Are Electric Skateboards Legal?
Can you ride an electric skateboard in Canada without being ticketed? From our experience, the answer is an overwhelming YES. As long as you are respecting the rules of the road and not causing trouble and dangerous situations for drivers, you will not have an issue.
Shaboardz has been in business for two and a half years now and during that time we’ve had many potential customers reach out and ask us: “are electric skateboards legal” and wonder if they’ll be ticketed by police.
Technically, it’s a grey area – similar to how selling and consuming cannabis was a gray area before it became legalized in Canada. Remember how there were gray area pot shops on every street corner in Vancouver and Canada that were seemingly allowed to operate? Similar to those days, electric skateboarders are allowed to ride! We ride and see others ride on the daily – we personally don’t know a single person who has gotten ticketed in our years in business.
Most of the time, the people reaching out reference one article that was written in 2017 about someone who received a $600 ticket while riding an electric skateboard in Vancouver.
The date & media pessimism
First, we must consider the date – July 2017 – this was four and a half years ago. I think we can all agree that Vancouver and Canada have changed a lot since that time. Second, we must consider the fact that this is one article; one bad story; one blemish on riding electric skateboards.
The fact that the only bad story you can find is from four and a half years ago, really says something – there aren’t a lot of bad stories out there. If you have to go back nearly five years – literally digging up the past – to find one negative story, it tells us that there is more good happening than bad. It also tells us that the media tends to focus on and amplify negative stories, opposed to positive stories.
We must also take into account what type of day the police officer who issued the ticket was having that day. Let’s think about how many other police and by-law officers have seen people riding and commuting on electric skateboards since this incident but haven’t given out tickets. Was this officer taking personal issues to work that day? Definitely a possibility. We all know what it’s like to have a bad day.
Our experience with law enforcement
Like we mentioned at the beginning of this article; we’ve been in business for two and a half years now. During that time, we’ve been riding our electric boards on streets, trails, bikeways and everywhere in between. Guess what? We haven’t had one negative interaction with an officer in over nine hundred days of business and commuting on an e-board.
This goes for our customers, as well. None of our customers have received tickets or had any negative interactions with officers. That’s a large sample size! We’ve sold hundreds of boards in every single province across Canada – except PEI – and there have been no tickets issued to any of our customers. No customer has ever reached out to us and told us of a negative interaction with an officer.
We started out in Kelowna in 2019. We tested and used our boards for commuting through the busy downtown streets. We passed officers and rode amongst vehicle traffic and in bike lanes. We never had an issue.
Check out this video of us riding in Vancouver:
We’ve since moved operations to the greater Vancouver area and have been riding even more than we did before. We frequent the streets of downtown Vancouver, Kitsilano and North Vancouver. We have never had an issue with any officers.
The personal electric vehicle scene in Vancouver is HUGE! You can’t drive/walk down a street without seeing an e-bike, e-scooter, or e-board. If you talk to the people commuting on these PEV’s they’ll give you the same story – there’s nothing to worry about! If you’re shy and don’t talk to strangers, well let’s ask Mahyar, with Vancouver ESK8 about his experiences riding and commuting on electric skateboards in the Greater Vancouver area.
You could call Mahyar Saeedi a first mover when it comes to the electric skateboard scene in Vancouver and for that case, Canada. He bought a Boosted board back in 2016 and has been riding and commuting the streets of Coquitlam and greater Vancouver ever since.
Shortly after Mahyar bought his first electric board, he started a Boosted board riders’ group in Vancouver. His group rides started with an average of 10 people showing up. Mahyar started to realize that there were a lot more than just Boosted boards out there – the PEV scene in the Greater Vancouver area was much bigger than he imagined and included e-bikes and e-scooters too. The group name was changed to Vancouver Esk8 and people who rode other PEV’s were invited to join along on the rides.
It’s been a long road since Mahyar first started the group and got involved in the scene. He’s been organizing group rides every year, since the early days in 2016 and the group has grown at a rapid pace. In fact, it’s one of the fastest growing e-skate groups in the world. Vancouver ESK8 hosted multiple group rides in the summer of 2021 with upwards of one hundred participants! Their biggest ride yet took place in Downtown Vancouver on a busy Friday night. Check out video footage from that ride:
Vancouver Esk8 is the official PEV and e-ride group in the Greater Vancouver area, with people from all over Canada and states in the Pacific Northwest coming to join in on their rides. They host massive group rides throughout the lower Mainland from Spring to Fall.
Mahyar has witnessed the size of the PEV community grow, just like his group rides. I had a chance to hear Mahyar’s story this year, after we met. We talked about his experience (or lack of experience) with the police.
He told me he’s never had any trouble with the police, since he bought his board over 5 years ago. When asked if he has ever heard of anyone being ticketed or getting in trouble on an electric skateboard, he referenced the same incident in Vancouver that was overhyped by the media. This is the only negative interaction he has heard of in his years of experience riding and commuting on an electric skateboard.
Mahyar and Vancouver Esk8 did have one interaction with police, but it was far from negative. After being reported during one of their group rides, the police were waiting for the group on bicycles. When the police and the e-skate group met, Mahyar educated the officers on their group, their boards, and the fun they were having on their ride that evening. He even offered them to get on the board and take it for a ride.
With proper communication and education about the situation, the police realized that these people riding electric skateboards weren’t criminals and their boards weren’t dangerous – they weren’t causing any trouble and didn’t need to be ticketed. They weren’t ticketed. The group was allowed to leave without any trouble.
At the end of the day, Mahyar says
“It’s all about educating people and getting as many people as possible to spread the word about our group and other groups like ours throughout the world, so the PEV movement can continue to grow, and the majority of people are accepting of PEV usage in their communities.” Mahyar
We have a lot of people and members within our group who continue to promote events and make them bigger and better each year. Some include PEV store owners and others are just regular people who have found something they really enjoy that connects them with a community of like-minded people and at the end of the day I think that’s what it’s all about.
Even though I started this group, there are now close to 10 people working with Vancouver Esk8 and we have over 600 members! In the future those numbers will grow just like the size of our group rides and the PEV community as a whole. I’m extremely happy with what we’ve created and excited about the future.”
This is some first-hand experience from an early-mover on the e-skate scene who has been organizing massive group rides in communities throughout the lower Mainland for 5 years now. He hasn’t had trouble with the law, he doesn’t know anyone who has been in trouble with the law and the local communities are accepting of the group rides.
Check out Vancouver ESK8 on Facebook and Instagram: @Vancouver Esk8
Pilot program in British Columbia
On April 5, 2021, the Province of British Columbia launched the “Electric Kick Scooter Pilot Project”. This Pilot project allows the use of electric scooters on roads within the communities/cities participating in the pilot project.
The cities participating in the pilot project include Kelowna, Nanaimo, North Vancouver, Richmond, Vancouver, Vernon, and West Vancouver. The project “provides an opportunity for participating communities and the B.C. government to research, test and evaluate the safety and efficiency of electric kick scooters in supporting expanded active transportation networks and Clean BC.”
Read more about the project here:
Although this project only focuses on electric scooters and doesn’t mention electric skateboards, what does this tell us?
It tells us that there’s a growing use-case for personal electric vehicles in our communities and cities. We’re going to assume that the only reason electric skateboards aren’t included in this project is because they aren’t as popular or as mainstream as electric scooters. The government is prioritizing what is being used by the public the most.
The first PEV’s that received attention and regulations from municipalities and government were electric bikes.
Why were electric bikes first?
Because they have the highest use-case. A higher percentage of our population uses bikes. More people ride electric bikes, compared to scooters, skateboards, etc.
Why were electric scooters second?
Electric scooters come in second when it comes to PEV popularity. This means electric scooters were second in line to receive regulation and a pilot project. More people ride electric scooters, compared to riders of electric skateboards.
Electric skateboards third in line?
We think so. It’s only a matter of time until electric skateboards receive the same recognition and are mentioned in their own pilot project by local municipalities and governments.
Does it really matter?
- If thousands of people in our communities are already commuting and riding electric skateboards
- If the overwhelming majority of police and by-law officers DO NOT give out tickets or care to waste their time ticketing something that will soon be legal
Does it really matter if electric-skateboard-use has been clearly defined by an elected official in your community?
We’re going to give an emphatic NO –
It’s already happening!
So far in this article you’ve heard from two people with years of experience commuting throughout cities on electric skateboards. So, with all of the first-hand evidence and stories we’ve provided for you, we’re convinced that anyone riding an electric skateboard in Canada in a safe and respectful manner won’t receive a ticket or get in any type of trouble.
Most of the evidence in this article refers to our experience in two cities in British Columbia. However, we’ll remind you that we’ve sold hundreds of boards throughout Canada and have yet to hear of a ticket being issued to any of our customers or a negative interaction with any type of officer. With our experiences, along with our customers throughout Canada, we’re going to assume that the rest of Canada is a lot like Kelowna and Vancouver.
If you don’t want to take our word for it, we implore you to check out local PEV groups in your area! The space is growing at such a fast rate that there are groups dedicated to holding events and rides on a weekly to monthly basis. These groups are popping up in every corner of Canada and the world. Get involved in the community and reach out and ask these people about their personal experiences riding electric skateboards and other PEV’s in your community.
Progress toward a greener future and what it means for electric skateboards
Day-by-day the world is changing. One of the things that is changing the most is how we get from point A to B and the vehicles we use for transportation. Governments are starting to accept that climate change is a real issue and are looking for solutions.
They’re becoming more accepting of alternate forms of transportation. Check out this quote we found on the Province of BC’s website: “The CleanBC Go Electric program is intended to encourage and accelerate the adoption of zero-emission vehicles (ZEV’s) in B.C. for their environmental and economic benefits.”
The term zero-emission vehicles is referring to roadway vehicles, like cars and trucks. However, PEV’s like electric skateboards fit the definition – they don’t produce emissions.
This quote tells a lot about the direction our Province, our Country and the world is headed. The future is electric. A greater portion of the population is beginning to realize this and are accepting of change.
With the growth and progress in the electric vehicle and personal electric vehicle industry it’s hard to imagine that electric skateboards and longboards would somehow be outlawed or banned, when all other EV’s/ PEV’s are allowed.
So, although electric-skateboard-use isn’t technically outlined or defined by government, there’s an undeniable number of factors that signal acceptance and future programs in the not-so-distant future.
*Read more about the progress being made toward a greener future in British Columbia here:
The evidence is overwhelming – police and cities throughout Canada are accepting of electric skateboard and PEV usage in their cities. If they, weren’t we would hear of many more negative cases.
As long as you respect the rules of the road and do not create dangerous situations for yourself and drivers, you don’t have to worry about tickets or fines.
Take it from Shaboardz; take it from our customers; take it from Vancouver ESK8; take it from people in your local PEV group – you won’t get in trouble for riding an electric skateboard.
Take in the big picture – the growth in the industry; the government acceptance of PEV’s; the positive stories from riders.
If the evidence we’ve presented here isn’t enough for you, how about this: if you buy an electric skateboard from Shaboardz and you get a ticket and no longer want your board – we’ll give you a full refund. Just provide us with a copy of the ticket, we’ll confirm it’s legit and refund you every penny.