SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – They could be the ride of the future, a growing number of scooters that look like skateboards are whizzing through the streets of the Bay Area.
“It’s like floating,” said Abraham Galvin of San Leandro.READ MORE: Santa Clara Officials Open COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic At Local Farm
While it may look like floating, in reality it’s a self-balancing scooter.
You may have seen them in a recent viral dance video on YouTube.
“It’s functional. It’s cool. It really is a new form of transportation,” said Ed Kashani, co-founder and president of Sidekick Wheels. The company makes a version of the scooter popular with celebrities and star athletes like Richard Sherman.
This sidekick goes up to 8 miles per hour, and the rider can control how fast and where you want to go with one’s body weight. There are two sensors, one under each foot.READ MORE: California Tax Revenues Soar as Rich Get Richer Despite Pandemic
The technology has gained the state’s attention. Gov. Jerry Brown recently gave these scooters the green light, signing legislation to allow all motorized boards and scooters in bike lanes starting January 2016. Local governments can adopt any, all, or no part of the law. New York City recently banned the devices saying they are dangerous.
“It’s a weird thing to see because skateboarding’s been illegal for so long and it’s been my way of getting around for a long time. So it’s kind of weird that a new gadget gets any kind of preferential treatment into a lane in San Francisco’s traffic,” said Dagan Ministero.
Bicyclists had mixed feelings about the scooters.
“I don’t mind sharing the bike lane, but they have to follow the rules and play nice,” said Tim Gruneisen.
San Francisco police is allowing them in lanes for now.
“We want to make sure that the public is safe at all times,” said Officer Carlos Manfredi of the SFPD. “With these devices if they do use them in the bike lane and we see an uptick in vehicle pedestrian fatalities or injuries then we’re going to have to adjust.”MORE NEWS: Trailers, RVs, Shed Burned at Industrial Yard in Oakland
In the meantime, more motorized scooters will be seen on the streets as they climb to the top of holiday wish lists.