What You Need To Know About Hoverboards And Electric Skateboards

The most popular tech gadgets from the 1980’s movie Back to the Future have made their appearance in recent years. Though the pump-up sneakers were fun to try, nothing was as highly anticipated as the creation of the hoverboard.

The Hoverboard

Hoverboards today aren’t quite the same as the ones that Marty McFly cruised around on in the movies, but they were certainly popular enough for many people to purchase when they first came out. Sadly, there were many problems with some of the early hoverboards that caused injury and even death to some of their owners. The lithium batteries in many of the hoverboards were known to overheat and catch fire.

2 children in Pennsylvania were killed as a result of a fire that ripped through their home when the hoverboard exploded into flames. In 2016, over 500,000 hoverboards were recalled for the defective batteries. Though hoverboards are still available today, they are not as popular as they were when they first became available. Their speed often tops out at 13 mph on a high-end model, so they are often not as commonly used as an electric skateboard.

The Electric Skateboard

There is a difference between an electric skateboard and a hoverboard. Electric skateboards can have one wheel or four wheels and they don’t hover, but operate like a regular skateboard with a motor. Most electric skateboards travel at or near 20 mph, though some can go even faster. You might see them buzzing along the sidewalks, as they are very popular for their high speed and low physical demand. Some electric skateboards also faced the fire issues with their batteries, though not as many as the hoverboard faced.

The Law On Electrics

When it comes to the safety concerns with an electric skateboard, there are laws in effect created for the protection of the rider as well as those around them. If you are the owner of an electric skateboard, here’s what you need to know.

Florida law says that a motorized vehicle is that which has wheels, a max output of 750 W, and travels no more than 20 mph. They are allowed in bike lanes, on sidewalks, and must yield right-of-way to pedestrians. Using common sense here is essential for safety considerations. For example, avoid crowded sidewalks and areas congested with people. If motor vehicle traffic is exceptionally heavy, take extra precaution. There is no need to put you or someone else in harm’s way.

The Safety Precautions

When it comes to injuries sustained if you are in an accident with a motor vehicle while riding your electric skateboard, the same rules apply such as those pertaining to bicycle accidents with motor vehicles. Taking the safety precaution of using a helmet is essential as electric skateboard riders are more prone to severe head injuries, and even experienced riders are at risk. Yacht engineer Thomas Howell was killed in an electric skateboard accident in June despite his age (53) and experience on a board.

As for the issue of the potentially exploding lithium batteries, you should always keep an eye on the recall alerts with both electric skateboards and hoverboards. Knowing that they have caused problems in the past gives you an added responsibility to keep yourself informed to keep you and your household members safe from potential fire hazards.

The future is always changing, but the ability to use common sense and stay safe remains the same. Don’t let a careless maneuver or missed recall alert cost you your life.