California Law on use of OneWheel



  • I have read some links and articles but I have not found the definitive word on how the law sees the OneWheel in California. Most people are saying that this device is considered a Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Devices (EPAMD) but Section 313 of the vehicle code defines such device.."self-balancing, nontandem two-wheeled device....... the maximum speed of which, when powered solely by a propulsion system on a paved level surface, is no more than 12.5 miles per hour"

    CA EPAMD rules:
    https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?lawCode=VEH&division=11.&title=&part=&chapter=1.&article=6.

    So, if it does not meet the legal definition in CA for a EPAMD, then what is it?

    I work in the Transportation Dept. of the city where I live, work directly with our Traffic Enforcement Police.... but also own my own OneWheels. I could ask our City Attorney, but this is more of self interest.

    Help Please. I assume OW has a legal team that has this researched.



  • @SteveSiz

    It must be 2 wheels or less. The key word is “tandem”. As there is no tandem status with a single wheel it falls within the parameters.

    In regards to speed? Burden of proof is on the,. Prove it goes faster than 12.5mph.

    It falls under the classification of an EPAMD.



  • So I have a pair of Fangs installed. Does that help with the 2 wheels definition?



  • @causticgrip No, it doesn't say "or less". "Non tandem" just means the wheels are not in line, like a bicycle. So it might include a Segway, for example. On its own section 313 does not include a OW. That's not to say there might not be another later statute somewhere else that says it applies to OWs from then on. However, look at section 313.5, which perfectly describes a OW and other boards.

    and yes I went to law school



  • @Gadgetrider nope.

    Think hoveround



  • @wheelrich it exactly includes a segue way.
    And it will not say less...it is implied. The key word is “Non-tandem”

    Meaning 2 or less, non-tandem



  • @causticgrip yes, I said includes a segway. I does NOT include a OW, because it species two wheel. There is no legal inference involved here. The wording is very specific. I have argued Calif law in court, have you? But these things routinely get amended, so it will be whatever they want it to be, eventually.



  • @SteveSiz feel your pain. I'm not in your country so can't comment on Cali regs.

    In my state of Australia, we got a revision to our regs when Lime rental scooters came along. I contacted the transport committee that was working on the regs and surprise they actually came up with some really simple and solid rules. Including descriptions like "1 or more wheels".....

    Point of the comment is this is an existing law in a developed country and you should steer your local or state authority to this as an example of clear and functional rules for them to consider for your state.

    https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/rules/wheeled-devices/personal-mobility-devices

    Couldn't hurt to let them know they are not keeping up with the rest of the world. 👍



  • @wheelrich yeah I see that...looks like Cali fucked it’s citizens yet once again...such a beautiful state...ruined by its constituents voting in its politicians with policies that ruin it entirely...



  • The Onewheel can be an "electrically motorized board" which is allowed up to 20mph on streetswith limits under 35mph, and on sidewalks so long as they are ridden in a manner safe for pedestrians up to 15mph. Cities are allowed to make their own, more restrictive rules if they want.





  • @onewheelmx yes, that's a bill from 2015, which among other things, added CVC 313.5 defining "electrically motorized boards". But you need to look up each of those changes in the actual statutes they created or amended in the Vehicle Code itself, to fully analyze them. The current California Vehicle Code can be found here:
    https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codesTOCSelected.xhtml?tocCode=VEH&tocTitle=+Vehicle+Code+-+VEH

    Some of the items in that old bill from 2015 may have been changed in the interim. Also, cross referencing of surrounding sections, other codes, and court appellate decisions can come into play. If it were as simple as looking at a bill passed 4 years ago, anyone could be a lawyer.

    Good luck with your legal analysis. BTW county law libraries are available to the public. In fact, they are intended for the public, not just lawyers.

    -ps there is a FB group called Onewheel Legal Freedoms, that discusses these issues. But pay attention to the sources cited, and what state each discussion is about. It's not just California info.



  • Definitely worth asking a City Attorney



  • @SteveSiz said in California Law on use of OneWheel:

    I work in the Transportation Dept. of the city where I live, work directly with our Traffic Enforcement Police.... but also own my own OneWheels. I could ask our City Attorney, but this is more of self interest.

    Anyone ever come up with a definitive answer here? @SteveSiz do you work for BART?

    I'm asking because I just started commuting on my Pint, and looking at the BART rules of conduct, I'd actually need to apply for a permit to bring my OW on board, if it is indeed considered an EPAMD. All the literature I can find however seems to hang on the 2 wheel factor. I assumed the rules were in place more for the seated, mobility scooters the elderly or disabled sometimes use. I wasn't really perturbed, until I saw this thread.



  • I wonder if any one has bothered to ask FM about this? Maybe I'll call them today.



  • LOL, so many mixed messages!

    Called FM today and asked CS if my Pint is an EPAMD. They did not know. But the rep I spoke to said he thought the word "Assistive" was the key there; since a Onewheel really is not an assistive device he didn't think it qualified. However he did think I should call BART or CALTrain to confirm.

    Called BART and was told, "oh it really should be no problem at all," but then "go ahead and fill out the permit application and I'll get it approved right away." So BART says yes, it is an EPAMD. lol



  • [Washington code] (https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=46.04.1695) is written in a very similar language to California but it has been recently amended and based on that it seems at least in Washington OW would be classified as EPAMD. Subsection 2 in particular seems to fit the description pretty well. So I kinda think California would also probably eventually consider the same.

    "Electric personal assistive mobility device" (EPAMD) means (1) a self-balancing device with two wheels not in tandem, designed to transport only one person by an electric propulsion system with an average power of seven hundred fifty watts (one horsepower) having a maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a propulsion system while ridden by an operator weighing one hundred seventy pounds, of less than twenty miles per hour or (2) a self-balancing device with one wheel designed to transport only one person by an electric propulsion system with an average power of two thousand watts (two and two-thirds horsepower) having a maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a propulsion system, of less than twenty miles per hour.



  • @sinah interesting info ty for sharing!

    I think the key aspect for me, as a commuter, is that it’s electric. The rep I spoke to was primarily concerned with the battery, over the wheel(s).



  • @IanJohnson (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.

    So basically you can go anywhere, just not over 15...



  • @a_onekatie No I don't work for Bart, I work for the City where I live (Santa Barbara) @wheelrich answered me with a great link. I have a bookmark of the vehicle code, that did not include amended sections, so it was really helpful.
    As far as Bart, I would just carry the board on and don't ride on the platform or station, and you will be fine. I grew up riding my skateboard on Bart when I was a kid, back then they were worried about major crimes.


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