Hoverboards were the surprise electronics hit in 2015 and many children and adults rushed to get their own 2 wheel self-balancing scooter. But then concerns about the safety of the batteries meant hoverboard were temporarily banned from sale in the United States. Since then new rules and regulations were introduced and hoverboards are back on the market again. Even with safer hoverboard options available, many people are still wondering if hoverboards are safe, how to ride them safely, and if they need hoverboard safety gear. This article answers all of those questions for you. (Check out this article if you want to find out how hoverboards work.)
Are Hoverboards Safe?
In all honesty, hoverboards are about as safe as riding a skateboard or wearing a pair of rollerblades. There is a learning curve and a user’s safety and ability to ride without crashing increase with experience. Safety of riding a self balancing electric scooter is also determined with how it’s used and where. There’s more risk if you’re trying to do tricks in a skate park versus riding on the sidewalk in the park to catch Pokemon.
As far as the safety of the hoverboard itself, concerns over exploding batteries and fires have been taken care of by new legislation. All hoverboards sold in the United States must undergo electrical and fire safety testing and receive certification under UL 2272. (Learn more about the certification) These high standards mean the hoverboards on the market are much safer and should not have issues with overheating or fire if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Just like with a skateboard, rollerskates, or a bicycle, your safety increases if you use proper safety gear. Keep reading to find out our recommended safety gear for riding a hoverboard.
Hoverboard Safety Tips
If you’re brand new to riding a hoverboard, learn how to ride a hoverboard.
Make sure that any hoverboard you buy has the proper UL 2272 certification (you can verify this on the UL website).
Always follow the manufacturer’s recommended charging times. Do not overcharge and make sure to charge your hoverboard away from flammable materials. Do not charge your hoverboard over night.
Learn to ride your hoverboard on a level surface away from car traffic, bikers, skateboarders, and other hoverboard users. Good locations are a home driveway or an empty parking lot. When you’re first starting, it helps to use a fence or railing that you can hold onto to stay balanced.
Ride on your hoverboard on the middle of your foot (not too much on the toe or heel) and stand with the widest stance possible. This will help you keep your balance.
Step backward to unmount your hoverboard. If you try to step forward, it increases your chances of falling.
Make sure you always stand up straight and look ahead when you ride. Do not look down at your feet.
Know your local laws for hoverboard riding. In some places, it is illegal to ride them on public property, sidewalks, or streets.
Always wear personal protective gear when riding your hoverboard (see our suggestions for hoverboard safety gear below).
Hoverboard Safety Gear
The best way to ensure safety from injury while riding a hoverboard is by wearing recommended safety gear. Many of these items are similar to what you would wear while riding a skateboard or using roller skates so the gear is usually easy to purchase. Remember that extra gear should be used when riding early in the morning, and also in the evening and at night to increase visibility.
Helmets for Hoverboards
Kids are advised to wear helmets while hoverboarding. adults and teenagers probably couldn’t go wrong by wearing helmets too–especially if they’re planning on hoverboarding on uneven surfaces or doing tricks on ramps, etc. Helmets come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and designs, like this Star Wars R2D2 helmet, pictured.
When you shop for helmets, you don’t just want to look for the colors you like. Make sure the helmets meet current safety standards and are made for multi-sport purposes (like skating or skateboarding).
Protective Pads for Hoverboards
Hoverboarding kids and anyone doing tricks on hoverboards will also need a set of skateboarding protective pads. Adult riders, especially those using their hoverboards for commuting in heavily trafficked areas, should also consider wearing knee and elbow pads to protect them in the case of a fall or collision.
Protective pads are usually sold in sets, marketed toward roller skating or skateboarding. These work great for hoverboarding as well. The pictured child-size set comes with knee guards, elbow pads, and wrist protectors, which are the main types of protection you’ll need in addition to your helmet.
Hoverboard Safety Lights
If you or your children are riding their hoverboard where cars or cyclists are nearby, it’s essential to utilize some sort of safety lights to increase visibility and avoid accidents. Even if you don’t ride at night, inclement weather and fog can reduce visibility and endanger you near roads and on park paths. Some hoverboards have LED lights on them for nighttime safety and visibility, but not all of them do. And some hoverboards that do have lights only have lights on their front, not the back of the unit.
There are a variety of safety lights available that work great for hoverboarders. Anything made for cyclists or runners can easily be used when riding a hoverboard. We recommend having lights on your lower and upper body, as well as in front and in back of you so you’re fully visible to anyone. Shoe lights (like those pictured to the right) or hoverboard shoes are a great option for anyone who has a hoverboard that doesn’t have LED lights or only has lights on the front.
To light your upper body, you can choose from either clip-on lights, LED glow bracelets, or even a glow belt. We break down the different types of lights available in our article on hoverboard safety lights and visibility gear.
Need to buy a hoverboard for yourself or a family member? Check out our recommendations for safe hoverboards.
Still not convinced you want a hoverboard? Explore safe hoverboard alternatives.