RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Around 300,000 Onewheel electric skateboards are being recalled after reports of deadly crashes, but a software update is designed to make the boards safer.
Onewheels are becoming more popular in central North Carolina. Josh Christensen, with the nonprofit, Oak City Onewheel, says the Triangle is home to the largest racing festival in the world for Onewheels and other personal electric vehicles or PEVs.
Recently, Onewheel riders found out about a recall in which Future Motion, the maker of the self-balancing boards, and the consumer product safety commission said people need to stop using Onewheels until they download a software update to help prevent crashes.
This comes after they received reports of four deaths between 2019 and 2021 as well as additional serious injuries. The voluntary recall says if people “exceed the limits of the board,” they can be thrown off.
“Initially I was worried,” noted Onewheel rider, Evan Hoke. “Then I saw it was a simple update.”
With the new software update, the board alerts riders if they’re going too fast.
“It gives you a little more feedback as a rider so you’re much less likely to fall off,” explained Hoke, who downloaded the update right away.
A phone app connects to the board using Bluetooth technology.
“The board motor will vibrate and then you can feel that in the foot pads that you’re riding on top of,” explained Hoke. “It’s direct feedback to indicate you’re approaching the board’s limit maybe you should slow down and back off a little bit.”
“Just another way to keep us safer when we’re riding,” added Christensen. They say the update, which takes about 15 minutes to install, is one of several safety precautions riders can take. “We all wear helmets. We all wear a wrist guards and try to be safe,” noted Christensen.
Still, they say riders realize they’re taking a risk.
“We all know that there is inherent danger in this activity,” said Christensen. “There is inherent danger in any activity you do outside.”
The update is already available for some models, and should be available for most within six weeks, according to Future Motion’s recall notice.
The oldest models of Onewheels, Original Onewheel or Onewheel+, cannot get the new update and the company says riders should not use them. They can receive a discount on a newer model. For a look at the recall and more information on the updates for various models of Onewheel, click here.