Riding electric rides like electric scooters, skateboards, and hoverboards is a very convenient and fun way of getting around.
However, you better use appropriate safety gear designed to protect you while riding because getting hurt is everything but fun.
So far, I’ve been able not to get seriously hurt. (Knock on wood!) Well, that depends. I did break a small bone in my foot a few summers ago. But it healed on its own… after a year.
Then it was that time when I fell and landed on the same thigh twice in 3 days. Albeit this was while skating in the park.
To the right is a picture of my sexy soar thigh.
Now, I am not trying to talk you out of riding. I am just showing you what can happen when you come ill-prepared.
But also note that there might have been a bit of stupidity involved too.
That’s why I created this comprehensive guide on electric rides & safety gear so that you know exactly what to use and when to use it.
It makes me very happy that you’ve found your way here. That means that you value your own safety, or you’re looking out for someone that you care for, perhaps even both.
Why use protective gear for riding electric vehicles
The above pie charts show the result of a research study completed by the University of California on the percentage of users injured and what type of injuries they suffered.
In it, young adults were clearly overrepresented. But we also need to keep in mind that those are also the targeted audience.
Out of the study also came the results that only 4.4% of people were wearing a helmet when the accident occurred.
I am quite used to falling, and it doesn’t scare me as much anymore, but that is mainly because I wear the necessary protective gear while riding today.
Getting injured means you will not be able to do the things you love. Many times these injuries could have been prevented with adequate protective gear.
Some of you might be lucky or just have a lot of experience with falling, to the point that you’ve actually gotten good at bailing and failing. Like I am (with exceptions).
I’ve done extreme sports and high-speed ones for over 20 years, and during that time, I’ve learned how to fall properly to the point where I can often avoid falling altogether or at the very least make the impact less hurtful.
Then we have those other times when I am less gracious and skilled at bailing, and those times often make up for all those times I’ve been able to avoid it in the past.
When those accidents happen, I am happy that I learned my lesson early on in life and started wearing a helmet and safety gear appropriate for the risk I am taking.
Those are the times you don’t want to be the “cool dude” who refuses to wear a helmet or any other protective gear because you think it’s uncool.
The most common injuries to riders
The graph above shows us the typical injuries that occur to people who end up in an electric scooter accident.
Remember a small bruise or sprain won’t make you go to the hospital, so these are based on people with serious injuries who were in need of hospital care.
The most common injuries that sent people to the hospital were bone fractures at 40.2%, but head trauma was not far behind with 31.7%.
When you know that. You understand that if you are serious about riding e-rides, you better also be serious about what type of safety gear you use.
I mean, we all fall eventually. It’s only a matter of when and how bad.
I want to quote myself here and tell you what I usually tell the kids that I teach skateboarding and electric rides to:
Smart people use helmets, stupid ones don’t. And that’s because they have nothing of value to protect.-Aridejunkie
Now let’s go through what type of gear you should use and how to decide when it’s enough because too much can also limit your movement and visibility.
Determining what gear to wear while riding electric rides
Knowing exactly what type of gear you should use isn’t as complicated as one might think. However, how much safety gear you want to be utilizing may differ depending on what you ride and how you ride it.
How well do you need to be protected?
Here are a few factors to take into consideration when you start looking at what safety gear you might need:
- What type of ride you’re using
- How fast you will be riding
- Your age
- Skill level
- Where you will be riding
Type of ride and how fast will you be going?
Probably the most determining factor of them all is how fast you ride, and second, comes what type of ride you’re going to use.
Depending on the type of rider you are, be it an adrenaline junkie or the average joe who never pushes past 15 mph, you need to suit up accordingly.
Some electric rides are harder to master, which means they also carry a higher risk of you getting into an accident.
For example, an electric skateboard that goes 40 mph has way less effective braking power than an equally fast electric scooter with dual disc brakes.
Not only that. A bump in the road can probably be handled with ease on the electric scooter, and if not, you have plenty of braking power and a far better-turning radius to avoid it.
There is about a 90% chance you are riding with smaller tires on an electric skateboard that won’t handle bumps or pebbles half as well as the electric scooter.
In addition to that, you have a much tighter turning radius and less effective brakes.
Just think about it. A small thing such as a pebble can set you off balance and really mess up your day.
In contrast, the scooter rider might not even reflect on the small pebble as a potential danger.
With the example above, if you are going to ride to work on Xiaomi m365 using the bike lane, then a helmet is sufficient to protect you from the most serious injuries.
Suppose you were to ride one of the faster models like a Turbowheel electric scooter with a top speed of 40+ mph. You would do best wearing a full-face helmet and a quality bike suit with built-in protection for your knees and elbows.
A normal helmet will probably shatter on high impact, or at best, protect you half as well as a full-face helmet.
Always wear a helmet!
It will mess up my hair. It’s too hot outside, I will get sweaty, and helmets aren’t cool to wear.
These are a few of the common phrases people use as their reason to avoid using a helmet.
The fact is, a serious accident will probably mess up more than just your hair, and having to sit in a wheelchair for the rest of your life probably doesn’t sound so cool either.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t push things to the extreme. It just means you should take every precaution you can while doing so to stay safe while having fun.
If I go the calm road to the store, at times, even I will skip the helmet when I’m riding a standard electric scooter. But with the skateboard, I never forget it.
On the skateboard, I know the odds of me getting injured are far higher.
I’m not saying that because I have some statistics on it. I’m talking from my own experience.
I have fallen very badly on most electric rides, it comes with the job.
This taught me that I am far more likely to get seriously hurt on a skateboard than on a bike or scooter.
I would bet you already have insurance, right?
A helmet is probably the cheapest insurance you can get for your head.
A rule of thumb is to make sure to wear a freaking helmet when you do things that could potentially mess you up for life.
I get a bit fired up talking about it.
I see kids every day riding around on scooters without a helmet, and I feel that we have to set a good example as adults.
This isn’t just for your own sake. Suppose someone would hit you by accident with a car, another PEV, or a bike.
If you then get seriously injured because you didn’t wear a simple life-saving device such as a helmet. The accident might end up ruining their life too.
Here are some facts to support my claims. In 2012 Michigan went from a universal helmet law to only requiring riders and passengers under 20 to wear a helmet.
This resulted in a 22% increase in claim severity due to motorcycle accidents, according to a study by IIHS.
Protecting yourself while riding a hoverboard
Hoverboards are mostly safe to use, even though people might think otherwise.
Their build is actually quite simple, and I consider it very easy to dismount even if you have to do it while riding.
With my hundreds of riding hours on a hoverboard, I have dismounted at speed quite many times.
Out of those times, I have fallen ill once and that was just a few bruises.
But when it happens, you’ll be thanking me for wearing the proper protective gear.
When you start to ride a hoverboard, there is always one type of protection you should never be without, a helmet.
If the hoverboard should malfunction, leaving you without its otherwise awesome self-balancing function. You could easily fall back and hit your head.
That can also happen when you’re new to them and haven’t gotten acquainted with riding a hoverboard yet.
That’s the thing with hoverboards.
You have to put your trust in the machine, be relaxed, and do smooth transitions with your body for you to control it perfectly.
Remember that hoverboards are very popular among kids, and apart from getting your kid the best and safest hoverboard, you will want to make sure they are well protected.
Feel free to acquire all the listed safety gear we recommend below so that a fun time outside doesn’t get exchanged for a visit to the doctor’s office and with it an often juicy bill.
Recommended protective gear for hoverboard riders:
- Knee pads
- Elbow pads
Protecting yourself while riding an electric skateboard
There are many different electric skateboard models, some top out at 10 mph, while some models can reach breathtaking speeds of up to 60-70 mph.
Depending on where you find yourself on the speed scale, you might want to cut out the full-face helmet to a standard one and perhaps skip the motocross suit. You’ll still have adequate protection for low-speed riding.
As a beginner, you’ve already paid a lot of money for your electric skateboard. Getting the proper safety gear comes at an additional cost.
That doesn’t mean you should cheap out on your electric skateboard protection. Generally, the more you spend on your ride, the more you should invest in your safety.
At the minimum start with some basic gloves, elbow pads, knee pads, and then top it off with a decent skate helmet.
Later on, as your riding evolves and you upgrade to a more powerful electric skateboard, you will want to consider upgrading your protection as well.
Recommended protective gear for electric skateboard riders:
- Full-face helmet/Helmet
- Elbow pads
- Knee pads
- Or skip both pads and get a motocross suit
Protecting yourself while riding an electric scooter
E-scooters are just like electric skateboards.
There are simple slow models like the Razor E90. Or you might have a far more extreme model, such as the NanRobot SLR7.
One can reach 55 mph while the other barely reach above 10 mph. That is quite the difference, and just as the speed varies, so does the need for protective gear.
Depending on what electric scooter model you have, you may want to get some upper-body protection and a pair of durable jeans.
Or you can go for the full motocross suit that has all the built-in protection you need to stay free from bruises.
If you’re worried about your kid who uses a small and simple scooter that only does a good 10 mph. Then don’t be.
Get them a good helmet, elbow pads, and knee pads. That will give them adequate protection. But most importantly of all make sure they get enough training under observation and within a safe area before letting them ride on their own.
For adults commuting, a helmet is often enough. However, if you want to push the limits, here is the protective gear that helps you stay safe while riding.
Protective gear electric scooter riders should use to stay safe:
- Full-face helmet/Helmet
- Elbow pads
- Knee pads
- Or a motocross suit with built-in pads
Be a good role model for others
I am not one of those guys that will tell you that those normal bike helmets look cool, they don’t, and that’s a fact. But some full-face helmets actually look really dope.
I myself have an egg-shaped head that has made looking good in a helmet nearly impossible.
Most bike helmets growing up just moved around on the top of my head and wouldn’t stay in place.
These days I go for the full-face helmet as it at least looks decent upon this old man’s alien-looking head.
When combined with a pair of neat ski goggles, I would even stretch it and say I look pretty darn cool. Perhaps it’s because you can’t see my face anymore.
Remember to not go for the motocross helmets as those are often much heavier.
You can see my full-face helmet recommendations here, all of them which are lightweight and very durable.
I have multiple helmets that I use depending on the occasion and what I ride.
If I go to the skatepark to ride, I use a normal skate helmet, which is light and gets the job done protecting my head’s rear.
I’ve fallen a bunch of times, and wearing a good skate helmet has saved me from more than a few concussions.
Who would I be if I told my kids to wear a helmet but then go out and ride 10 times faster without one?
A hypocrite, that’s 100% correct.
You are probably the coolest person in the world to your kids, at least until they’re around the age of 8.
You’re their superhero, for goodness sake!
If the superhero wears a helmet, then they will want one too.
Use your influence to your advantage and make them understand how cool it is to be safe.
I mean, there’s nothing cool with being dead, except literally.
The better you are at riding, the more influential you’ll be on not only your own kids but others around you.
That is why I tried to get all the best kids at our local skatepark to start using helmets.
I succeeded in convincing a few excellent older riders who have kids of their own.
The rest then followed suit.
Using protective gear is nothing but a great idea.
Just make sure you get gear that fits well. This is especially important when it comes to helmets.
I’ve written an interesting guide on what to consider when buying a new helmet. You can find my skateboard helmet guide here.
You should aim to be a role model for the younger and more insecure generations around you.
There are pretty cool helmets out there, and as long as you’re not an egg-head like me, you’ll be fine.
If I were to pick one protective gear for you to use, I would always pick a helmet.
But I strongly suggest that you utilize other protective gear too. The head is not the only vital part of your body in need of protection. Even though a broken arm or a leg might heal, it is quite a time-consuming process.
But overall, a helmet goes a long way.
I’m gonna finish it off by quoting myself again but formulated in a different way:
Only smart people wear helmets since they have something of value to protect.Aridejunkie
All I can do now is hope that you got some value out of reading this guide on safety gear and electric rides.
I wish you a fun, and more importantly, safe ride!