What's Going on with the Onewheel Recall?
A devoted road and gravel cyclist and all-around gearhead, Josh has been riding and writing about electric scooters for the past five years. He’s generally happier on two wheels than two legs. When Josh isn’t writing or wrenching, he’s usually out on the road….
Future Motion Totally Recalls 300,000 Onewheels
In what has been framed as a shocking turn of events, 300,000 Onewheel e-Skateboards were recalled in the U.S. last week by their maker, Future Motion, due to four fatal accidents between 2019 and 2021.
Future Motion has agreed with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and taken immediate action to halt sales of these popular personal electric vehicles and take thousands more off the road, for now. The move comes after the company disputed earlier CPSC warnings in 2022.
The total recall does not apply to all Onewheel e-skateboards. Future Motion has asked owners of the original Onewheel and Onewheel Plus to stop using their boards entirely.
Owners of the Onewheel GT, Onewheel Pint and Pint X, and Onewheel Plus XR, however, should wait for a software update that will install a haptic feedback system to alert riders of a malfunction, power failure, or dangerously low battery situation.
The causes of the Onewheel failures are in dispute, and the company previously pronounced its vehicles safe and called CPSC’s 2022 warnings about their vehicles “misleading.”
All electric vehicles are subject to electrical and mechanical failures, and Onewheels are no exception, but Future Motion may not have addressed the issues as quickly as they should have.
In any case, riders of personal electric vehicles take on some risk on car-filled roadways. They should at minimum be responsible for shielding themselves in the event of a crash with helmets and protective gear.
Unfortunately, all four of the fatal accidents on Onewheels resulted from head trauma, and three involved riders who were not wearing helmets at the time.
Haptic feedback will signal to riders that they should safely slow down and come to a complete stop before the Onewheel hits its limits and fails.
Those who ignore this warning will presumably be liable for what happens next. Failing to heed the warning, says Future Motion CEO Jack Mudd, “can result in serious injury or death.”
Learn more about the Haptic Buzz feature, which Mudd credits to a year plus-long collaboration with the CSPC, in the video above.
Future Motion’s decision to halt sales and recall a few hundred thousand Onewheel boards shows their commitment to ensuring a safe riding experience for their customers.
A Setback for the Industry
The recall is definitely a setback for Future Motion, and the image of e-skateboards in general. The company has also halted all sales of Onewheels overseas until it can release its new warning system. But the recall is not the damning evidence against Onewheels or personal electric vehicles that has been suggested by headlines.
Zero deaths and injuries is preferable to any number, yet sadly every mode of transportation has its risks. The overwhelming majority of Onewheel riders have not been involved in severe or fatal accidents.
Haptic feedback system or not, conservative, defensive riding near car traffic on a Onewheel e-skateboard is the better part of valor for a brave endeavor. Always wear a helmet, and find out more about the Onewheel recall and next steps at the CPSC.