Why Electric Skateboarding Is Dangerous

By Chloe | RIDES

I am always amazed at how the human brain can outdo innovations over the years.

The electric skateboard is evidence enough of that.

It is so astonishing that we can make intelligent technologies, which can transform communities.

How?

The electric skateboard, an innovative transport, powered by motors and batteries are seen to eliminate traffic and the gaseous emissions from motor vehicles.

It is compact for traveling minimizing cars on streets, encourages the use of public transport, and lessens the carbon footprints by significant numbers.

But, like all good things. Electric skateboards also have its deficiencies that if left unresolved can defeat the purpose for which it is built and shall forever remain as a child’s toy.

Take a look at some of the disadvantages of electric skateboarding to keep you informed and to be a responsible rider.

On fire!

In 2017, the 2nd Gen Boosted Dual+ from US and Canada have been recalled due to the fire hazard. Over 3,000 in the US and a hundred in Canada were subject to the recall.

The issue with the Boosted Dual+ is overheating battery, which poses as a fire hazard if not remedied. There were no reported casualties with only two reports of smoke coming from the batteries of the e-skateboard. When the board was checked, there were visible melting.

Although, there were only two recorded reports, Boosted and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission deemed that the problem is serious. Thus, warnings and recall from both were issued, respectively.

Exploding technologies are not unfamiliar to users especially with the development and use of compact batteries. Familiarity, however, does not eliminate the danger of overheating and explosion because not all users are well-versed with the internal workings of the technology.

After the investigation, Boosted found that water has damaged the wiring causing short circuits. Since then Boosted ceased to market the boards as waterproof.

A learning from this incident for users is to always conduct maintenance of the board. You have to keep everything safety including yourself by avoiding maintenance shortcuts or DIY repairs.

What is supposed to be fun and convenient technology may turn into a horrible incident?

As a user or soon to be a rider, it is essential to understand these concerns for you to always be alert and to take all the precautions like following the instructions on how the e-skateboards be used.

Regulations and fines

Are electric skateboards considered motor vehicles? Some form of a bike? Or just a child’s toy?

These are questions that riders often asked when they are considering getting an e-skateboards.

For those whom I’ve known who are using them for leisure or campus ride, thinks that this is not an issue. And some who are thinking of using them for their last mile travel believes that it can be considered as a bike. Either way, they might be wrong, and the issue can affect both.

The problem is that the advancement in transportation technology was so fast that rules and regulations regarding these technologies are though, in the works, it still needs to catch up.

People are questioning whether the fines and punishment are too excessive considering that this is a unique form of transport.

Take for example, in the case of Erin Morgan; she was violently thrown while on her skateboard for a moving violation.

Yes, there are places with no skateboarding areas, which are right to ensure safety. But, is throwing her off right? Will this be how skateboard riders are treated? What many are calling is the equal treatment for skateboarding with the very least with the biking community.

Another instance is the $600 fine ticketed to Daniel Dahlberg. This incident treated the e-skateboard as a motor vehicle under their laws. But if that is the case, then why can’t riders get insurance?

There is a disconnect between the e-skateboarding technology with the governing laws of the community. It is a problem because people are moving to a greener transport solution. But, there is less protection for such activity.

Radio frequency disruptions

The main control of the electric skateboard is the remote and the mobile application on smartphones for some brands.

This technology is of course not surprising for us taking into account that almost every aspect of our lives is controlled by digital technology.

However, sometimes, in exchange for our convenience is our safety is our privacy and safety. We are not blind nor deaf to the hacking incidents and data mining as exploits of online technology.

In the same vein that Richo Healey initially blamed a hacking incident when he lost control of his e-skateboard, where it stopped and threw him off.

After some investigation, he found out that there was Bluetooth noise, which caused the interruption of the connection.

You have to know that electric skateboards are controlled and driven by the use of a wireless remote control that uses Bluetooth for connectivity. Thus, if this happened to Healey, what guarantee do we have that we don’t lose control of our vehicles due to the noise.

Healey did not only stop the investigation. He teamed with other Mike Ryan, working for eBay security and developed a program that takes over control the electric skateboard of other riders by replicating the noise from the Bluetooth disruption.

It is quite obvious that this is a big problem that has to be resolved if we are to choose e-skateboard among one of the alternative technologies. 

Accidents

Accidents are expected parts of anything.

Electric skateboards running at about 20 mph can already cause serious injuries when accidents can occur. It is the reason why there are designated areas for these types of vehicles and why wearing protective gears while riding on them.

Working with Infinite Collective, George Schnakenberg III was riding on an electric skateboard when he collapsed, hit a car and died a few hours after. With its speed and lack of protective covering, the electric skateboards can inflict fatal injuries to the riders.

Thus, extra care should be exerted by the riders, observe safety and be aware of one’s surroundings.

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