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Are Onewheels and Other Personal Mobility Devices Legal?

by freshlycharged

The biggest threat to the Onewheel and other personal electric vehicles (PEV) like the electric skateboard, unicycle, scooter and bike isn’t from nosedives or water damage. The biggest issue isn’t battery life or the lack of safety gear.

The biggest threat to the Onewheel and other PEVs is the laws governing the usage of such devices.

As personal electric vehicles explode in popularity and usage, communities and governments are struggling to figure out how to handle this new technology.

Laws differ region to region. Even if PEVs are tolerated in your community right now, there’s a good chance someone is trying to push through a law to ban them from parks or city streets or from the sidewalk.

Some communities have decided to just ban personal electric vehicles like electric skateboards, Onewheels, electric scooters and electric unicycles all together.

Take Germany for example. In Germany and in other countries in Europe it is illegal to ride personal electric vehicles. You can get ticketed by the police in Berlin and have your Boosted Board or Onewheel confiscated if you are caught out in public on your PEV.

In Germany, PEV enthusiasts have signed petitions, spoken to government officials, and held massive group rides in an effort to change legislation. But as far as I know there has been little change. It is much easier to prevent bad laws, rules, and regulation from becoming official than it is to try to reverse those bad laws.

Are Electric Skateboards Legal

PEV’s like electric unicycles, skateboard and the Onewheel are revolutionary and life changing. They allow personal mobility in ways that are efficient, quiet, and with zero emissions. They get people both young and old off of their butts and out exploring. They are also a fantastic way to commute and decrease congestion and traffic in the streets.

But there is a movement by a few to legislate PEV’s off of the streets and trails of large cities. I feel that this largely because of the business practices of electric scooter companies that came in and dumped electric scooters into many large cities.

In our city like in many other large cities it seemed like rental electric scooters just showed up overnight and now pedestrians are either dodging them or trying not to trip over them on the sidewalks.

These electric scooter rental businesses have forced cities to confront the question of how to handle these new electronic devices before communities and the public even really understand what PEVs can really do.

I’m sure many cities are deciding how to regulate and treat these new PEVs. As communities struggle to cope with the electric scooter phenomenon, other modes of personal electric transportation get lumped into the discussion.

The rental practices of E-scooter companies have forced communities to look into the growing options of PEVs. It is our job to help the public understand that there is much good that can come from PEVs.

Here in Denver, officials are closely monitoring the effects of PEVs on the public trail system. “Denver Parks & Recreation (DPR) is implementing a 180-day Rule Directive that will allow e-devices on Denver trails and park facilities. During this pilot period, DPR will evaluate how e-device use can safely interact with other park activities. DPR is aware that e-devices are being used in parks and on trails and must evaluate how to best manage this activity.

To accommodate the growing number of e-bike and scooter users, DPR has decided to formally evaluate how these devices impact park and trail visitors via the 180-day Rule Directive.

The 180-day directive will be in place April 15 – October 15 with a public hearing scheduled for fall 2019, pending public feedback.”

To keep track of “incidents” involving e-devices on Denver trails, they have set up an online evaluation tool. I can guarantee you that I know a couple of folks that will be filling out this form because they do not want to share the trails with these new e-devices.

This battle has been fought before. It’s the same old story, just with new characters. Whether it’s a turf war between local surfers and tourist surfers or a battle on the slopes between skiers and snowboarders, the establishment has always fought to keep away newcomers in an effort to protect their territory.

In this instance the territory being fought over is the right to use and enjoy public trails and the newcomers are these PEVs. Who’s fighting us? I would say it’s the cyclists and anyone that has felt disrespected or unsafe because of reckless PEV riders.

I would say that 99% of my interactions when riding my Onewheel or Electric Unicycle are overwhelmingly positive. People are intrigued and fascinated by these new fangled machines. They stop me on trails. They ask me questions. They even ask if they can give it a try.

But there are the 1% of folks that don’t like these new devices on their trails. They see us as a threat. They want to put up signs to keep us out and to make legislation to make PEVs illegal because they don’t want to share. These 1% are the cyclists that flip me off for no reason as I ride with my family. They are the disgruntled recumbent cyclists that yell obscenities as they speed by.

I hope that we can come together as a community and share the roads. Change is never easy, but I do feel that PEVs, when used responsibly, are a great benefit to the community as a whole. I’ve used my Onewheel and have participated in multiple community service projects, some working directly with Denver Parks and Recs.

I ask everyone, especially those who use the Denver parks system, to fill out the Denver Parks and Recs form and use the comment sections to tell Denver Parks and Recs just how amazing PEVs are and how they can help the city. The feedback tool/form will be available during this 180 day test period and you can share your feelings with Denver Parks and Recs.

No doubt they will get complaints, and we may never win over those few vocal haters that just want to keep the trails for themselves. But we can conduct ourselves in a manner that will give them no real reason to dislike us.

Let’s use the trails responsibly so we can win over the 99% of everyone else that is fascinated by the Onewheel and electric unicycle and work to keep our trail system open for all to enjoy!

If you are a new Onewheel rider, make sure to avoid these common mistakes! Also, if you are not already part of the Onewheel online community, check this out and learn how to make the most out of your Onewheel experience.

If you listen to music while riding, here are some responsible and safe options to have the best riding experience.

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We are Andrew and Jimmy, two guys who love personal electric vehicles, and we hope to share our experiences and reviews to help you find the best next PEV for your needs.

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