All models of Onewheel self-balancing electric skateboards are being recalled after at least four deaths and multiple injuries were reported in recent years, according to federal regulators.
The Associated Press reports that about 300,000 of these skateboards have been recalled as of October 2023. These products were manufactured by California-based Future Motion. The problem is that these boards can stop balancing a rider if the board’s limits are exceeded, and this could increase the risk of serious crashes, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Details of the Onewheel Recall
Future Motion, which is headquartered in Santa Cruz, California, has received dozens of incident reports involving these skateboards, including four deaths between 2019 and 2021. Some incidents have also resulted in serious injuries such as paralysis, traumatic brain injury, broken bones, and ligament damage. The fatalities were the result of head trauma. In at least three out of four fatal incidents, the riders were not wearing helmets, CPSC reported. Anyone who owns one of these recalled skateboards is asked to stop using them right away.
The recall impacts all electric skateboards sold online and through independent retailers from January 2014 through September of this year. Future Motion is releasing a new safety feature called “haptic buzz,” which will be available through a firmware update. The company says riders can check if their board is eligible for the update and get more information via their app or website. Eligible consumers can arrange to receive a prorated refund as a $100 store credit.
Onewheel is urging consumers to not use Onewheel boards that are not updated or eligible for the firmware update, and asking that riders wear helmets. In November 2022, CPSC warned consumers to stop using Onewheel electric skateboards pointing to the reports of deaths and major injuries. However, at the time, CPSC said the company refused to agree to “an acceptable recall of the product.”
The Danger of Defective Skateboards
Defective skateboards pose a significant risk to riders of all ages. Skateboarding is a popular and exhilarating sport and mode of transportation for many people, but when skateboards are manufactured with defects or flaws, they can lead to a range of dangers that can result in serious injuries. In addition to manufacturing defects, flawed or defective skateboard design could also result in major injuries or even deaths.
Here are some of the most common hazards, particularly when it comes to skateboards that have manufacturing or design defects, or when the manufacturer has failed to warn consumers about the product’s hazards:
Structural weakness: One of the most common dangers of defective skateboards is structural weakness. When skateboards are poorly designed or manufactured using substandard materials, they can break or crack unexpectedly, causing the rider to lose control and potentially suffer injuries. Defects in the deck, trucks, or wheels can lead to catastrophic accidents, especially when performing high-impact tricks or riding at high speeds.
Wheel and bearing problems: If the board’s wheels are not securely attached or the bearings are of low quality, it can lead to a sudden loss of stability, causing riders to fall off the board. Moreover, defective wheels can lead to uneven wear and tear, making it challenging to control the skateboard, especially during turns or while riding downhill.
Grip tape issues: The grip tape on a skateboard deck is essential for maintaining the rider’s foothold. If the grip tape is improperly applied or of low quality, it can become loose or deteriorate quickly, leading to a loss of traction. Without proper grip, riders may have difficulty maintaining their balance and controlling their skateboard, resulting in accidents and injuries.
Truck failures: Skateboard trucks are crucial components that allow the board to turn and pivot. Defective or poorly designed trucks can malfunction, causing a loss of control and balance while riding. When trucks break or become unresponsive, riders may experience “wheelbite,” a situation where the wheels come into contact with the deck, leading to sudden stops and potentially severe injuries.
Hardware problems: The nuts, bolts, and screws that hold a skateboard together are vital components. If these hardware pieces are of low quality or not properly tightened, they can become loose, leading to an unstable and potentially dangerous skateboard. Loose hardware can result in wobbling or even a complete disassembly of the skateboard while riding, causing a high risk of accidents.
Uneven weight distribution: Some skateboard decks may have manufacturing defects that result in uneven weight distribution. This can make the skateboard unstable and difficult to control, especially for beginners or riders not accustomed to such issues. Uneven weight distribution can lead to sudden falls and accidents, often without any warning signs.
Lack of safety features: Defective skateboards may lack essential safety features that can help protect riders in the event of an accident. For example, a quality skateboard deck is designed to absorb shock and distribute impact forces. In contrast, defective skateboards may lack these safety features, increasing the likelihood of injuries when riders encounter rough terrain or unexpected obstacles.
How a Product Defect Lawyer Can Help
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a dangerous or defective product, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries, damages, and losses. Injured victims may be able to seek damages, including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. An experienced California product defect lawyer will be able to help investigate the defect, collect and compile evidence to substantiate your claim, and help you secure maximum compensation for your losses.