Electric skateboards are one of the hottest new trends in action sports. Capable of hitting up to 20km an hour and more, it’s always worth remembering that these fantastic boards are a little more dangerous than a contemporary foot powered one. Generally speaking they are perfectly safe providing users enjoy their electric skateboard sensibly. There’s always the temptation to push a new toy right to the limits – and this is why it’s typically newcomers who get injured. However with that being said and regardless of proficiency, even experienced users always need to use these devices responsibly. In this guide we’ll take a look at the most important safety advice for using an electric skateboard, especially with the beginner in mind.
Safety Advice For Using An Electric Skateboard
First thing any responsible user of these products needs to do is get kitted out with the right gear. Much of this advice also applied to traditional skateboards, but there’s always a few who overlook the basics. Just because it’s a powered unit with hand controls doesn’t mean you won’t fall off.
- Find a properly made skate specific helmet. Fans of action sports are often tempted to use a single helmet and crossover between disciplines. However skating demands a helmet that isn’t just resistant to hard impact, it also needs to be lightweight and allow the user easy natural visibility.
- Shoes need to have rubber that ‘sticks’ to the board. They ought to be slightly heavy duty offering full support. You ankles and foot soles will thank you after a day!
- Pads are a must and should be worn at all times. Impact resistant yet lightweight and in no way restricting movement. Many skaters scrimp in these – bad idea.
- Get the right electric skateboard for the surface you’ll be skating on! I cannot stress this enough, all terrain boards are much heavier duty than those intended for concrete surfaces. The latter are much lighter.
Follow these basics every time and electric skateboarding suddenly will become a far safer sport.
Choose Your Skate Location Carefully
As mentioned above there’s different kinds of electric skateboards that are configured for specific terrain.
- Urban/Park skaters should always beware of traffic! Cars are the number one reason for serious injury and don’t think that even a high powered electric skateboard can match a vehicle for acceleration. It can’t. In parks be careful and remember you’ll likely be going much quicker than the majority of skaters on site. Beware of collisions and start off slowly.
- All Terrain users should know the layout of their route, especially when going down rural and wooded tracks. Boards designed for this terrain are surprisingly heavy duty but will always be stopped by a heavy fallen tree or branch. A good piece of advice is to follow a route out first at a lower pace, then enjoy it a little more on the return route. Always be careful to keep a sensible distance from other boarders in your group.
This may sound like common sense but it’s one of the number one causes for injury. Being too casual about the risks even in a well known route or park is simply complacency. Respect other people around you, keep to your limits and be shy of vehicles and there’s no reason electric skateboards are much more dangerous. And another thing – there are places where riding an electric skateboard is illegal so make sure to check for signs before mounting your board!
Practice & Knowing Your Limits And Techniques Will Massively Reduce Injury
Being able to wipe out well is a major skill that all users should try to learn. Given the extra speed and dynamism that these boards can deliver, there’s a good chance that every wipe out will be pretty dangerous. Learn to fall not with elbows and knees, but in a rolling motion similar to that used by motorcyclists. Being able to fall into a natural roll at speed may deliver a few bumps and bruises, but that’s always preferable to broken bones.
Same goes for tricks. Electric boards aren’t cheap and it’s so very, very tempting to suddenly expect your’re going to be a magical skater. Not true – and over confidence will cause injury. It takes a while to get used to every type of board and these are no different. Take as much time as needed learning responsiveness, reaction speed and turning ability before taking on any great speeds. The point is not to get it right once or twice, it’s to get it right thousands of times – and following this advice will make you a better skater.
So were does all this leave us in considering the safety of electric skateboards? It should be pretty clear that the safety of the machine all comes down to the responsibility of the boarder. Providing you treat it with the respect it deserves and learn the techniques thoroughly, the chance of injury is massively reduced. Think of it like upgrading a car from a Volvo to a Ferrari. Temptation is going to be to ‘gun it’ on the first runaround, and that’s when accidents happen.
Follow the above advice and these are perfectly safe – yet powerful boards.