In the world of personal transportation devices, the allure of one-wheel products is tangible. Sleek, compact, and seemingly futuristic, these products promise a new age of mobility. However, beneath the shiny veneer lies a hidden danger: the risk of over-acceleration and unexpected jumps. These issues have become a mounting concern, leading to numerous injuries creating questions about whether the products are safe.
The Mechanics of the Problem
One-wheel devices, like electric unicycles or hoverboards with a single central wheel, balance riders on a single axis. While this offers a unique and thrilling experience, it also comes with inherent challenges. To maintain balance, these devices use gyroscope technology. However, if there’s a glitch, miscalibration, or a sudden change in terrain, the device might react by over-accelerating or making an unexpected jump.
Injuries on the Rise
There have been increasing reports of riders getting injured due to these unexpected behaviors. Some of the injuries reported include:
- Fractures: Riders thrown off-balance can land hard, leading to broken bones.
- Sprains and Strains: The sudden jerk from an unexpected acceleration can stretch muscles and ligaments beyond their limits.
- Concussions: If a rider is thrown off and hits their head, even if they’re wearing a helmet, there’s a risk of a traumatic brain injury.
- Cuts and Bruises: These are the most common injuries and can range from minor to severe.
Several factors might contribute to these issues:
- Faulty Sensors: If the sensors that detect tilt or speed malfunction, the device might respond unpredictably.
- Software Bugs: Like any tech product, software bugs can lead to unexpected behavior.
- Inadequate Training: New riders might not be prepared for how the device responds to certain situations.
- Terrain Changes: Sudden changes, like moving from a flat surface to a slope, might confuse the device’s sensors.
CPSC urges consumers not to buy the Onewheel. If you already own one or purchased one, do not use it due to the ejection hazard. Report incidents with the Onewheel and any dangerous product or a product-related injury on www.SaferProducts.gov.