How to Ride Electric Skateboard – Step by Step Guide
As electric skateboards become more popular, people have started looking at them as more than just a toy for teenagers. More and more people use a remote control skateboard as their preferred personal transport. Not only are they perfect for traveling through congested urban areas, they are super fun to ride. You’ve probably already heard that the electric skateboard is easier to ride than a conventional one. But why is that? One reason is that traditional skateboards are built to slide around easily and can slide from under your feet, while electric skateboard have some resistance. Also, you don’t have to push yourself off to get going. You don’t have to carve, slide or put your foot down to stop (although knowing how to do this can help you when stopping at higher speeds, or if your brakes happen to fail)
OK, so you really do not have to learn how to ride a traditional skateboard before you can get on an electric one. However, if you have never ridden a board of any kind in your life, you need to start slowly. This is an instruction for beginners, but it can be useful even for those that already have some skateboarding skills. There is a nice little segment about riding safely in the end.
STEP 1. Make sure that you know how the remote works, and what do all buttons do. The electric skateboard is operated using remote control that controls acceleration, braking, and change of direction if the board allows it. You can find all the necessary information in the user manual that you got with the board.
STEP 2. Once you’ve figured out the controls, you can go on a test ride. Find a nice flat surface where you can test out your new board undisturbed. So, don’t go onto the street yet.
STEP 3. Put on your safety gear: helmet and elbow and knee pads. It’s not unusual for the beginners to fall, and you do not want to break a bone or injure yourself on the first ride.
STEP 4. Put one foot on the board. Gently pull a trigger / squeeze a button on your remote, to get a general feel of the direction and the propulsion of the board.
STEP 5. Step on the board and take a proper stance. The feet should be approximately shoulder-width apart. Your leading foot should be toward the front of the board, and slightly pointing in the traveling direction. That should make maintaining your balance easy.
STEP 6. Gently engage acceleration, and lean a little towards the direction of travel, bending your knees a little. Do not lean back while accelerating, because you can fall off.
STEP 7. Brake really gently and slowly. These boards tend to break hard and stop immediately, but you will continue to move forward and be thrown off.
Here is a nice gif explaining Newton’s First Law of Motion
STEP 8. Turning: To turn right, just lean your weight to the right. To turn left, lean to the left. Easy as that.
Step 9. – Building your skills: As long as you are riding e-skateboard you will be learning, just pace yourself and slowly build up your skills. Do not try to ride at top speed, until you are absolutely sure you can do it safely.
There are lots of videos on YouTube with advice for novice e-boarders. Like this one:
When you master the basics of e-boarding you can get on the road. Here is an amazing article about how you should ride your skateboard by an amazing group of DIY electric skateboard enthusiasts called A2ESK8. It is basically a list of rules for their members, but you will get some good advice from it. You can read it here, but you can also check out their Facebook group, especially if you live in the Ann Arbor area.
ELECTRIC SKATEBOARDING IS RISKY
No one wants to be a crash statistic, but the reality is there are thousands of crashes and deaths each year in all types of vehicles and even pedestrians. Practice and training is the only way to reduce the risk of these activities. Not all accidents are caused by the rider, so it is important to anticipate special situations and practice emergencies before you are forced to do it.
Risk acceptance can be thought of as a ladder with negative factors increasing the height and positive factors decreasing the height. Negative factors include: traffic, hills, little space to maneuver, potholes, loose gravel, water, cracks, debris, fatigue, increased speed, spectators. Positive factors include: preparation, coaching, inspection of the board, familiarity of the area, protective equipment. The consequences of accidents increase as you climb further up the ladder.
An accident can be thought of as a chain of negative factors. For instance: imagine you are late for work. You rush out the door with the board still a bit groggy. You are going a little faster than usual, and all of a sudden you don’t see the patch of loose gravel and go sliding off your board. There are several factors or links that came into play in this accident, and if anyone was taken out the chain of events would be broken and the accident may have not occurred.
A key trait of a good rider, is that they are constantly observing these potential situations and have a plan in mind so that if they had to execute; it would come naturally.
WEAR SAFETY GEAR
If you don’t have a helmet, you can’t ride with us. There are members who can spare extra helmets but it’s best to have your own that fits your head properly. Elbow pads and knee pads are highly recommended as well. The general rule is the more safety gear you own, the better.
YOU DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY
As electric skateboards become a legitimate new form of transportation we will begin to create new laws and guidelines to replace the outdated laws surrounding skating and motorized skateboards. For now though, in most places you don’t have the right of way in ANY situation. It is good to remember that, assuming you have the right of way can get you killed; a car will always win in a collision.
Avoid riding on the sidewalks whenever possible but if you have to, ride slowly and carefully. Foot stop before every corner. If you see pedestrians within 20 feet – especially young children or elderly, immediately turn off your controller, hop off your board and carry it. If we are going to positively represent this new form of transportation, riding obnoxiously on sidewalks is the easiest way to attract negative attention.
WHERE TO RIDE?
We should strive to follow all the rules and guidelines that safe bicyclists use when commuting. A large empty parking lot with smooth pavement and high visibility with little to no obstacles is the best place to eboard. Be sure to leave enough space between yourself, other riders and parked cars at all times.
NO ONE EXPECTS HOW FAST YOU’RE GOING
Pedestrians, cars, and bikes will pull out in front of you with alarming regularity! People haven’t seen electric skateboard riders that often. They will assume you are walking or on an unpowered skateboard and expect you to be going much slower than you actually are. You need to always take a defensive position and be ready to stop at a moment’s notice. This is a great reason why you should learn to footbrake for emergencies.
BE AN AMBASSADOR
Everyone is going to be watching you! Your behavior on the road could ultimately determine whether laws in your area are overturned in our favor, or enacted to limit any use of electric skateboards.
You represent all of us every time you step on your board. Every red light and stop sign you cruise through someone sees it. Every pedestrian you have a close call with may be calling their representative. If you are riding in a dangerous way, you might be the one that ruins it for all of us!
Instead promote good riding habits. Stop at lights and stop signs. Give everyone the right of way over you, cars, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Use hand signals to signal traffic or bicyclists where you are turning or if you are changing lanes. Ride in control!