A Beginner’s Guide to Hoverboards
Are you thinking of buying a hoverboard? Also known as self-balancing scooters, these unique personal transportation devices have been one of the hottest products of the last few years. But before you get started with a hoverboards, it’s important to know a few details about them. Here’s our beginner’s guide to hoverboards.
A quick history of hoverboards
Hoverboards are a very recent innovation that emerged out of the popularity of the Segway. The concept existed in 2013 but it wasn’t until 2015 that the first boards were actually created. Many companies and individuals claim to be the originator of the board, but the truth of this is still not entirely clear.
The swell in their popularity is in part due to the initial interest of celebrities. Many stars including Justin Bieber, Usain Bolt and Jamie Foxx were pictured riding the boards. The fact that the boards were released in 2015 – the same year that Marty McFly was riding a hoverboard in Back to the Future Part II – also added to the intrigue surrounding the product.
There were many horror stories about hoverboards catching fire that led to some seriously bad publicity. Thankfully the risks appear to be mostly in the past, however, it’s still important to take sensible precautions when you come to buy Swegway hoverboards. Firstly, you should only ever buy from a reputable and established company.
If you’re still worried about the risk of your hoverboard catching fire you should be aware that the problem was identified to be from boards that were using fake batteries, so ensure that you are buying from a manufacturer that guarantees the use of genuine batteries. Make sure you purchase from one of the many brands that place a real of emphasis on safety and the use of genuine products.
Riding a hoverboard might seem daunting if you have never stepped on one before, but the whole process is intuitive and easy. Nevertheless it’s best to try this somewhere you can have something to hold onto if you should accidentally fall.
When you first come to step onto the board you should take things slow. Place one foot onto the board and move it into an upright and stable position, then gently shift your weight onto that foot. Now place your other foot onto the board. When you stand up straight the board will stay in the same place, so any movement will usually be because you’re trying to steady yourself.
To move forward you simply lean forward and to move backwards you lean backward – it really is that simple. To turn the hoverboard all you have to do is press down the opposite foot to the direction you want to move. So press down your left foot to turn right, and vice versa. Get used to everything by performing the movements slowly at first before you start trying out the top speed or spinning in fast circles.
Where can you ride?
This is a bit of a complicated issue in the UK as it is currently illegal to ride a hoverboard on either footpath or the pavement. This isn’t due to specific rules that have been brought to make hoverboards illegal but rather because of laws that state that motorised vehicles cannot be used on the pavement, while uninsured and unregistered vehicles cannot be used on the roads. Nevertheless, this does mean you currently can’t use you hoverboard anywhere on public roads.
It is perfectly legal to use your hoverboard on private property (obviously getting permission from the owner first if the private property is not yours). It is also possible to use your hoverboard in some parks around the country, although it’s always best to check first rather than assuming you will be safe to ride somewhere. Get in touch with your local council about using your hoverboard in a specific park to check the rules.
Dos and don’ts
- DO read the manual – make sure that before you start setting up your hoverboard or attempting to use it, you read the manual supplied by the manufacturer. This manual will contain detailed instructions on how to use the board safely and explain any specific features which can differ quite drastically depending on the make of the board. Don’t assume that just because you have used a hoverboard before that you’ll know how to work this one.
- DON’T try to perform stunts – some people look at hoverboards and assume that you can be perform tricks and stunts like you could if it was a skateboard. The hoverboard is for recreational transportation but it is not a toy and you need to be responsible when you use one. Misuse of a hoverboard can not only lead to you injuring yourself but potentially hurting others as well.
- DO follow the rules – make sure that you follow any rules that are set down regarding hoverboards. We have already talked about when and where you are allowed to ride hoverboards, but even on private property and in any parks that allow hoverboard use, be sure that you know the rules and stick to them. Overall, you should never do anything that could be dangerous to anyone or yourself.
- DON’T use the hoverboard with another vehicle – it might be tempting to use your hoverboard in conjunction with a car or another vehicle – perhaps something akin to water skiing on the road. But being pulled along on a car can be hugely dangerous. Most hoverboards have a top speed of 12mph. Not only would you likely break the hoverboard by going much faster than this, you would also be at serious risk of falling of the board and badly hurting yourself.
- DO wear safety gear – you should always do everything you can to protect yourself before you ride a hoverboard. This includes putting on safety including a helmet and pads for your knees and elbows, as well as high visibility jackets.