&chapter=&article=

 

Quote

There should be a liability lawsuit against the City or State for even restricting the safety power of a self balancing vehicle to under 1000watts if that is to be their position on our vehicles. So thats another loophole we should pursue as well. Civic govts are usually very easy to beat in liability type lawsuits. There are a ton of lawyers who specialize in this arena and make a very healthy living off of it. They also need to do pro bono hours to keep their law licenses. Its usually best to do this before an election so the idea that the City or State is seeking harm for its citizens will be a more receptive message for us.

This is interesting.. @who_the can PEVRA do something about this? :D

Edited by Kens

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Stan Onymous said:

There should be a liability lawsuit against the City or State for even restricting the safety power of a self balancing vehicle to under 1000watts if that is to be their position on our vehicles.

@Stan Onymous 313.5 CVC does not restrict self balancing vehicles to 1000 watts or 20mph. It defines "electrically motorized boards" as having less than 1000 watt motors and going less than 20mph. There's a difference. It's perfectly legal to make, sell, own or operate on public highways a EUC with a 1500 watt motor that goes faster than 20mph. It simply is not an "electrically motorized board" per California law. 

22 hours ago, who_the said:

PEVRA's legal position differs from yours, however, that 313.5 et al in California do apply to our equipment, do "define" them legally and therefore they are legal. We interpret the 20 mph "limitation" the same way as speed limits are for cars, i.e., every car on the planet (except some crappy ones I've owned) are capable of well beyond 55, 65, or even 75 mph, yet are still legally-defined vehicles in the eyes of the state.

@who_the You can interpret codes any way you want but without proper justification it doesn't make you right. 315.5 CVC clearly states "the maximum speed of which is no more than 20mph". That element is clearly part of an electrically motorized board's definition. Your car is defined as a motor vehicle in 415 CVC which says nothing about the maximum speed it can travel. Speed limits are defined in 22349 and 22350 CVC (and others) which are completely different sections that apply to all methods of transport.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Elder Meat said:

@Stan Onymous 313.5 CVC does not restrict self balancing vehicles to 1000 watts or 20mph. It defines "electrically motorized boards" as having less than 1000 watt motors and going less than 20mph. There's a difference. It's perfectly legal to make, sell, own or operate on public highways a EUC with a 1500 watt motor that goes faster than 20mph. It simply is not an "electrically motorized board" per California law. 

Yes I agree that if EUC is having more than 1k watt motor or max speed more than 20mph then it will not classified as "electrically motorized boards" anymore.

If it over 20 mph or 1k motor then what is it? :confused1:

9 minutes ago, Elder Meat said:

@who_the You can interpret codes any way you want but without proper justification it doesn't make you right. 315.5 CVC clearly states "the maximum speed of which is no more than 20mph". That element is clearly part of an electrically motorized board's definition. Your car is defined as a motor vehicle in 415 CVC which says nothing about the maximum speed it can travel. Speed limits are defined in 22349 and 22350 CVC (and others) which are completely different sections that apply to all methods of transport.

Agree and agree :thumbup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Kens said:

If it over 20 mph or 1k motor then what is it? :confused1:

Well like I have been asked many times..

...Alien... or.... Out of space... 

Unknowen rolling object of electric personal transportation : urooept....lets stick with alien, easier :w00t2:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, Elder Meat said:

 

@who_the You can interpret codes any way you want but without proper justification it doesn't make you right. 315.5 CVC clearly states "the maximum speed of which is no more than 20mph". That element is clearly part of an electrically motorized board's definition. Your car is defined as a motor vehicle in 415 CVC which says nothing about the maximum speed it can travel. Speed limits are defined in 22349 and 22350 CVC (and others) which are completely different sections that apply to all methods of transport.

I see your point and concur with your definitions and citations. Our interpretation, though, is based in part on the fact that every EUC I am aware of can easily have its maximum speed set to 20 mph to comply with 313.5.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Kens said:

Yes I agree that if EUC is having more than 1k watt motor or max speed more than 20mph then it will not classified as "electrically motorized boards" anymore.

If it over 20 mph or 1k motor then what is it? :confused1:

It's simply a "vehicle". See 670 CVC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, Elder Meat said:

It's simply a "vehicle". See 670 CVC.

So basically it's illegal to used in public road.. Unless we can find a statute that said otherwise..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...