CPSC: The Deadly Dangers of Hoverboards, E-Scooters and E-Bikes
November 9, 2022
According to a recent press release from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), e-bike, e-scooter, and hoverboard injuries and fatalities are on the rise. In commemoration of last month’s National Fire Prevention Week, the commission is reminding Americans with micromobility products to be cautious and safe while using them.
E-scooters, e-bikes, and hoverboards have become increasingly popular in recent years. Used by teens and adults alike, individuals favor these micromobility products for commuting to school or work or simply for having fun. Along with their growing popularity, however, comes some concerning hazards. The top three hazards associated with micromobility products are incidents with motor vehicles, user-control issues, and fires. From 2017 to 2021, the CPSC observed a 127% spike in injuries. Altogether, the commission received reports on 267,700 incidents involving emergency department visits. In addition to the injury reports, the CPSC is also aware of 129 fatalities during that same time period. E-scooters accounted for 68 of the deaths, hoverboards for eight, and e-bikes for 53.
Hoverboards accounted for the majority of the emergency department incident reports received by the CPSC (121,300), while the commission estimates that e-scooters came in as a close second at 117,600. The remaining 11% of reported injuries during the four-year span involved e-bicycles. The CPSC investigated several of the e-scooter, e-bike, and hoverboard incidents, and observed the following noteworthy hazard patterns:
- Brake issues including brakes not engaging at all, sporadically engaging, or engaging excessively
- Fire hazards. Most issues with fires occurred while charging or after charging the micromobility product but in some cases, a fire occurred during use or immediately after use. Some users were unable to power down their products, causing them to smoke and catch fire
- Unexpected power loss
- Multiple product-related issues like brakes malfunctioning, control panels catching fire, throttles getting stuck, and device wobbliness
- Miscellaneous product-related issues, like a foot or handlebar coming detached or breaking
- Electrical hazards, like a hoverboard spinning out of control at a high speed, spinning in circles or on one side, throwing off the rider, or crashing into fixed objects
- Some e-bike users reported structural issues and/or design defects. One user reported that they were riding their e-bike when the pedal and crank assembly separated from the frame, causing the rider to fall off
Safety Tips to Mitigate Hazards
Over the last few years, fire departments across the country have voiced their concern with the lithium-ion batteries that hoverboard, e-scooter, and e-bike manufacturers typically use in their products. To reduce fire-related hazards associated with this type of battery, the CPSC recommends that consumers observe the following safety tips:
- Always be present when you are charging your device that uses a lithium-ion battery. Never charge e-bikes, e-scooters, and hoverboards while you are sleeping
- Only use an approved replacement battery pack
- Only use the charger that the manufacturer sold with your device
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper charging and be sure to unplug the device when you are finished
- Never use a e-mobility device with a battery pack that has been modified or reworked by unqualified personnel or that has re-purposed or used cells
- Never throw a lithium-ion battery in the trash or general recycling. Instead, take them to your local battery recycler or hazardous waste collection center
The other primary hazards that micromobility consumers face are user-control problems and collisions with motor vehicles. Here are the CPSC’s recommendations for e-bike, e-scooter, and hoverboard users:
- Always wear a helmet
- Before going out on a ride, check your device for damage. This includes examining the handlebars, brakes, throttle, bell, lights, tires, cables, and frame
- Be sure to see and be seen. Most of the fatalities that occur involve automobile crashes. Since micromobility products are small, silent, and fast, it makes it hard for other people on the road to see you, particularly in structures or in parking lots
- Assume that vehicle drivers and pedestrians will not see you; slow down and be aware of your surroundings
- Use your device’s bell or horn to alert others
- Avoid making unpredictable or sudden movements
- Beware of obstacles in your path
- Always keep both hands on your device’s handlebars and do not put items on them
- Slow down and lean back if you are riding over a bump
- Never ride if you are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
- Only one person per device; having additional riders increase the risk of the severity of the collision
- Follow all manufacturer directions, review the safety information and identify weight and age limits for all micromobility products
Unsafe Products: When You Should File a Products Liability Lawsuit
Every year, thousands of innocent consumers sustain injuries because of unsafe or defective products. Although manufacturers, suppliers, and sellers have a legal responsibility to produce and sell safe and reliable products, far too many sacrifice consumer safety in favor of raking in profits. When a product like an e-bike, e-scooter, or hoverboard causes an injury due to an unsafe design, a manufacturing defect, malfunction, or the failure to provide proper instructions or warnings, the victim should consider filing a products liability lawsuit.
At Galfand Berger, our attorneys have decades of experience representing victims who were injured by dangerous or defective products. Here are some examples of similar cases our attorneys have litigated on behalf of their injured clients:
- As one of the largest settlements of its kind, Senior Partner Richard Jurewicz obtained a $6 million settlement in a case involving a nine-year-old boy who was blinded by an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) handlebar that punctured his left eye socket during a riding incident. Click this link to read more about this recovery.
If you or one of your loved ones sustained injuries related to a defective e-bike, e-scooter, or hoverboard, someone at our firm can help. To learn more, contact a representative online now.
Philadelphia Products Liability Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP, Representing Injured Victims Since 1947
If you have a question about filing a legal claim, contact the Philadelphia products liability lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP today. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.