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California Adopts Hoverboard Regulations

While laws often struggle to keep pace with technology, California appears to be ahead of the game when it comes to the most popular gift of the holiday season. Amidst growing safety concerns, California recently became one of the first states in the country to adopt safety regulations for hoverboards. The increasingly popular devices have been tied to injuries related to falls, collisions, and exploding batteries.

California’s new law specifically addresses where operators can legally use an “electronically motorized board,” which is defined as a wheeled device designed to be stood on and powered by electronic propulsion, going no more than 15 miles per hour. Pursuant to the new law, electronically motorized boards can only be ridden on a highway with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour or less, or specific designated bikeways. The rider must be at least 16 years old and must wear a bicycle helmet.

"They have to be not looking out for themselves, but also looking out for cars that are out there," Chris Cochran, with the California Office of Traffic Safety, told NBC News. "And they have to look out for pedestrians."

Cities and counties are authorized to impose additional restrictions on the use of the electrically motorized boards. For instance, several cities, including San Francisco, have banned hoverboards from sidewalks.

"You're going to be restricted by local ordinance as to where you can go and not go," Cochran stated. "The state law allows it to be on local roadways, but your local city or county may restrict which roadways or type of roadways."

Hoverboard riders that fail to abide by the new rules or ride under the influence could face a fine of $250. The new law took effect on January 1, 2016.

If you or someone you care about has suffered serious injuries due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and other losses. For more information, please contact a San Diego personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.