Is electric skateboarding dangerous?
Accidents happen and they are always unexpected. In general electric skateboarding is safe, but it’s important to be prepared for the worst. Therefore it’s safe to say that electric skateboarding is unsafe for those who don’t take the necessary precautions. In today’s article, I go over the types of dangers you can expect and what you can do to prevent them.
What are the risks?
One risk is speed wobbles. (Check out this video.) They happen because of a feedback loop and a lack of strength in ankles. As you gain speed, each input from your ankles is magnified. If you don’t have the balance or strength to hold the board place you will wobble. This easily happens at speeds of 15mph +, especially for beginners. In the tip section of this article I’ve added some solutions to this.
Lack of skill and experience – If you aren’t used to carving or turning on your board, you won’t be able to use it them an emergency situation or even if someone walks in front of you. The lack of experience could cause you to panic when you need to be relaxed and focused.
These are easily solved, cruise and carve as much as you can and time will take care of the rest.
Here’s another one. After riding in the rain or over a puddle bearings tend to seize up if not rotated. This is because the water entering the bearings makes them rust in place.
If you don’t oil them, they can eventually seize up. This could throw you off your board and ruin the bearing seat of your wheel, causing damage to your motor too.
A real worst-case scenario would be for your brakes to stop working. For some electric skateboards, if the regenerative braking has absorbed as much energy as it can, it stops the brake from working. This is super dangerous when going downhill or really fast. I recommend learning to footbrake. (~ 3rd minute in the video below). You can footbrake safely at speeds up to 25mph.
Now this is a biggie – getting hit by a car. Esk8ing is still fairly new… not a lot of people know what it is and don’t expect a skateboard to come out of a corner. They could under-estimate your speed and hit you. They also don’t know what to expect from a skater on the road. Skate conservatively and be careful on open roads (where there are cars driving).
This leads me to the next one – falling off hitting your head. It can be a life changing event, this is what makes electric longboarding dangerous. Over 75% of cyclist deaths are from head injuries with 88% of those injuries being avoidable had a helmet been worn.
This is statistic is very relatable to electric skateboarding (“esk8ing”). You are reaching similar speeds and it’s arguably easier to fall on a skateboard than on a bike. Its no joke and you want to avoid ending up in intensive care. Helmets are important.
Oh and the last one..Luck? Sometimes you can just straight up be unlucky. You could hit a rough patch of tarmac, a puddle, a patch of gravel, that crack you didn’t see etc. Wobble out and fall off. It happens and it feels like gods hand pushed you haha. Its unfortunate but you just want to be ready and protected if it does.
How to stay safe when riding your electric skateboard?
Helmets are priceless
It’s important to wear a helmet when you ride and I briefly describe the types of helmets available below. An in-depth description of longboarding helmets is also available on our site.
- Full face helmets – If your electric skateboard has a high top speed and you intend to go fast, I recommend a full face helmet. They are certified for speeds beyond 30mph. These helmets are designed to take hard impacts, protect your face and provides greater impact absorption than your regular half-shell helmet.
Full-face helmets make it a lot easier to focus when skating fast. By covering your face and ears, they reduce the wind noise and stop your eyes from tearing up.
Certifications – CE EN 1078, ASTM F1952 – This certification from the American Society for Testing Materials means a helmet will protect the head from a drop of a height of 2 meters and a force of 300 G. It’s the best certification it can have.
- Half shell helmets – If you are gonna be under 20mph a half shell is useful and appropriate. These cover the head but not the face. They are great for skating on hot days and are otherwise more comfortable than full-face helmets. It’s also the more wallet-friendly option. Certifications – CPSC , ASTM F1492-08 – Another certification from the American board. These guys are super strict so you know you’ll be safe. If a helmet doesn’t have the mentioned certifications, run the other way. Don’t think about putting it on your head.
Longboard lights are super useful
They can alert people that you are moving as they are easy to pick out in the dark. This is critical for skating on the road. You want to be seen by cars so you don’t get hit.
A cheap option would be reflective stickers. These reflect light back to a source and as such make their presence aware. You can easily stick them on your board and helmet and you’ll be good to go. I wouldn’t recommend them as a fix all solution, but they help. So do reflective jackets. For more cheap solutions, check out our list of affordable electric skateboards.
Get your pads bro! (Or Gal)
Elbow, wrist, knee and hip pads are recommended but are not necessary. What this means is that it won’t kill you if you don’t have them … but it could hurt a lot.
A more in-depth article on skateboard knee pads is available, I recommend looking into it and finding out more.
For kids, I would recommend both elbow and knee pads. Especially the g-form ones. They are discreet, lightweight and can be worn under clothing. A lot of children don’t like pads because they are bulky and uncomfortable. The g-form overcomes this and kids are more likely to wear them.
Other safety tips
You need to oil your bearings every now and again. If you skate in the rain you need to make sure you spin the wheel a few times after to prevent them from seizing up, which could happen and throw you off the board
Tightening back trucks is an easy fix. I recommend you tighten the back truck. Especially if you are a beginner and you plan on skating fast. Wobbles come from the back truck and are more prone to happen if your trucks are loose. If you also keep your weight forward over your front foot, it should happen less.
Alternatively, you can simply get better at skating – which will happen naturally with time.
Know the longboarding etiquette. I recommend you skate conservatively. This means being humble on the road and not taking unnecessary risks. You could start skating on the sidewalk if there are too many cars on the street and skate slowly if you are unfamiliar with the area. Skating conservatively will keep you and others around you safe.
I hope you understood the risks of electric skateboarding. It is unlikely that you will be severely injured but on the off chance that something could happen, we want to be ready.
It’s important to take the necessary precautions, prevention > cure because in this case, the cure is to stop skating altogether. For kids, a half shell and g form pads are highly recommended. Adults can get away with a simple half shell, but if you feel you need to go fast, a full face helmet is recommended.