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Alexa

What causes most accidents?

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Hi all! 

I joined this forum in hope to get some insight on why accidents happen with electric unicycles. I have no experience with them and am doing a little project on whether electric self-balancing devices, motorized skateboards, etc. should be legalised in public areas (in Switzerland) or not.  So, here are my questions:

1. Whenever you had an accident, which category would you place yourself in?  (It would be helpful if you could shortly state what happened as well)
A. self-inflicted, no one else included
B. self-inflicted, other people included (e.g. lost balance in public area and crashed into pedestrian?)
C. device failure
D. other party caused the accident

2. What kinds of injuries did you attain? Was a visit to the hospital needed? How long did it take to fully regenerate?

3. If it were legalised, would you say, that certain protective gear such as a helmet, wrist guards and knee pads should be mandatory?

4. Is it safer to drive on pedestrian walkways, bicycle lanes or the open street? What should the speed limit be for each of the options?

I am thankful for every answer!

Cheers, Alexa

Edit: If you can spare 5 minutes of your time, please fill out the following survey: https://evaluation-app1.let.ethz.ch/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=78L1n561
The link is also in another thread I have created - just in case you have already come across it. ;)

Edited by Alexa
Addition of survey link

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The most common reason for unexpected tumbles for me is catching something with the pedal or the foot. I had no injuries beyond bruises (using no protection gear) and no device failures within 4000 km on 3 different EUCs. Making helmets mandatory would probably be the death penalty for wide usage of EUCs in transportation, while it would be less prohibitive for leisure use. We can see this effect with bicycles. We probably should aim for two categories: EUCs with a speed limit of, say, 25km/h and those who can go faster. For the former I would be in favour to also allow them on sidewalks, for the latter I would be in favour of making helmets mandatory.

Whether it is safe depends to a large extend whether the speed is adjusted to the situation. I think the question is pretty much the same as for cycling and you won't be able to get a more reliable answer without a large amount of representative empirical data. Safety also depends to quite some extend on which country you are living in. In the best case cycling without helmet is no more dangerous than walking without helmet, per traveled distance. On sidewalks I don't think one should go faster than, say, 15km/h, but legislation will usually require a limit of 6km/h. 

You might also have a look at this thread: 

EDIT: during the first 500km-or-so I had a few near misses and gentle touch-hits with pedestrians, bicycles, and skateboards. I apparently have learned by now to even avoid near misses, not sure if it is improved riding skill or prediction ability, probably both.

Edited by Mono

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1. The only meaningful accident I had was the one day I forgot my wrist braces, then face planted down at Dover Docks by not seeing a pothole in time. My fault alone - wasn't paying enough attention to terrain, but the accident didn't affect anyone else, other than my band-mates, who had to work hard to replace me.

2. That sprained both my wrists and I was off work (session pianist) for 3 months. No hospital necessary, and no injuries to anyone else, but it was a good lesson - I have never gone out without wrist braces since, and they saved me a good few times after that...

3. Wrist braces are the only thing I believe should be mandatory, but the powers that be will find it very difficult to accept that without also insisting on helmets, which I think are unnecessary. But I am in the minority there - lots of people rate helmets as being most important.

4. All the best and smoothest riding surfaces are usually on the open road, but then you are dealing with heavy traffic, and can't typically see behind you, and no EUC is 100% error-free, so that is properly dangerous to be riding in traffic. If your machine folds under you for any reason, and you are in prime, with a car behind you, then I would imagine that it is very unlikely that the car can stop until it has run right over the back of you.

So, I only ride on roads if they are totally empty of traffic, or little quiet backstreets where you only see the odd car.

The pavement / sidewalk on the other hand, is a much safer place to be simply because you are the fastest thing on it, nothing ever overtakes you from behind, you have some leeway if you have an accident, and might not fall directly into the road, which is all to the good. And then there's 'relatively legality' :) 

If you are caught riding prime on a busy road in a country where EUC's aren't legal, then I would posit that that is a legally indefensible situation, whereas riding on the pavement with obvious consideration and courtesy for others, is, in theory at least, a lot more defensible in court, should it come to that...

However, pavements are usually a lot bumpier than roads, you have to go more slowly, and of course they sometimes have pedestrians on them, who move very slowly, and sometimes take up the whole path, so you need some sort of warning system to let people know you are coming (see finger bell), and allow them to move and let you pass.

So in summary: pavements and cycle paths are where you want to be riding until such time as the powers that be accept that EUC's could be be safe for road use.

CBR

Edited by Cerbera

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Depends what you mean by 'accident.'

Obviously eucs have a steep learning curve, so if you define 'accident' as simply losing balance/falling off, then the biggest cause BY FAR is simply beginners not having a high-enough skill level to balance and turn consistently.

If however by 'accident' you mean a sudden, serious anomaly that stops an experienced rider's motion, it's almost certainly a BMS Cutout/low battery cutout/etc  (Option C)

Edited by Paddylaz

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I have been fallen 3 times by sudden shut down of my Ninebot during the ride. This is clear category C. Cause is the battery controller which falsely detected an overvoltage and switching the EUC off without any warning. I replaced the accumulator (with this automatically the controller) with one from the 1Rad Werkstatt. Since then the Ninebot is running fine. The original one is really scrap.

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2 hours ago, Paddylaz said:

If however by 'accident' you mean a sudden, serious anomaly that stops an experienced rider's motion, it's almost certainly a BMS Cutout/low battery cutout/etc  (Option C)

Bms's nowadays dont shut down our wheels anymore! If a cutout occurred its mostly from overpowering the main board-going to the end of cycle/max speed....that is not the BmS ...its the board which stops working....

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5 minutes ago, KingSong69 said:

If a cutout occurred its mostly from overpowering the main board-going to the end of cycle/max speed....that is not the BmS ...its the board which stops working....

Yet, the rider is to blame for this for not respecting the limitations of the wheel.

I think most accidents are caused by unawareness of the rider or overconfidence.

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9 hours ago, Mono said:

The most common reason for unexpected tumbles for me is catching something with the pedal or the foot. I had no injuries beyond bruises (using no protection gear) and no device failures within 4000 km on 3 different EUCs. Making helmets mandatory would probably be the death penalty for wide usage of EUCs in transportation, while it would be less prohibitive for leisure use. We can see this effect with bicycles. We probably should aim for two categories: EUCs with a speed limit of, say, 25km/h and those who can go faster. For the former I would be in favour to also allow them on sidewalks, for the latter I would be in favour of making helmets mandatory.

My only serious fall (dislocated shoulder) was from catching the pedal on a curb.  I had a helmet on (I'm glad because the helmet did touch the cement).  If I had worn a proper protective jacket, I would not have dislocated the shoulder, so I now suit up with a helmet, light motorcycle jacket and light gloves (all pictured)

Screen Shot 2017-02-19 at 6.59.31 PM.png

Screen Shot 2017-02-19 at 6.58.44 PM.png

Screen Shot 2017-02-19 at 6.58.10 PM.png

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8 hours ago, Cerbera said:

1. The only meaningful accident I had was the one day I forgot my wrist braces, then face planted down at Dover Docks by not seeing a pothole in time. My fault alone - wasn't paying enough attention to terrain, but the accident didn't affect anyone else, other than my band-mates, who had to work hard to replace me.

2. That sprained both my wrists and I was off work (session pianist) for 3 months. No hospital necessary, and no injuries to anyone else, but it was a good lesson - I have never gone out without wrist braces since, and they saved me a good few times after that...

3. Wrist braces are the only thing I believe should be mandatory, but the powers that be will find it very difficult to accept that without also insisting on helmets, which I think are unnecessary. But I am in the minority there - lots of people rate helmets as being most important.

4. All the best and smoothest riding surfaces are usually on the open road, but then you are dealing with heavy traffic, and can't typically see behind you, and no EUC is 100% error-free, so that is properly dangerous to be riding in traffic. If your machine folds under you for any reason, and you are in prime, with a car behind you, then I would imagine that it is very unlikely that the car can stop until it has run right over the back of you.

So, I only ride on roads if they are totally empty of traffic, or little quiet backstreets where you only see the odd car.

The pavement / sidewalk on the other hand, is a much safer place to be simply because you are the fastest thing on it, nothing ever overtakes you from behind, you have some leeway if you have an accident, and might not fall directly into the road, which is all to the good. And then there's 'relatively legality' :) 

If you are caught riding prime on a busy road in a country where EUC's aren't legal, then I would posit that that is a legally indefensible situation, whereas riding on the pavement with obvious consideration and courtesy for others, is, in theory at least, a lot more defensible in court, should it come to that...

However, pavements are usually a lot bumpier than roads, you have to go more slowly, and of course they sometimes have pedestrians on them, who move very slowly, and sometimes take up the whole path, so you need some sort of warning system to let people know you are coming (see finger bell), and allow them to move and let you pass.

So in summary: pavements and cycle paths are where you want to be riding until such time as the powers that be accept that EUC's could be be safe for road use.

Great suggestions Cerbera!  I put helmets before wrist braces (I play the piano too, but by day am a business professor, so perhaps the reason for my particular priorities :))    In Chicago, I typically take bike paths, and have the same problems with Chicago's bike trails on an EUC as I do on a bike.  My favorite, and most comfortable trails are the lakefront trails, and typically, I travel up and down these trails (which parallel Lakeshore Drive) and then move inland when I am far enough North or South.

Screen Shot 2017-02-19 at 7.08.01 PM.png

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3 hours ago, Chris Westland said:

My only serious fall (dislocated shoulder) was from catching the pedal on a curb.  I had a helmet on (I'm glad because the helmet did touch the cement).  If I had worn a proper protective jacket, I would not have dislocated the shoulder, so I now suit up with a helmet, light motorcycle jacket and light gloves (all pictured)

I was following the active safety approach: I am now riding a slimmer wheel with much higher pedals (I am surprised how significant the effect is) and of course I have become much more wary of pedal or foot catching obstacles over time.

Edited by Mono

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19 hours ago, Mono said:

I was following the active safety approach: I am now riding a slimmer wheel with much higher pedals (I am surprised how significant the effect is) and of course I have become much more wary of pedal or foot catching obstacles over time.

Absolutely agree, and "active safety" is part of the learning curve.  I apply many of the rules I've picked up from bicycles and motorcycles in riding my EUC.   I fell when I was on my IPS Zero ... the Zero has the lowest pedals I think of any EUC, but I'm not sure that would have mattered, as I was on the street, and side of pedal brushed curb.   I love the Zero, as it is truly unique in its lightness and maneuverability, but also unique in that it is so short that you don't get any leverage from your calf, so all control has to be by shifting your weight.  It's better for a plaza or park than for Chicago's potholed streets.  I almost always ride my V8 around the streets now, and (touch wood) have not had another fall since.  

Edited by Chris Westland

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On 2/19/2017 at 8:19 AM, Cerbera said:

3. Wrist braces are the only thing I believe should be mandatory, but the powers that be will find it very difficult to accept that without also insisting on helmets, which I think are unnecessary. But I am in the minority there - lots of people rate helmets as being most important.

Cerbera, do you really believe that wrist braces should be required by law?  (Police should write tickets for riding without wrist braces?)  Or do you just think it's a really good idea to wear wrist braces?

I think it's a really good idea to wear a seat belt while driving.  I think it's a bad law.  I think it's a really good idea to wear a helmet while on a motorcycle.  I think it's a bad law.

I also think it's a really good idea to wear shoes in the garage.  I think it's a bad law... oh wait, that's not a law (not yet!).

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@JimB, car seat belt and motorbike helmet laws have saved thousands and thousands of lives, while restricting "the liberty" of the people to which the laws apply only to a quite insignificant extend. They also have, AFAICS, pretty much zero negative consequences! 

I am not sure we can predict the same thing for wrist protection laws.

Edited by Mono

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1 hour ago, Mono said:

car seat belt and motorbike helmet laws have saved thousands and thousands of lives ...

Which is why I'm a strong supporter of wearing seat belts!  I certainly wouldn't buy a car without seat belts.

1 hour ago, Mono said:

... while restricting "the liberty" of the people to which the laws apply only to a quite insignificant extend. [sic]

But who am I (or you) to decide how much you should restrict someone's liberty?  or what is insignificant?  Which is why I think it's a bad law.

 

Even if everyone can agree that wearing seat belts is a good idea, and saves lives, is that a good reason to legislate it?  I think it's pretty well understood that smoking causes lung cancer, and while there are laws about smoking around other people, there are no laws against smoking (at least for adults) in most of the world.

So, do we think it's reasonable to be legally allowed to risk lung cancer and death by smoking while being required by law to wear a helmet (still risking death) on a motorcycle?

We don't need to turn every good idea into a law.  Wear seat belts, helmets, and wrist guards - but keep the legislature out of it.

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6 hours ago, JimB said:

But who am I (or you) to decide how much you should restrict someone's liberty?  or what is insignificant?

You are playing a game. If you seriously insist that fining someone for not using a seat belt in a car is a significant restriction of their liberty you are either trolling or dishonest (maybe with yourself) or delusional and I'd rather not continue the conversation in any of these cases. 

FTR, I don't argue to make not wearing a seat belt a criminal offence and I don't think it is, in the places where I have been living. That is, offenders will neither go to prison nor fined into poverty. 

6 hours ago, JimB said:

Even if everyone can agree that wearing seat belts is a good idea, and saves lives, is that a good reason to legislate it?

No, of course not. The good reason is that the law in fact saves lives and does not produce harm. I just saw a statistics where 2% of all car passengers didn't wear a seat belt and 20% of all deadly injured passengers didn't wear a seat belt.

Quote

I think it's pretty well understood that smoking causes lung cancer, and while there are laws about smoking around other people, there are no laws against smoking (at least for adults) in most of the world.

In most developed countries of this world there are a number of laws that disincentivise smoking. Taxing is one prominent way, and in the scope of my experiences I would guess that the cumulated additional taxes a smoker pays are on average larger than the cumulated fines that a seat belt denier pays. 

If you mean by "laws against smoking" to be prohibition, you are perfectly right, and there are very good reasons to keep it that way. First, we know that drug prohibition has terrible, devastating consequences. It nourishes organised violent crime and incarcerates harmless citizens. Second, prohibiting people to smoke is a more significant limitation. I still wouldn't call it severe. We do it anyway, because smoking compromises the liberty of others to breath fresh air and also endangers their health.

Out of interest: you are for the legalisation of all drugs, right? There, we could find some common ground of agreement :) but I guess I have gone widely off topic now :huh:

Edited by Mono

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10 hours ago, JimB said:

Cerbera, do you really believe that wrist braces should be required by law?  (Police should write tickets for riding without wrist braces?)  Or do you just think it's a really good idea to wear wrist braces?

I think it's a really good idea to wear a seat belt while driving.  I think it's a bad law.  I think it's a really good idea to wear a helmet while on a motorcycle.  I think it's a bad law.

I also think it's a really good idea to wear shoes in the garage.  I think it's a bad law... oh wait, that's not a law (not yet!).

Yeah, maybe I phrased that badly. I do mean the latter; It's a really good idea. But if people want to ignore that, and sprain or break their wrists in a fall by omitting them, then they should remain free to do so... 

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Not paying attention while riding and overleaning.

The most common cause of mechanical failure is loosening of the nut connecting the pedals to the axle. You should really check to make sure the nuts are tight every 500 miles or so.

Edited by logos122

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On 19.2.2017 at 4:12 PM, Alexa said:

Hi all! 

I joined this forum in hope to get some insight on why accidents happen with electric unicycles. I have no experience with them and am doing a little project on whether electric self-balancing devices, motorized skateboards, etc. should be legalised in public areas (in Switzerland) or not.  So, here are my questions:

1. Whenever you had an accident, which category would you place yourself in?  (It would be helpful if you could shortly state what happened as well)
A. self-inflicted, no one else included
B. self-inflicted, other people included (e.g. lost balance in public area and crashed into pedestrian?)
C. device failure
D. other party caused the accident

2. What kinds of injuries did you attain? Was a visit to the hospital needed? How long did it take to fully regenerate?

3. If it were legalised, would you say, that certain protective gear such as a helmet, wrist guards and knee pads should be mandatory?

4. Is it safer to drive on pedestrian walkways, bicycle lanes or the open street? What should the speed limit be for each of the options?

I am thankful for every answer!

Cheers, Alexa

1. A (overlean/ outtorque the EUC doing a face plant)

2 rip bruise (Rippenprellung), 4-5 weeks problems to sllep on the side, no doctor/ no hospital, finished the tour with friends ;)

3 A helmet is the first thing i grab when doing a ride. Other stuff depending on the speed.

4. It's like with bicycles and motor bikes. Being a slim silhouette others realise when it's to late. So preferable I drive on small roads, bicycle lane and roads in the wood.

We need to separate safety/ technical requirements, safety wear and where we're allowed to ride. Across Europe this is defined in three different laws.

 

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A _ 1. Whenever you had an accident, 

2. What kinds of injuries did you attain?

Sprained wrists, knee buises. Long term (accumulated distance) riding may be the cause of somewhat chronic leg pain from tense muscles around the sciatic nerve. Semi rigid association of the feet with the device causes repetitive use of a narrow set of muscles used to  maneuver the Electric Unicycle. Bigger EUCs like the Monster likely use a different set of muscle groups.

Helmet _ 3. If it were legalised

4. Is it safer to drive on ...

The smoothest path with a safe distance from autos and pedestrians.

****

The use of the term 'self inflicted' raises some interesting questions about innocence vs assumption of risk. Riders who faceplant or become injured from falls become keenly aware of the risks. Whether or not the rider continues to ride and assume the risks of doing so entertains the concept of self inflicted injuries. As in...well ... if you fell on your face and got hurt then why do you continue to take the risk?

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6 hours ago, Bob Eisenman said:

Long term (accumulated distance) riding may be the cause of somewhat chronic leg pain from tense muscles around the sciatic nerve. Semi rigid association of the feet with the device causes repetitive use of a narrow set of muscles used to  maneuver the Electric Unicycle. Bigger EUCs like the Monster likely use a different set of muscle groups.

I have thought about that also, you have brought up a good point.  It would probably be a good idea to either change to a much larger wheel for maybe a few months, and then go back to the smaller wheel for a few months, to avoid  that repetitive use of the same muscles in the same range of motion.

And then the other thing, what about treatment for tense muscles from over use?  What would that be for an ESBU? 

This could be a new thread>

Edited by steve454

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