There’s been a lot of controversy recently surrounding hoverboards. A lot of people prefer them to electric scooters or plain skateboards, and they offer a lot of versatility that a rider can’t get from something like a Segway.
The only issue is that this isn’t a question with a clear cut answer. It’s like asking whether or not a car is safe.
Determining whether or not a hoverboard is safe depends on the rider and a variety of factors that go into the use of the hoverboard, and it less likely relies on the hoverboard itself with a few exceptions.
Check the Speeds of the Hoverboard
The top speeds of hoverboards can be a little difficult to manage if the rider is inexperienced. Some higher end sport hoverboards go as fast as 11 miles per hour.
For an adult, that’s probably a great top speed, but children may experience difficulty controlling such a high top speed. If you’re unsure of your ability to navigate a fast hoverboard, start off with a slower model.
Children probably should never have a top speed hoverboard for safety reasons.
What About The Battery Pack?
You may have heard of some issues relating to Bluetooth enabled hoverboards. Some of them caught fire because the battery packs didn’t contain enough power to manage both the wireless functionality and making the board go simultaneously. Since then, Bluetooth hoverboards have been removed from the market, and some new standards have been put in place for battery requirements.
Always choose a hoverboard with a UL listed certified genuine lithium ion battery pack. Battery issues typically relate to inefficient, generic batteries.
Charge Your Board Properly
In order to maintain the integrity of the battery and prevent your hoverboard from overheating, you’ll want to avoid keeping your board connected to the battery charger for prolonged periods of time. Charging batteries generates heat, as you may have noticed with cellphone or laptop batteries. Since hoverboards don’t have a cooling system, this heat builds up inside and has no place to escape, which can potentially lead to heat damage or corrosion of the battery pack.
Charge your hoverboard to the manufacturer’s specification as it states in your owner’s manual. For most boards, this is within 30 to 90 minutes.
Charge your hoverboard in an area where you’ll be able to keep an eye on it, checking the heat every half hour. Never charge your hoverboard overnight or when you aren’t home. The risk of damage is low, but with the hefty price tag you’ve likely payed for your hoverboard, you’re better safe than sorry.
Use Proper Safety Equipment
The same rules apply to hoverboards as to any other sporting equipment. When riding a hoverboard, you’ll want to assure your maximum safety by wearing proper equipment.
This means helmets, knee pads, and elbow pads are a must – especially for beginner adults and always for children and teens. Just like with bicycles, scooters, and skateboards, accidents can happen.
Though you’ll be less prone to accidents once you become an experienced rider, especially if you’re only enjoying your hoverboard in safe environments, a hoverboard is no different from any other transportation device.
Just as you always wear a seatbelt in a car, you should take the proper safety precautions on your hoverboard.
Get Some Riding Practice
Never take your hoverboard near major roads or busy intersections until you’ve mastered handling it. Large indoor areas are generally good for practice space. Just make sure your practice area is free of debris or large obstacles you may collide into when you’re still learning the controls.
Some people claim to get the hang of their hoverboard within the first hour of use, but practice makes perfect.
Once you feel comfortable, start riding on the sidewalks of your neighborhood or around a community park. After a while, you’ll be able to build your confidence. You need to be able to master the controls of your acceleration, turning, and stopping before using your hoverboard near traffic or on trick ramps.
It may be exciting to start using your hoverboard in place of transportation, but slowly building up to that will give you a greater degree of safety and security.
Ride in a Safe Environment
Skate parks aren’t necessarily a safe place to ride, but people who have purchased hoverboards for performing tricks will want to give it a shot. As long as you’re comfortable and wearing the proper safety equipment, you’ll likely be alright to give that a go.
When riding hoverboards in grass or dirt, you’re going to want to avoid rocks, potholes, and bumps that can affect your balance and throw you off your board. Hoverboards navigate very short grass with relative ease, but riding in tall grass may create a problem for the wheels because they’re so low to the ground.
When riding your hoverboard on sidewalks, use caution. Always watch for cars. Never ride your hoverboard in the road to avoid the potential for automobile collisions. Some cities have regulations pertaining to where hoverboards are and aren’t allowed to be used, so check with your local community to establish what the standards are.
Maintain Your Hoverboard Properly
Scratches in the paint, as well as nicks and bumps, are common forms of cosmetic damage to your hoverboard.
Since you’re riding low to the ground, it’s somewhat unavoidable. Cosmetic damage isn’t anything to be concerned about – you should be more focused on what’s going on inside the board itself.
If you’ve hit any rough bumps or curbs, inspect your hoverboard to make sure it’s in working order. If one of the wheels seems off or you have any visible damage to your tires, don’t ride your hoverboard until you’re sure the damage is fixed.
If you have any doubts, take it in to a shop that offers hoverboard repair or contact the manufacturer about your warranty.
Most hoverboards come with a one year warranty, provided you take a few minutes to register your product online. Attempting to repair or modify a hoverboard yourself may void the warranty. Never take any chances.
Messing around with the wrong components can cause a costly mistake, and your only choice may be to purchase an entirely new hoverboard.
Invest in Hoverboards Wisely
There are budget hoverboard brands as well as their more expensive counterparts. Budget brands are best for children who will likely only use their hoverboard in the back yard or on the sidewalk in front of their home.
They aren’t meant for serious riding, and they’re certainly not intended for adult riders.
If you want a durable hoverboard that will work for a variety of different riders in a multitude of environments, you’d do better spending more money on a reliable board. You can’t grab a cheap board and expect it to live up to the same promises as a more expensive version.
Quality components and reliable construction may cost substantially more money, and in the end, you get what you pay for.
Be wary of manufacturers solely in China who sell hoverboards from overseas. While these boards are almost always less expensive, they aren’t regulated with the same safety standards that boards manufactured or retailed through a USA based company would be subjected to.
It’s worth some extra money for peace of mind and assurance that you’ve purchased a quality board.
Overall Safety Rating
Hoverboards are equally as safe as any other alternative mode of transportation. Most of the safety outcome relies on the rider and how responsible they are.
As long as you’re following the manufacturer’s recommendation, using your hoverboard properly, and gearing up with the right safety equipment, you should be fine.
Remember that children should always be supervised when riding hoverboards, and everyone should avoid using them recklessly.