New York City is known for many things. Its food, the tall buildings, and certainly the people never cease to represent a certain slice of the American image. But for all the good that New York City provides its millions of residents, the city is also known for its extremely dense traffic. A thirty minute commute in NYC can quickly turn into a couple of hours. Taxis, Ubers, and other forms of ride-sharing are popular ways to get around the traffic. But these methods are still time consuming and cost ineffective. Really escaping the worst of NYC’s notorious traffic might require some innovation.
This is one reason why a growing number of New Yorkers are exploring electric skateboards as a way to get around in the city. E-skateboards are certainly fun. There’s no feeling like flying down a hill at high speeds, the wind in your hair and without a care in the world. But there’s also a practical element to e-skateboarding as well. Many riders use their devices to ride to work each morning. E-skating might help you to cut down on your commuting time while avoiding some of the nastiest elements of New York City’s traffic problem. But is it even legal to ride an electric skateboard in New York City? What regulations exist to protect riders and pedestrians? Where can you purchase e-skateboards in the “Big Apply?” This guide will attempt to answer all of your questions about electric skateboarding in New York and New York City.
Are electric skateboards legal in New York?
The short answer is that yes, electric skateboards are considered legal to ride in New York City. It’s a bit difficult to pin down a set of regulations specific to electric skateboards. This is because e-boards are often lumped together with other miniature motorized devices, including e-scooters and e-bikes. NYC’s relationship to mini motorized devices is pretty complicated to begin with. The devices were pretty strictly banned a few years ago, when New York City’s mayor repeatedly threatened to crack down on violators. His primary point of contention was that existing regulations didn’t do much to mandate safety for riders and pedestrians on sidewalks. Eventually, enforcement of these restrictions lessened. Just in spring 2020, NYC leaders finally reached an agreement that would legalize electric motorized scooters and bikes within the city.
These new electric vehicle regulations do not seem to allow for electric bikes that exceed a top speed of 25 miles per hour. E-scooters might have their own speed limit, apparently 15 miles per hour. Additionally, the agreement forces riders of under eighteen years of age to wear a helmet while they ride.
Clearly, these regulations make little mention of electric skateboards. Part of the reason for this might be the relative rarity of e-skating communities. Compared to electric scooters and e-bikes, e-boards aren’t quite as popular in big cities like New York City. Still, these laws are really all we have to go on when it comes to substantive regulations. Our recommendation is that you should closely follow all laws regarding other miniature electric devices when you ride your electric skateboard in New York City. One thing we do know is that you don’t want to clog up NYC’s already busy streets with your board. Stick to bike lanes, unoccupied sidewalks, or other areas where you don’t run the risk of crashing or obstructing the existing flow of traffic. New York State law allows for riders to take their electric devices on some streets, but you’ll have to check to be sure which streets allow you to ride on them before safely doing so.
Finally, it’s also likely that specific jurisdictions within NYC have their own regulations concerning electric skateboards. Be sure to look up specific area laws to be sure you don’t break any rules while riding on your device within New York City.
Can you skateboard on the sidewalk in NYC?
Generally, you cannot skateboard on the sidewalk anywhere in New York. There are several reasons why sidewalk skateboarding is often discouraged. The most compelling reason is probably that New York State law prohibits skaters from riding on sidewalks “unless authorized by local law or ordinance.” Some jurisdictions in New York City might allow you to ride on sidewalks, making them an exception to this clear state rule issued by the DMV. Be sure to check with your local ordinances to verify their stance on sidewalk s-skating.
On another hand, you might also avoid riding on sidewalks because of the social stigma associated with it. New York City is overcrowded, likely even more than most cities in the world. With millions of citizens walking the sidewalks on a given day, there’s not much room to maneuver around pedestrians. Our recommendation is that you avoid riding on any sidewalk that is continuously busy. No matter how good of a skater you are, riding in pedestrian spaces is always risky. The last thing you want is to run into or injure someone who is just trying to walk to work, eat, or school. And if New Yorkers are known for anything, it isn’t their stellar manners when they feel threatened by the behavior of others!
Electric Skateboard Shops in NYC
Because of the size of the city and the strength of its economy, it should come as no surprise that NYC has its fair share of places where you can pick up an electric skateboard. As a general piece of advice, keep in mind that online retailers might be able to offer a little more flexibility than brick-and-mortar stores. There’s something to be said for dealing with face-to-face retailers and experts in the e-skating industry. Just like choosing a board, choosing the type of company you want to do business with is an important decision. If you’re interested in buying a skateboard physically in NYC, the companies below might be some good places to start.
Filipacchi is an all-around electric motorsports company. The NYC store sells electric scooters, bikes, skateboards, and more. For e-skaters, they offer an impressive selection of some of the most high-end products the industry has to offer. In fact, the Filipacchi website even lists the Boosted Mini X for sale. This is remarkable, considering how few Boosted Boards remain in circulation since the company closed its doors earlier this year.
Filipacchi has won praise from riders for more than just its selection of products. Several reviewers claim that the shop went above and beyond to help them fix problems they were having with their devices. This is a great sign. As we’ve mentioned several times before, a quality customer service experience can mean the difference between a happy repair experience and a frustrating loss of a quality board. Filipacchi’s solid track record among e-skaters within New York City should go pretty far in establishing the company as a hub for electric skating activity in the Big Apple.
While the above store mainly stocks and sells leading manufacturers’ boards, Kaly NYC is mostly known for their own luxury electric skateboards. And these boards are certainly considered top-of-the-line. The main claim to fame of Kaly is that their boards are some of the fastest in the industry. Some Kaly models can hit top speeds of over 34 miles per hour, and a few of their boards also offer extreme ranges of over fifty miles. These boards are certainly top-shelf, but they also come with top-shelf prices. Some Kaly NYC models can exceed $3,500 in cost.
Kaly has a solid reputation for customer service and quality, and a variety of models offer different applications and uses that might appeal to a wide range or riders. If you have the budget, live in NYC (or nearby) and want to make an eskate purchase you won’t regret Kaly Boards are definitely worth considering.
Electric Skateboard Group Rides / Meetup NYC
Electric skateboarding is still catching on in many parts of the country. Luckily, the sheer volume of citizens in NYC means that there’a already a pretty sizable e-skateboarding community within the city. This is great for a number of reasons. To start, the Facebook groups and other online NYC communities dedicated to e-skating can be helpful resources for when you need to fix your device or shop for a new setup. But more importantly for current riders, the great online e-skating community in NYC can help you to find group rides.
Group rides are important for more than just the fun element of sharing skateboarding with others who have the same passion. A successful group ride can also help too mitigate some of the inherent risks associated with electric skateboarding. At least one person in an e-skating group ride will likely have access to technical (Skate Tool or Replacement Belts) safety and health supplies. In the case of a crash or collision, this can be exceedingly helpful. But large groups of e-skaters might even be able to share their collective knowledge on rides, paths, and related tips. This can help you to find better, safer, and funnier ways to ride your electric skateboard within the city.
Finding a group to ride with is never that hard in a city like the “Big Apple.” One easy source of information is the NYC E-Boarding Collective Facebook group. This collective regularly plans and executes group rides for electric skateboarders. With over 1,800 members, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll be able to find a fun group to ride with. Additionally, members of this group might be really helpful as you look for niche information about NYC laws, regulations, and more concerning electric skateboards.
NYC Electric Skateboard Crew / Groups
It might initially appear that electric skateboarding crews are the same as group rides. But in a more direct sense, finding a crew is a bit more specific than just showing up to a group ride. To find a group of e-skaters to regularly roll with, you’ll need to make use of similar resources to the one listed above. The NYC E-Boarding Collective Facebook group is a good place to start. “NYC E-Boarding” is a nonprofit site that’s been around since 2016. They organize group rides, connect riders to crews and other riders in their areas, and more. You might be particularly interested in the reference information that the official group website lists. These guidelines are a fantastic place to start if you want to become more knowledgable on the ins and outs of e-skateboarding in NYC, or with a group in general.
But you don’t really need these groups to find a solid crew to ride with. You can also find e-skateboard friends by riding around common skating spots, asking around, or just searching for other social media groups. Many e-skaters might also find friends who skate by just riding around town. It’s hard to miss someone who’s also barreling down a hill on a motorized skateboard!
Map of open power outlets in NYC
This is another great informational resource created by NYC E-Boarding. The company regularly publishes and updates an interactive map of all of the open power outlets accessible in NYC. If you plan to ride for an extended period of time, it might be helpful to plan your route so that it intersects regularly with these outlets. Luckily, NYC is absolutely rich with power outlets available for use by the public. Even long-range boards might run out of power eventually, so it’s helpful to have a place to recharge both your device and yourself as you glide through the beautiful New York City.
One great thing about this map is that it’s updated and maintained by riders. You can even add to the map by joining the NYC E-Boarding Telegram group. Riders report the type of charging station, its placement (inside/outside), its hours (24 hrs or not), and its relative location (i.e. behind a park bench). Because it’s run by riders, information on this map might occasionally be outdated or incorrect. You should message the NYC E-Boarding team on Telegram if you happen to find an inconsistency in this map.
This map is only one of several pages available on this helpful website. You can find information about the collective, a calendar of upcoming events, and more by perusing the website. We’ve certainly been impressed by the helpfulness of this innovative e-skating resource, so skateboarders in NYC should definitely make use of what it offers.
Places to ride in NYC
When looking for a solid place to skateboard, there’s a few things you need to keep in mind. It’s generally not recommended to ride on busy sidewalks or streets downtown or deep in the burrows of the city. For most riders, public parks are your best bet. You’ll want wide sidewalks to avoid hitting obstacles or pedestrians. Also be aware of local regulations and park rules, as some parks might prohibit you from riding an electric skateboard– or any skateboard, for that matter– within the confines of the park.
Both Randall’s Island Park and Wards Island Park are marked as premier spots to skate in the city for many riders. Both sites have their ups and downs. Some NYC e-skaters report that Randal Island Park sometimes is a bit crowded, which can be a problem due to the obviously limited sidewalk space available. Wards Island Park is surrounded by trades that riders report provides a nice shade and a beautiful view as you wind around the narrower sidewalks and small access roads.
Beyond general recommendations like these, there’s quite a few places to get out and skate in NYC. Using resources like the above-mentioned NYC E-Boarding Collective, you should be able to find a few good places to frequent with your device.
Guide to ride safely in NYC
Always be safe as you e-skate in New York City. The regular risks associated with electric skateboarding still apply. You could fall off your board, hit an obstacle, or even lose access to your brakes while riding at high speed. But NYC also poses its own risks, especially due to the high volume of foot-traffic and actual car traffic in many parts of the city. The NYC E-Boarding Collective provides a nice introduction to some safety guidelines to follow as you ride through the city. Never play your music too loudly, obey traffic laws, and yield to pedestrians.
Try not to bite off more than you can chew. If you’re a new rider, slowly work up to more challenging and dangerous devices and routes. Safety gear can also go an incredibly long way. It is legal to ride without a helmet in NYC if you are above the age of 18, but we don’t recommend it. A smart e-skater should minimize his/her risk by wearing a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads. Following basic safety practices before, during, and after your ride could genuinely save your life.
The legal gray area in NYC concerning electric skateboards is finally starting to clear up. The future looks relatively bright for e-skaters. An extremely developed community of riders continue to expand the knowledge-base you can access about riding within city limits. As long as you follow local regulations and general safety guidelines, there’s a nearly unlimited number of ways to explore your love for electric skateboarding in the “Big Apple.”