Local

Riverbank-made electric skateboards get boost in Capitol

Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Riverbank, rides an electrically powered skateboard called a ZBoard during a press event near the state Capitol in Sacramento on March 11, 2014.
Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Riverbank, rides an electrically powered skateboard called a ZBoard during a press event near the state Capitol in Sacramento on March 11, 2014. Sacramento Bee file

Electric skateboards, some of them made in Riverbank, would get more room to roam under a bill that advanced this week.

The state Assembly Transportation Committee voted 11-3 for a bill by Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Riverbank, that would allow the boards in bicycle lanes and other places where bikes can go.

The measure, Assembly Bill 604, was inspired by the ZBoard, made by a company called Intuitive Motion in the former Riverbank Army Ammunition Plant. The bill would repeal a 1977 ban that Olsen said was aimed at noisy, gasoline-powered skateboards.

“These (newer) boards are a safe and eco-friendly commute alternative that is gaining in popularity worldwide,” she said in a news release. “We need to update California’s antiquated law to encourage growth in this industry that creates jobs and provides new transportation options.”

The bill, which next goes to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, would allow local governments to set rules on how the boards are used. For now, they are limited to private property, such as corporate campuses.

The vote came about three weeks after Olsen hosted an electric skateboard demonstration outside the Capitol. She did the same when introducing the bill last year.

ZBoards are powered by rechargeable batteries and controlled by footpads that make them stop and go. Prices range from $599 to $1,399, and the fastest model can reach 20 miles per hour.

Intuitive Motion founders Geoff Larson and Ben Forman endorsed the bill.

“With the rapid growth in popularity in the past few years, we are excited to see California get ahead of the curve by supporting this nascent industry, and by providing the framework for the safe use of electrically motorized skateboards,” Larson said in the release.

Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at jholland@modbee.com or (209) 578-2385.

  Comments