CA Law, OneWheel+



  • Hi all, I'd like your interruptions / clarity on California state law in regards to riding a one wheel+ in public areas (not private property). I'm questing if the law defines a onewheel as a “electrically motorized board”. The law sates a EMB averages less than 1000watts and does not exceed 20 MPH. the motor is only 750watts but the board can exceed 20MPH, does this change the definition of the board, thus removing the current laws around the use and operation of it?

    Laws I could fine
    SECTION 1. Section 313.5 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:
    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.

    1. An electrically motorized board shall be operated only by a person who is 16 years of age or older.
    2. A person shall not operate an electrically motorized board upon a highway, bikeway, or any other public bicycle path, sidewalk, or trail, unless that person is wearing a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet that meets the standards described in Section 21212.
    3. (a) Every electrically motorized board operated upon a highway during darkness shall be equipped with all of the following:
      (1) Except as provided in subdivision (b), a lamp emitting a white light that, while the electrically motorized board is in motion, illuminates the highway in front of the operator and is visible from a distance of 300 feet in front of the electrically motorized board.
      (2) Except as provided in subdivision (c), a red reflector on the rear that is visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle.
      (3) Except as provided in subdivision (d), a white or yellow reflector on each side that is visible from a distance of 200 feet from the sides of the electrically motorized board.
      (b) A lamp or lamp combination, emitting a white light, attached to the operator and visible from a distance of 300 feet in front of the electrically motorized board, may be used in lieu of the lamp required by paragraph (1) of subdivision (a).
      (c) A red reflector, or reflectorizing material meeting the requirements of Section 25500, attached to the operator and visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle, may be used in lieu of the reflector required by paragraph (2) of subdivision (a).
      (d) A white or yellow reflector, or reflectorizing material meeting the requirements of Section 25500, attached to the operator and visible from a distance of 200 feet from the sides of the electrically motorized board, may be used in lieu of the reflector required by paragraph (3) of subdivision (a).
    4. (a) Electrically motorized boards shall only operate upon a highway designated with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour or less, unless the electrically motorized board is operated entirely within a designated Class II or Class IV bikeway.
      (b) A person shall not operate an electrically motorized board upon a highway, bikeway, or any other public bicycle path, sidewalk, or trail, at a speed in excess of 15 miles per hour.
      (c) Notwithstanding subdivision (b), a person shall not operate an electrically motorized board at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, pedestrian and vehicular traffic, and the surface and width of the highway, bikeway, public bicycle path, sidewalk, or trail, and in no event at a speed that endangers the safety of any person or property.
    5. The Commissioner of the California Highway Patrol shall submit a report to the Legislature, on or before January 1, 2021, to assist in determining the effect that the use of electrically motorized boards has on traffic safety. The report shall include detailed statewide traffic collision data involving electrically motorized boards, including property damage only, injury, and fatal traffic collisions. The report shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code. Pursuant to Section 10231.5 of the Government Code, this section is repealed on January 1, 2025.
    6. (a) It is unlawful for a person to operate an electrically motorized board upon a highway while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or any drug, or under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and any drug.
      (b) A person arrested for a violation of this section may request to have a chemical test made of his or her blood or breath for the purpose of determining the alcoholic or drug content of that person’s blood pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 23612, and, if so requested, the arresting officer shall have the test performed.
      (c) A conviction for a violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250).


  • I think the onewheel would meet all of those laws and onewheel advertises a 19mph top speed for the reason of not having legal issues. Lots of people ride them in California and nobody has issues with law enforcement that I know of. I don't think an officer would give you crow unless you seem like your drunk or have been drinking smoking whatever.



  • @OffRoadOW agree, that's been my experience thus far.



  • I don't think the board would be classified as an electric vehicle because it is not supposed to go above 20mph but people have managed to going downhill or just pushing it farther than your supposed to. And the wattage as well wouldn't make it an electric vehicle.



  • I think OW meets all of these requirements. Just get some reflective tape from OWArmor.com and you're good. The regulations all seem reasonable- wear a helmet, don't ride on the street where the cars are going over 35mph unless there is a bike lane. Stay under pushback on the sidewalk and be mindful of pedestrians.

    I would hope that a cop would be ok with me wearing a skate helmet instead of a bike helmet, and having a blue reflector on the wheel instead of white. I ridden past plenty, and none gave me a second look.



  • @IanJohnson The police officers may only say something about the helmet if you bring attention to yourself or point it out in passing. Otherwise they have other things to worry about and being a helmet police isn't one of them.



  • The police all seem to be fine with it as long as I'm not riding it places where you shouldn't ride a bicycle (like in shopping malls or train platforms).



  • I ride by cops all the time, including the Beverly Hills police station and I've never had them stop me. I generally ride a mix of street/bike lane/sidewalk depending on traffic and have had no issues at all.



  • @aaronlagomarsino don't ask for permission, rather beg for forgiveness :)



  • I think in Orange County (not certain), that onewheels would fall into the skateboard category. If you aren't allowed to skateboard in a certain area with a lot of pedestrian traffic, I would assume that you wouldn't be able to ride your onewheel there either.

    Huntington Beach Police specifically love to give tickets. Not only that, but they will probably call backup and before you know it you and your onewheel will be sitting on the curb with about 4 Police cars and and SUV lol



  • Was unofficially pursued again by another state parks officer tonight after a few harmless laps in local beach parking lot. This after riding past a few real cops passing by with no actual attention given at all after seeing me barge down the middle of the street. The usual hop off onto a small exit trail as they approach is always endlessly entertaining, just watching them stop, turn off their lights and drive off is kinda fun since it's so ridiculously harmless. Tomorrow however I think I will print some copies of AB604 and approach and distribute them directly to them. Not trying to be a butthead as I do actual respect them but I'm sure they probably have no awareness of this law.



  • @sc720 Yeah I have never had any issues with normal police; however, I get harassed by rent a cops on a regular basis. I try reason with them and explain the laws, but it almost always results in me telling them that they will 'just have to call the regular police since I am going to continue [doing whatever it is that I was doing].' Most of the time(if applicable), I will even tell the rental cops exactly where the normal cops can find me when they show up. The only time I have had a real cop actually show up was when I was having such a conversation with some rental cops and the cop rolled up on us seeing us having this discussion. The real cop asked "Are you the guy I see riding in a suit and / or with a dog on Peachtree in Buckhead all the time?" To which I responded yes, and the real cop was like "This guy is awesome!" and started telling the rent a cops about me, and then they just let me go. :P



  • @goodblake-eskate rent-a-cops. My favorite. Just ride away from 'em, what are they gonna do? Nothing :)



  • A cop got on me for going like 23 on a sidewalk, which is what he got me on the radar thing and he said if I was gunna go that fast go on the street, and where I was riding that would technically be speeding on the road... but he talked for me a bit and in conversation he just brought up the speed thing and not like anything like do you know how fast you were going and on a damn sidewalk, no that's rent a cops that will do that.


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