Eskating has been rather fortunate in the US because it exists mainly in a legal grey-area. Police often do not know about specific rules regarding eskating and enforcement has been erratic and random at best. Part of what has helped law enforcement turn a blind eye is the relatively small number of people on eskates, and the responsibility of the core members of our small community to stay safe and responsible.Now that eskating is breaking into the mainstream, we will start to see thousands of more “regular” non-hobbyists adopting it as a method of travel. Soon it won’t be uncommon to see a fleet of electric skateboards parked at your local bar, or kids mobbing through traffic on modified electric unicycles. If we are not careful, we eskaters will face increased attention and may even become sanctioned by laws specific to our hobby. This is why it will be particularly important to remain responsible riders in 2019 and pay close attention to any local laws or ordinances being discussed or enacted that effect PEVs.
2. Changing What Defines an “E-Skate”:
Electric Skateboard? Electric Unicycle? Electric Scooter? Bionic-Dog-Pulling-a-Sleigh? I have seen all of these PEVs on group rides (except that last one), but as the industry spreads its wings, we may have to redefine what determines if a vehicle is an “eskate” or not. My Instagram feed is constantly awash with the newest and latest electric vehicles under development and I have to say, the future looks…weird.
3. Boutique Builders:
With companies like Kaly.nyc and LaCroix turning up the heat in 2018 and creating some AWESOME quality custom builds, I expect other builders to follow their example. 2019 will be the year of Boutique Builders which should give customers access to unparalleled levels of performance, albeit at a premium price and with variable customer service which will either make or break these new company’s reputations as they start.Currently, boutique builders are just beginning to be accepted as a viable option for non-technically versed eskaters, but growing pains have been tough. It is nearly a daily occurrence to see a post bemoaning the lack of customer support from a newer manufacturer or shaming a company owner for conducting themselves unprofessionally online. I am not exaggerating when I say that customer service and professionalism are what will separate the successes from the failures in the boutique builder market.
4. Public Acceptance:
Just as the popularity of eskating will drive new laws to be created and more people to start riding, so too will it familiarize and ingratiate itself among the public. Side effects may include less weird looks, yelling, or aggressive driving in your general vicinity…or the exact opposite! Only time will tell what sort of cultural niche that eskating will occupy, as well as the type of people that eskaters are seen as.
5. Eskate Culture:
Similarly, 2019 will be a big year for the development of eskate culture. In past years, the eskate scene has mainly been comprised of nerdier folks who fetishize safety and technological expertise over riding prowess and steeze. As eskating becomes a trend and more and more “normal” people begin to adopt it, I predict that we will see a massive shift in the types of riding, content, and fashion that comes out of our scene. This may be seen as a bad thing to the majority of readers today, but I, for one, am excited to see what the future of eskate culture brings.