Are Electric Skateboards Safe? See These Safety Tips

Are Electric Skateboards Safe? See These Safety Tips

There’s no way we can sit here and tell you that electric skateboards are 100% safe. Like any skateboard, if you’re going to build up speed on a plank of wood with no protection, you are going to be at some risk to your safety. Electric skateboards are in some ways safer than traditional boards, but they’re less safe in others.

Although traditional boards don’t have brakes at the flick of a trigger, they are less likely to fail on you. In fact, one of our top tips is to earn some basic skateboarding techniques for those ‘just in case’ moments. Top electric skateboards also have a higher top speed so that carries with it greater risk.

electric skateboard photograph in a road

If you wanted a common factor that accidents on either device share however, user error will feature quite prominently. Both are dangerous to an extent by their nature, but the risks can be negated by proper use, research and skill. Let’s face it: on a non-electric board, you’ll have fewer concerns for Tony Hawk rattling downhill at 40kmph than you would your 8-year-old son. And the same applies here. Keep reading and we’ll cover the risks and what you can do to make sure you’re properly protected, so you can concentrate on enjoying your electric skateboarding in safety.

Are Electric Skateboards Dangerous?

Well, yes, in the wrong hands an electric skateboard can definitely be a risk to safety. Like normal skateboards, there are a number of ways you can do yourself some real damage if you’re not careful and properly protected. However, used right they’re incredibly fun, and a lightweight, economical and eco-friendly form of transport. So what can go wrong? Well, the most obvious risk is falling. Just like it’s non-electric cousin, the electric skateboard offers no protection at all from collisions and is very easy to fall off. To compound matters, just like inline-skating, road-cycling and longboarding, these things will only run on smooth hard surfaces. Which means if you do fall off, you’re landing hard on the concrete. Keeping your electric skateboard charged and having the battery in tip-top condition will also ensure that you avoid accidents or battery failure. The most common injuries reported whilst electric skateboarding are relatively minor, with cuts, abrasions and bruises topping the list. Not ideal, but to be expected. Slightly more serious injuries include those to the hand, wrist and arm, which normally occur as the rider attempts to break their fall.

man trying not to fall in an electric skateboard
Ankle and knee injuries can occur not just from falling, but sudden sharp movements and bailing which can cause twisting or spraining, as well as more serious fall injuries including broken bones. Top of the list of concerns though of course, are head injuries, which, if travelling at high speed can even in very rare cases be fatal. Even in less severe cases these can lead to concussion and cause significant time away from the board. Electric skateboards are most commonly operated by an electric handheld or remote control, which of course adds a whole new element. Although these failures are extremely rare, there have been instances of remotes disconnecting or failing during riding. Most boards will have a fail-safe for this. But learning a few manual skating techniques can make sure you know what to do should this occur. All of these factors can be mitigated by knowledge, riding an electric skateboard with care, and a little practice, however. So what can be done to avoid injury and make your boarding experience as safe as possible?

Protective Gear

Wear a Helmet

The one part of your body you definitely need to protect when taking part in any extreme sport is your head. The same is true when you’re casually riding your bike, or if you’re taking a leisurely commute to work on your e board. When travelling at any speed the forces applied to the skull on impact are huge, and the risk of life-changing injury too high. This is not the time to worry about what you look like. Just wear a helmet. For safety it’s important to find a helmet which is solid, meets all the relevant standards and as importantly, fits you well. Are poorly fitted helmet will provide significantly less protection and can even be dangerous in its own right. You’ve probably, as we have seen footage of some boarders wearing motorcycle helmets just to be sure.

Pads

You can save yourself a lot of pain and suffering by wearing knee pads and elbow pads. Hitting concrete at speed can cause cuts and abrasions, and the knees and elbows always get it the worst because they stick out. But if you’ve already covered up, that’s one less thing to worry about.

It’s not just cuts and bruises you need to prevent though: a direct hit on a knee or elbow at speed could actually break the boned in the joint and/or damage the ligaments, which will mean no more boarding for you for a while. So if you want to make sure you can get the most out of your board, wear some pads and protective gear and stay out of the hospital.

man wearing helmet and pads while skateboarding

Know Your Level

By far the greatest contributory factor to the electric skateboarding injury stats is user error. And normally, this means running before you can walk. Of course, we understand that you’re going to want to get stuck in and go as fast as you can at first. But it’s worth remembering that it only takes one big off, and you won’t be going anywhere fast. For a while. So knowing your level is crucial.

If you’ve never ridden a board before, you need to be a little bit patient and learn how to properly control it before you start setting any land speed records. At top speed, learning how to control speed wobbles is another great way of keeping yourself off the pavement.

Practice

Yes, it’s the mother of all cliches, but practice really does make perfect. Or at least, means your less likely to bounce yourself down a road at high speed. If you’re a novice rider, take plenty of time to accustom yourself to the board and how it works. The initial acceleration even takes some people by surprise, so be prepared for that! As you probably don’t want your first memory to be of your board flying off into the distance while you pick yourself off the floor. Learning a little bit of traditional skating should be considered essential. You don’t need to do anything flash, but just learning how to stop manually with your foot means you never have to worry about remote failure. And being able to steer and generally control the board is obviously essential. Learning a bit of this on a foot-powered board first means you have a much lower risk of careening into a wall.
man learning a traditional skating

Choose Your Spots

Uneven surfaces are now your enemy, and so you have no excuse if a pothole puts you on the pavement. You will need to pick your spots carefully to make sure there aren’t any hidden dangers lurking. This generally means large open expanses of concrete – the kind of place you see skateboarders. It also means, at first, finding somewhere with few obstacles and other people you can collide with. If you’re planning to use your electric skateboard to commute, properly planning your route to avoid traffic hotspots and poor pavements is essential for your personal safety.

Do Electric Skateboards Have Brakes?

Yes, one of the big advantages of electric skateboards is that they have a braking system. This is also essential as they have a higher top speed than foot-powered boards. The braking system used is not like those you might recognise from a bike or similar though, as electric boards rarely use friction braking (where a pad is applied directly to the wheel to slow it). Electric boards brake using the inbuilt motor, using a sytem also used in train and electric cars known as dynamic braking.
man showing his electric skateboard
In this system, kinetic energy is converted into heat by transferring the electricity generated by the spinning motors into a resistor, which then dissipates the energy as heat. When the magnets in the motor induce a current in the copper wires, resistance is generated, slowing the motor spinning. Or in laymans terms, the motor slows the board down. Electric skateboards also use a system called “regenerative braking”. This is similar to dynamic braking, except instead of redirecting the electricity into a resistor to dissipate the energy as heat, it’s redirected back into the battery, recharging it.

What is the Safest Electric Skateboard?

We hope we’ve shown you that electric skateboards are safe so long as they are used properly. By picking the right board even if you’re looking to buy budget electric skateboards, and making sure you are properly protected with a helmet and pads, you should be safe with a little practice. The safest electric skateboard is one that is used properly, period. So with a little practice and care, you could soon be riding an electrical skateboard as safely as possible. Not to mention having the time of your life in the process!

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