E-Skateboard Crash Investigations Expert Article

The use of e-skateboards and self-balancing, single-wheel skateboards has become increasingly prevalent among both children and adults. Likewise, injuries and incidents related to this equipment have also become more common.

In this article, skateboarding expert Benjamin Wixon addresses rider actions, proper usage, maintenance, and other factors that are considered when investigating an e-skateboard incident.

E-skateboard Expert Witness Investigations

Electric Skateboard Rider Actions & Responsibilities

When e-skateboard injury incidents occur, the first question to ask is if the rider was using the product in a reasonable manner.

All riders should be familiar with: 

  1. How to use their e-skateboards for its intended purpose
  2. Riding within their individualized abilities
  3. Wearing a helmet, along with other recommended safety gear when appropriate

When not being used, e-skateboards should be properly maintained.

In places like public parks, plazas, and even skateparks, e-skateboarders should follow applicable rules and/or regulations. When an e-skateboard is being used on roadways, bike paths, sidewalks, or boardwalks, the rider should understand and follow local laws and codes. This is not only important to protect the user from injury, but can protect them from responsibility in litigation if involved in a collision with a motor vehicle or pedestrian.

In addition, while riding e-skateboards, and in the event that a rider should experience interruptions in the connection between the wireless hand control and the e-skateboard, the user should be prepared to operate the board without a remote hand control and have reasonable skills to navigate and stop the skateboard by using their own physical abilities. 

E-Skateboard Design & Engineering Considerations

As these vehicles are utilized for a variety of different purposes, the design and engineering across brands and models can differ greatly. E-skateboards and self-balancing single-wheel skateboards may be designed for commuting, recreational use, or all-terrain. Because of these different purposes, it is essential to analyze all the instructions and warnings from the manufacturer to help determine if the product was being used correctly. 

An e-skateboard with a specified use such as commuting may come with warnings about jumping onto the board and riding off of common obstacles like curbs and gutters. In contrast, many all-terrain models are intended to be ridden off-road, over jumps, and can even be used to perform tricks and stunts.

Most e-skateboards come with warnings against their use around water. Although many e-skateboards are designed to be water resistant, most are not waterproof, and the batteries and electronic components are vulnerable to damage from moisture. Water damage can lead to component failures and irreversible damage.

Aside from the risk of internal damage to the skateboard, riding any type of skateboard on a wet surface can increase the risk of slips and falls.

E-Skateboard Product Failures

Common product failures seen with e-skateboards and self-balancing single-wheel skateboards can include unexpected braking or failure to brake, loss of power, or unexpected acceleration. Additionally, a board may not turn properly, have a remote control that fails, have a failure in construction, or have a flaw in design or manufacturing. If a product defect or failure is suspected, an investigation by a qualified engineer may be necessary to determine the root cause of the problem.

Most e-skateboards come pre-assembled and ready to use. Skateboard conversion kits, additional components designed for safety, performance upgrades, and part replacements are also available. If an e-skateboard is assembled incorrectly, or aftermarket parts are used, there is a greater likelihood of injuries caused by failure or malfunction. 

When a product defect is suspected, it is important to determine if the e-skateboard was assembled by an authorized retailer or by the manufacturer. If it was assembled on-site at a dealer, the work should be completed by a qualified technician. The vendor should also fulfill requirements for safe assembly and follow protocols to ensure the product is functioning correctly.  

E-Skateboard Rentals

Rentals, lessons, and tours may also be offered for e-skateboards. Although services exist that can connect consumers with individual renters, this practice is controversial due to potential underlying issues that may include mechanical defects or inadequate maintenance. These vehicles should be rented from a qualified service that has been performing and documenting the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance.

Mobile apps are available for some e-skateboard models that can provide data like usage history and total distance traveled. It is recommended that these apps be utilized whenever possible.

E-Skateboard Injury Expert Witness Investigations

At Robson Forensic, experts in skateboarding, vehicle engineering, electrical engineering, product design, and material failure analysis can provide a comprehensive forensic approach to personal injury and product liability investigations involving e-skateboards and other self-propelled vehicles.

To connect with the expert best suited to your case, submit an inquiry or call us at 800.813.6736.

Featured Expert

Benjamin Wixon, Skateboarding Expert & Professional Educator

Benjamin Wixon, M.A.Ed.

Skateboarding Expert & Professional Educator
Ben Wixon is a skateboarding expert, recreation professional, and certified teacher with more than twenty years of experience providing guidance, instruction, and support to skateboarders, recreation… read more.

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