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Pump Your Electric Skateboard Brakes For Safety.

by Thomas Oliphant on April 11, 2020

Pump Your Brakes for Electric Skateboard Safety

There are two types of braking systems designed for electric skateboards. The handheld remote and 3D posture control. The most common of the two is a handheld remote style braking activation.

What we will be discussing here, in the unlikely event of electronic brake failure, is how to avoid one of the worst-case scenarios of electric skateboarding that have to lead to serious injury and even hospitalization of un-prepared riders.

This article is in no way a substitute for routine maintenance of the braking system. We will also touch on the braking system best practices for the maintenance of electric skateboard braking systems in this article.

To Start let’s discuss the panic run that oftentimes leads to road rash and serious injury. Jumping off a skateboard at high speed should be avoided at all costs but it is smart to prepare for the worst in the event of an emergency.

I will never forget the two times an unstable board, that got out of control at a high speed, forced me to jump off and run for my life. My heart began to pound with anxiety as I neared the limit of what I knew I could jump off the board and run to slow down. The boards I was riding at the time had no electronic braking systems. When I began traveling at a speed that was to fast for my skill level the board began to wobble wildly ejecting me into the air. Fortunately for me, both times that I was forced into panic run my legs were fast enough to stave off a face plant.

With the advanced technology included with electric skateboards, the miles per hour while traveling is displayed on most handheld remotes. With the built-in braking systems installed as a standard of boards made today, the need for emergency braking is infrequent or even never an issue with routine maintenance. If, for whatever reason, you are forced to make a decision to attempt to run out a board that is suddenly not underfoot, or not here are some helpful statistics to have in mind:

  • 8 mph is a normal pace for a runner
  • 13 mph running speed is considered fast for a short sprint run>
  • 15 mph is the speed necessary to run a four-minute mile
  • 27.8 mph is the world record held by Usain Bolt in the 100meter dash>

It is up to the rider’s discretion to ride at or below their skill level so do not tempt to ride an electric skateboard at a speed that exceeds your skill level.

It is always prudent when riding a skateboard, to practice and understand the proper manual braking techniques in the unlikely event of an electric motor brake malfunction. Again with proper maintenance, there should never be an issue but it is better to be safe than sorry. Here are some basic methods to learn so we as electric Skateboard riders can be safe:

  • Heel drag behind the board: place your back foot half on the back of the board and drag the heel of your shoe on the ground. This is damaging to your shoe but maybe what keeps a rider safe in an emergency.
  • Side of board foot drag: place you back foot on the road beside the board while applying gradual pressure to slow the board. This will wear out the sole of the shoe but with practice can save a rider from serious injury in an emergency.
  • Front and back power slide: This method of stopping takes the most practice but is effective if executed correctly. With your front foot over the front truck area of the board slowly swing the back of the board out to create friction and stopping power. The wheels may get flat-spotted but the flat spots can be fixed with a few smooth powerslides that do not get as far sideways.
  • Last but not least is the hands-down powerslide. This is popular among longboarders that are wearing gloves to protect their hands. Do not try this without gloves and learn by taking baby steps to build skill levels.

A quick tip about maintenance that will keep your board running great is to spray electric parts cleaner into the hub motors. WD40 routinely sprayed into the bearings keeps dirt and road grime from causing un-necessary noise and mechanical malfunction.

Always remember to wear a helmet, elbow pads, knee pads and gloves designed for skateboarding so that we can enjoy many years of safe electric skateboarding.