Electric skateboarding is an extreme sport. While many people use electric skateboards solely as a transportation device – opposed to regular skateboards, which are often used to perform tricks and stunts – there is still a high risk of injury compared to other modes of mobility.
According to the New York Times Blog, “More than four million injuries attributed to extreme sports occurred from 2000 through 2011, according to data collected by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.” Among the sports included in the study, “skateboarding caused the most head and neck injuries: more than 129,000 reported during the study’s 12 years.”
Given the risks involved, it is important to take as many safety precautions as possible before and during each ride.
To help you stay safe while shredding the streets, we’ve compiled the Definitive Guide of Electric Skateboard Safety Tips.
Electric Skateboard Safety Tips
Each day, before you step onto the board, you’ll want to give your gear a full examination. Listed below are some of the key points to inspect to ensure that your board is safe for riding.
- Are all the nuts and bolts tightened and secure?
- Are the wheels firmly in place?
- Are the bearings properly lubricated?
- Does the grip tape need to be replaced or is it still effective?
- Are the trucks securely fastened to the deck?
- Are there any cracks or chips in the deck?
If you’re going to fall (and you will), it’s much better knowing that it was your fault and not your board. I can’t imagine a worse scenario than blasting down a hill and noticing one of the wheels fly off into the distance. So keep things tight and enjoy the ride.
Helmet and Pads
Although nobody wants to wear a helmet or pads, they are necessary, especially if you intend to ride your electric skateboard on the road. As mentioned above, skateboarding accounted for more head and neck injuries than any other extreme sport from 2001-2011, so protect your dome!
The streets are crowded with cars, bikes, scooters, rollerbladers, and pedestrians. All of the above pose a potential threat to your safety. It doesn’t take much to fall off a skateboard. It will happen. Be prepared. And while pads may seem dorky they will save you a lot of pain. It is reflex to try and catch yourself when you fall and that’s the perfect recipe for a broken wrist.
If you value your bones, make sure to wear the following:
- Helmet with a chin strap
- Elbow and knee pads
- Wrist guards
Proper footwear is crucial to a successful electric skateboarding experience. Leave your heels at home and make sure to wear rubber-soled sneakers with solid ankle support. Remember, the only force keeping you attached to your electric skateboard is friction, so work with it, not against it.
Reflective Clothing at Night
As people continue to live longer lives, there are more and more elderly drivers behind the wheel. As someone who’s grandmother still drives, this is incredibly frightening, especially at night.
Make sure to wear reflective orange clothing when riding your board after sunset, both for yourself and for grandparents everywhere. Getting clipped from behind by a near-sighted Cadillac driver is a guaranteed way to ruin a fine evening.
Be Wary of the Road’s Surface
Even in the age of urethane wheels, gravel remains a skateboarder’s worst enemy. Toss into the mix some sidewalk cracks, potholes, litter and other debris, and you have one dangerous obstacle course.
Take the time to examine the surface before riding. Make sure the road is properly paved and smooth.
Lastly, only hop on your electric skateboard if the road is dry. Never skate on a wet road. Not only will water potentially gum up the works of your motor, but it will also mess up your grip tape and cause it to lose stickiness. Keep it dry.
Assess Your Surroundings
When riding your electric skateboard you will want to keep all of your senses open. That means no ear buds or vision reducing glasses. If a car beeps the horn or a pedestrian yells out to alert you, you will want to be aware and receive this information.
Follow the laws
As with all new technologies, the laws that govern electric skateboards are under constant revision and exist largely without precedent.
According to ehow.com, “Federal law does not permit or limit the riding of electric vehicles in the US, rather individual states govern riding laws…” “Several states outright refuse sidewalk access to such vehicles. Some states require electric skateboards to follow bicycle laws… Several states allow such vehicle operation on private property only. While states allow such electric skateboard vehicles access, local laws may prohibit these vehicles in cities, counties, or municipalities.”
Before riding, brush up on your local laws and abide by them. Failing to do so could put you, other drivers, and pedestrians at risk of injury.
Give Yourself Time to Stop
Electric skateboards are capable of going extremely fast. Operating the brakes via hand remote is a skillset that requires practice. While getting acquainted with the sport, make sure to give yourself plenty of leeway and space to slow down. If you stop to quick you run the risk of flying off your board and hurting yourself.
Don’t be a Hero
Just because you can do a 360 McTwist in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater does not mean that you can actually do one in real life. 26% of skateboarding injuries are the result of a failed trick attempt. Know your abilities and know your limits. Don’t try to be impressive and perform tricks beyond your abilities. In short, don’t be a hero.
Be One with the Fall
Falls will happen. That is a guarantee. In order to prevent injury you want to fall the right way.
If you feel your knees beginning to wobble and are aware of an impending crash, crouch down and let the fleshy parts of yourself take the hit. Once you make contact with the ground, don’t try to stop yourself. This will only result in brush burn from skidding. What you want to do is roll and avoid tensing up. Remain relaxed (I know, easier said than done) and let your body naturally come to a stop.
Now that you’ve got the definitive electric skateboard safety tips under your belt, it’s time to strap on your helmet and pads, hop on your Genesis electric skateboard, and get riding! Be safe!