Electric skateboards have to be one of the coolest and most fun ways to get around.
For commuting, for enjoyment—they’re just the ultimate electric mode of transportation.
But can they actually be used for everything I’ve said and more? Are they versatile?
Electric skateboards have an average maximum speed regardless of the manufacturer, and a maximum legal speed.
Between that and how to actually come close to those speeds, we have a lot to talk about.
How fast should you even go on your electric skateboard, how good are the brakes, and where do you start entering dangerous territory with it?
Let’s talk about that.
Are There Any Legal Limits For Electric Skateboards?
Electric skateboard speeds are… tricky to circumnavigate.
For the most part, there are no laws that out-and-out state you cannot use an electric skateboard.
They can be viewed as toys or leisurely vehicles that don’t pose a major threat to anyone.
After all, if you don’t need a license to drive a golf cart in most places, do you really think people would regulate skateboards?
But like everything in life, there’s a few caveats we want to discuss before you just hit the road with your electric skateboard and cruise on by a cruiser.
Municipalities are cities and/or towns that have corporate status as well as local government (loosely taken from Oxford Languages).
Essentially, they have a say in the local laws that may or may not pertain to varying state laws.
Municipalities may be able to change some laws to allow certain activities and objects to be legal specifically within their limits.
I mention all of this because some municipalities specifically ban electric skateboards, which is pretty ridiculous.
It can land you a fine, and have you walking home from wherever you were going. This is something I can’t predict for you; it changes all the time.
Get information based on where you are and where you’re going to see if you’re going to be asked off of your board.
While electric skateboards aren’t legally street vehicles, they can still go pretty fast, and from there they’re going to be able to pose a threat when they reach over a certain limit.
It can make pedestrians uneasy, to say the least. If you break the speed limit, regardless of where you are or what you’re doing, you can be fined and even taken to traffic court over it.
Yes, a skateboarder with no license could be taken to traffic court. What a country, huh?
You still have to obey local laws and speed limits no matter what if you want to stay within the realm of what is legal.
There are certain states, such as Texas, that classify some electric skateboards as neighborhood electric vehicles or electric personal assistive mobility devices.
However, some are legally classified as motor-assisted scooters, and that’s where you begin to run into a problem with Johnny Law.
In Texas, you can only operate that skateboard on a road that has a limit of 35 MPH or less.
Some states have varying laws, and with the way that electric commuting vehicles are changing, this is expected to fluctuate as time goes on.
If you have a neighborhood electric vehicle that is legal to ride on the sidewalk, and then you modify it, it’s like knowingly tampering with something that you’re not supposed to tamper with.
It could change the classification settings, and potentially get you fined.
Some public areas, such as schools, colleges, parks owned by the state, airports, and similar structures, will have signs posted that state you cannot use any form of skateboard nearby.
They may state “Within 100 feet of this sign/building” or something along those lines.
The thing is, in most states, this is a law, not just a suggestion by the owner of the structure in question.
You can be fined, and people who post these signs who notice you within that predefined distance would love nothing more than to get you in trouble for using an electric skateboard in that area.
Steer clear of public areas with high foot traffic like the ones I mentioned, and you should do just fine.
Can You Remove Speed Limitations On Bought Skateboards?
Not remove, per se, but you can slightly increase it.
Rooted in physics, a larger wheel with enough momentum could actually get you to move faster.
The number one method to increase the speed on a manufactured electric skateboard is to increase the wheel diameter size.
The average size is about 80mm, but increasing it to something like 97mm would actually give you a higher top speed.
This speed cap could increase by as much as 4.5 MPH. If you get a board with a 23 MPH cap, that’s 27.5 MPH which is almost the average speed limit of United States roads.
Not too bad, huh?
There’s no magical switch you can just go in and flip to get your board to behave the way you want it to, whether that’s faster or having better brakes.
There simply isn’t a way to do it. If they were making motors with that much power packed into them, they would be selling them for a much higher price.
After all, stronger motors are generally made out of higher quality parts, which cost more to manufacture.
These companies are trying to make a profit, after all.
They’re only making the motors as strong as they need to be to hit the needs of a certain market, being you.
DIY Electric Skateboards Push Speeds To The Limit
Not hyped about the high price tags that you see on electric skateboards?
Some of them are moderate, but then again, those are the ones with the most limitations.
You go high-end, and you get higher speeds, but now you have a hole in your pocket that feels pretty deep.
The middle ground, the perfect solution, is to DIY your own electric skateboard.
Some people are absolutely enamored with their current boards, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
They love the board they’ve been using for ages, and they just want to convert it instead of buying an entirely new board right out of the box.
You can get conversion kits that allow you to turn your manual skateboard into an electric skateboard in no time.
Seriously, these take about five minutes at most, and they’re pretty effective.
You can spend around a hundred dollars or less, and find a dual power electric skateboard kit.
This ends up saving you money because the manufacturer doesn’t have to include the manual front wheels, nor the board body.
They’re just giving you the back wheels and electronic elements to it.
Each kit comes with its own instructions on how to do it. You know, or you could visit our guide on how to make your own DIY electric skateboard. Whichever appeals to you.
What Are Safe Speeds For Electric Skateboards?
It depends on what you’re in the market for.
The number one reason people used to buy electric skateboards were as children’s toys before they became a commuting vehicle for young adults to enjoy as well.
For a toy, you can expect to get a top speed of around 12 MPH, and that’s for some of the higher-end toy models.
I say toy because there are distinct differences in the construction, weight cap, and the materials used.
But for an electric skateboard that we would use for commuting, you can expect to hit speeds up to 25 MPH.
Yeah, on a skateboard—can you imagine?
That’s faster than most people ever hit on their boards even when they push while going downhill.
But what is considered safe?
Technically, you can get pulled over for riding a manual bicycle at 21 MPH (in a school zone).
You can legally get ticketed for this. That means that skateboarders, electric or manual, aren’t safe either.
The key difference here is that you’re not buying a motor vehicle that you have to register.
You’re simply getting an electric skateboard, an otherwise leisurely device that isn’t really recognized by the law unless you’re grossly misusing it.
Zipping Around Three Inches Off The Ground
Electric skateboards are an absolute ton of fun, if you know what you’re doing.
You have to stay safe, you have to keep your speed acceptable for the environment around you, and you have to avoid modding if you want to use it for a commuting vehicle.
While you’re not going to find people going 30 MPH on electric skateboards down the bicycle lane in the middle of Boston, you are going to see them more and more often in large cities.
Populations expand, but the streets usually stay the same. This is the best way to get around while still being safe to all those people around you.