Onewheel Accidents and Injuries – How To Protect Yourself

onewheel with helmet for protection against accidents

There’s no doubt that Onewheel skateboards are a ton of fun. These electric skateboards offer a uniquely thrilling riding experience. However, riding a Onewheel can come with inherent risks that you should be aware of.

Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a complete beginner, Onewheel accidents can happen to anyone. Onewheels are electronic, motorized devices, meaning there may be some elements you cannot control.

Online you can find compilation videos, forum discussions, and even Facebook groups dedicated to sharing injuries caused by riding a Onewheel. But, how do these accidents happen, and what can we do to prevent them?

Common Reasons Onewheel Accidents Occur

There are a few common reasons why Onewheel accidents might happen to both beginner and advanced Onewheel riders and you should be aware of these to help you avoid serious injury or damaging your Onewheel.

Rider Error Cause Onewheel Accidents

One of the most common causes of Onewheel accidents is rider error. This includes things like not practicing enough, going too fast, or attempting a trick that’s beyond your capabilities.

Learning to ride a Onewheel device is a skill that can take time to master. If you are a complete newbie, you should expect some element of trial and error while you’re getting the hang of things.

Riding on trails and off-road before you have the necessary skills for this type of terrain is another cause of Onewheel accidents.

Onewheel PushBack Function

Another reason that Onewheel accidents can occur is when riders ignore the ‘Pushback’ functionality built into the Onewheel. When you ride your Onewheel you may feel the front of your board raise slightly by itself and it is programmed like this for a reason. This is known as “Pushback”, which is how your board signals that you are reaching the limits of your Onewheel.

This pushback function can kick in if you are nearing or exceeding the maximum speed limits, such as if you were going downhill. Pushback can also occur if your battery is running low, or is overcharged.

Onewheels feature regenerative braking, meaning the battery recharges as you go downhill, which can result in an overcharged battery.

If you ignore the Pushback warning and continue riding you could cause some serious Onewheel accidents, resulting in possible injury or damage to your board. Although, some riders have claimed this function has caused issues with their balance while riding, creating issues in itself.

Onewheel Nosedive Accidents

Something that can cause serious serious accidents is the board’s nosedive issue.

A nosedive is when the motor cuts off, resulting in the front of the Onewheel falling forwards mid-ride and into the ground nose first, which immediately halts all movement causing the rider to be thrown forwards off the board.

man riding onewheel with head protection

Onewheels are powerful machines, capable of reaching very high speeds. Now imagine an abrupt stop occurring while you are doing 32mph on your Onewheel GT.

This issue can and has caused life-threatening injuries. Luckily, we can sometimes avoid a nosedive by respecting the pushback feature. But, unfortunately, some riders claim this can happen as a default in the Onewheel itself and it seems like a nosedive can happen for no obvious reason.

Onewheel Ghosting

Onewheel Ghosting is described as when a Onewheel fails to deactivate after the rider dismounts and it continues to self-balance and drive forward until it hits something or tips over.

The reason is that the Onewheel internal programming is not working properly and both footpad sensors are not disengaging. These sensors tell the Onewheel that the rider is no longer on the Onewheel which is supposed to make it stop. However, if the sensors are not working and the Onewheel thinks the rider is still on the board it just keeps going and going. Sometimes this can occur at high speeds over 20 miles an hour until the Onewheel crashes or falls over onto the side of the skateboard.

This is a serious problem that occurs mostly on the Onewheel GT model but I have read that it happens with other Onewheel models like the Onewheel Pint or Onewheel Pint X. It’s serious because the Onewheel can run into a car, injure a pedestrian, or run into traffic and cause an accident, or even cause property damage. Not to mention seriously damaging your Onewheel board.

Runaway Onewheel: Uncontrollable Acceleration Problem

I have read on the forums of a recent issue that is serious and is causing Onewheel accidents. The Onewheel is supposed to slow down and stop when you apply pressure to the back footpad, however, there are many reports of the Onewheel gradually increasing speed and being out of control and the riders are not able to slow down or stop. When this happens the rider either crashes or is forced to jump off, both of which have caused reports of serious injuries.

This is another alleged defect of the current models which is being looked into and hopefully corrected on new Onewheel boards soon.

Now, we know Onewheel accidents can happen to anyone, even professional riders, and not always due to rider error. With this in mind, it is clear some accidents can occur which are out of the rider’s control.

There have been recent lawsuits again Future Motion Inc., makers of the Onewheel, for defective product as well as wrongful death lawsuits.

How To Be Safer On Your OneWheel

top of onewheel board with grip tape

OneWheel products, for the most part, has a very passionate customer base, some of whom have never faced the pushback or nosedive issues. With this in mind, there will still be people who choose to ride their Onewheels, even with the alleged defects outlined in the many lawsuits by riders seeking legal action, and reports of injuries.

There are safe riding practices you can follow to help make riding your board safer and avoid potential Onewheel accidents. Just be sure to keep in mind the possible risks and dangers before stepping on your board.

Firstly, listen to the pushback safety feature. If you feel your board tilting up slightly because you’re going too fast, or the battery is low on charge, do not ignore it. Pushback was created for your safety, so when it does warn you, be sure to slow down or stop.

One reason nosedives seem to happen is if the battery is overcharged, meaning it shuts off power to the motor causing sudden stops to avoid damage to the OneWheel. This of course isn’t ideal for the rider, so to avoid this do not ride downhill with a battery charge of more than 90%. This will help avoid the regenerative battery from over-charging itself.

Try and keep your body centered over the middle of the board, above the single wheel. Use your legs to apply pressure and avoid shifting your body weight over the front of the board. This can help reduce possible user-generated nosedives, which can be caused by too much weight being applied to the front of the board.

Weight is also something you should be aware of. There is a maximum weight allowance of up to 275lb (depending on the model), which includes any bags or items the rider is carrying. The heavier the load, the more pressure is put on the motor, which can lead to decreased capabilities, and the potential motor shut down.

The Onewheel features a handy app, which allows you to fully customize your riding experience. It is best to stick with the preset modes, specifically beginner mode, to avoid altering something which could cause you potential issues when riding.

Finally, keep an eye on your battery level, avoid doing maximum speeds, and always wear the correct safety equipment.

Onewheel Safety Gear

While you can’t stop the board from having possible errors, you can help eradicate potential injury by wearing safety gear every time you ride your Onewheel. It shouldn’t take any nasty Onewheel accidents to make you realize how important this step is.

man riding onewheel with safety gear

Here is some standard safety equipment all Onewheel users should own:

  • A helmet
  • Knee and Elbow Protectors
  • Wrist Guards
  • Appropriate footwear

Onewheel Accidents: Who Is At Fault?

It is clear that Onewheel boards are a uniquely cool item, and there is a huge fan base of users who have had no problems with their boards at all. But, we can’t ignore those that have had technical issues that resulted in severe injuries and even deaths.

Most accidents are user-generated and could be avoided with training and the injuries avoided with proper safety gear, while others are down to the potential defects which have been reported and hopefully resolved soon. Either way, OneWheel accidents are no joke and you need to ride with care. If you do hop on a Onewheel board, be sure to wear safety gear and know your limits.

Have you ever had a OneWheel Accident or do you have any questions, comments, or advice, let us know in the comments below?

Ride Hard, Ride Safe,

Graham and The Board Sports Team

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