Nearly Killed a Child



  • I have 73 miles on my one wheel. All beach. While I have ridden on wet sand I have never once submerged the board. Yesterday I was cruising down the beach when I noticed a wet area of the beach that I didn't want to ride through so I slowed the board to a stop and jumped off in order to walk around it. As soon as I jumped off the board I noticed that it stayed in the balanced position and then began to accelerate swiftly away from me towards a family. Thank god that the father had been watching me as I passed by because had he not seen my dismount then the board would have run over his 4 year old child that my one wheel was rapidly accelerating towards. Instead the father scooped up his young child up and in a quick instant the board, by my estimate now going in excess of 15mph, drove on it's own straight through the area his family was occupying also narrowly missing the mans wife in the process. The board then continued it's completely out of control acceleration down the beach reaching speeds that I would estimate to be in excess of 30mph. A passing car (we can drive on the beach in Texas) narrowly avoided a collision with the runaway board which eventually traveled more than two hundred yards before slamming into a sand dune and launching 20ft or so into the air and landing on it's side to the amazement of a what I would describe at this point as a small crowd of people who had noticed the projectile hurtling down the beach. The board now has a pronounced internal rattle that I am sure was from the unbelievable ferocity of the impact with the sand dune. As I approached the man who's child I nearly killed he first began cussing at me and then I think he saw the distress on my face. I told him right away that I think the board malfunctioned and I made sure I got his information as a witness. I was utterly humiliated. I'm a third grade teacher. It's not every day that I nearly kill a small child. I called One Wheel as soon as I got back to my vehicle. When I called OW to let them know what happened I figured I would get a response like, "OMFG, you nearly killed a child because your one wheel ran away. Send that thing back right now and we will replace it and figure out wtf went wrong with our product so that never happens again" Instead of a proper response the customer service representative literally tells me. "I'm not sure how to deal with this I need to talk to my manager so that we can craft the proper response." I never got an email back so today I called again. The response was, "Can you record the board making the rattling sound and give us some witness statements so we can understand exactly what happened to your one wheel." Of course the onus would all be on me. So, I guess I'm supposed to hop back on my board that just nearly mowed down a four year old and make a recording with my cell phone while I try to get it to run 200 yards away from me again at max speed? Sorry, but I feel like that is totally insane. I think the issue may have been the sand that had collected on the foot pads, but I watched a lot of videos of people riding on the beach before I bought my one wheel. If some sand on the deck is going to turn my OW into a supercharged death machine, (my voice won't carry 200 yards down the beach to warn the next family), then it is not a product that should be sold to anyone because somebody is going to get killed. Also, I read the users manual. Isn't there a section about runaway wheels that says to send it back the instant this kind of problem presents itself? Guess that advice was just for show. If it's a sensor pad issue fine. Then take my one wheel back and give me a new one because after a collision of that magnitude because of a faulty sensor I want a new board now not a band-aid to fix the issue after the fact. This is a brand new board! I am so disappointed by One Wheel right now I just want a refund and out of this mess and that really hurts because I was having so much damn fun but I refuse to own a product that might kill a small child on the beach. Injuring myself is one thing. Innocent bystanders. F that



    1. Your front footpad is faulty. Get a new one ASAP
    2. don't dismount by jumping off. Learn the heel lift or no-comply method.
    3. The rattling is almost certainly from the ferite ring on the wire harness for your headlight. Not related at all to the run-away board.
    4. Runaway boards are straight up terrifying! I got smoked by one at 1:30 here


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  • @jeffmccosker

    I'm not getting a refund. Future motion was adamant about that. They haven't even looked at the board and they have already let me know that there is no way I am getting any money back. They want me to send it in so they can fix it. It sounds like to me like a sensor can go faulty at any time and that this could happen to any rider. This is a brand new board so the issue is really a moot point to me. If a sensor goes bad your one wheel may run away and turn into a murderous projectile. I watched your video. Scary yes, but that was only a runaway for a few feet before stopping. Imagine a board traveling 200 yards at max speeds.

    I really enjoyed my short time with the board before the runaway incident but after seeing the deadly potential of the board I just don't want anything to do with this product. I help run a surf camp in my summers and when I first got the board it felt like everybody wanted to check it out. I had no idea the danger I was putting all the kids in that were around me. There's no excuse really for selling such a dangerous item. It is inevitable in my opinion that the runaway issue will injure or horribly maim an innocent bystander who had never even heard of a one wheel until the day some strangers ran away accelerated to 35 mph and hit them in the spine. Future motion is just trying to turn a quick profit before they fold the tent when that eventuality becomes a reality. What kind of awful people operate in such a cavalier manner with the lives of innocent others? Negligent assholes that's who

    I nearly killed a kid. i don't ever want to ride one of these boards again. After being told i couldn't get a refund here was my response to future motion:
    "at this point idk if I’m going to send it back. i can’t sell it. I don't want it. I won’t ever ride it again. Last night when I got home i threw it in the trash can only to feel foolish this morning and pull it out again. Honestly just looking at the board makes me sick to my stomach. You know if one of these things runs away and kills somebody i would consider you people to be murderers. Maybe just storing it away in the event of a publicized case will be a way to make it worth something again when the inevitable law suit shuts down your operation. I’ll let you know if I decide to send it back but for now I just don't want to think about this piece of shit product. I feel like a complete and utter fool for buying it."

    I'm going to try to work with my local city council and the business community here on my local beaches to get a complete ban on these things. I am pretty sure I can easily recreate the runaway scenario. I think I may take a few videos of the hazard and start letting people know the actual danger these things pose to everyone anytime they're near a rider. This experience has just been awful.



  • @Achamian Bummer they won't take it back.
    If it's an XR I'll buy it from you for $1,000 if you don't want it.



  • @jeffmccosker

    I'm sorry but I refuse to sell anyone an inherently dangerous poorly designed product that may put innocent lives at risk but I appreciate your interest in helping me remedy this terrible situation I've been duped into. You've been much more generous in your offer than future motion.



  • Sorry about your clearly defective board, best of luck getting a solid repair. But let me share some long-term experience to emphasize how rare this is: I have 3 onewheels and none has ever become a self-driving missile/deathtrap. I ride with a group of 20+ people every Friday and I've never seen it there either. This is rare, I assure you. I'm not saying that means your experience was safe or fun, I'm not saying nobody else has had this experience ever. But it's also false to say that the machine's design is flawed and dangerous when it has properly functioning sensors. I've seen the proof over several thousands of miles of riding.



  • @Achamian let me know if you change your mind, I can easily fix that issue so it never happens again.



  • @readysetawesome

    I wanted so much to be the guy with your experience. I can shred the ow on the beach. Until the runaway incident my one wheel had been a pure joy. I bought my ow thirty minutes after my first ride on the beach. I didn't even leave the beach the first time i tried it. I sat in my truck and ordered it over the phone. Additionally, had just linked up with a crew and started group riding. I loved the thing.

    I don't know how rare the runaway issue is i just know it happened to me and it was not satisfactory. I am a real safety oriented guy when it comes to other people. I run a swimming program for third grade students, i teach surfing lessons in the summer. I'm a lifeguard instructor. The safety of others is something that i prioritize. If there's just a tiny chance that my one wheel may run away at the rate, velocity and distance that i saw mine then i simply don't want it anymore.

    You can play the statistical game all you want with other peoples lives but i don't want to. I have to be honest with you that it's my direct experience with nearly harming a little kid that led me to this conclusion. I wouldn't wish my experience on anyone. I would really have liked to have been the guy on here telling your story but I'm not.



  • @jeffmccosker

    How can i make sure it doesn't happen again! On your video the guy jumps because he has to bail. Ive considered that if i do a different technique it still doesn't mean i may not have to jump again someday just because of bad terrain. How could you make sure it would never happen again when you just provided a video lesson on how easily it happens



  • @Achamian replace your front footpad. The sensor is malfunctioning. Rare, but it happens.



  • I wouldn't worry about selling someone a defective, dangerous board. It's only the footpad that is defective, and that is a $150 fix. They have been known to malfunction due to water damage, so if you have ridden exclusively on the beach, that is the likely cause. It doesn't have to have been submerged, Onewheels are often not very water resistant at all. It doesn't help that Future Motion has often posted videos of people riding in conditions that void the warranty. While it is fun to ride on the beach, salt water and electronics do not mix.

    The heel lift is also key. Don't step off until the motor has disengaged.



  • @IanJohnson

    Fair enough. I so want to be brought back into the ow party. I have definitely ridden in wetish sand. Not exclusively but I always ride barefoot and my feet sometimes get caked when i portage around bad areas so i figured that might be a problem but one of the guys i ride with has 900 miles on his and never had this problem. Same conditions. If I'm going to fix the foot sensors and get going again is there a further way to safeguard against this issue? Like a way to further increase the water resistance of the deck? The only place i want to ride it is the beach but i have to make sure this can't happen to me again.



  • @Achamian put a leash on it.



  • @nateraso not sure if you’re joking—but that sounds like it could be a good idea. Similar to surf and boogie board leashes. Could result in an uncomfortable pull to the rider if the onewheel starts ghost riding, but if the leash is short enough, it should prevent the board from reaching too high a relative speed to the rider’s body.
    Could certainly cause injury to the rider, but will prevent bystanders from getting hurt. Which I suppose is the lesser of two evils since we’re choosing to ride and the people around us don’t have the same choice.

    A deadman’s leash could be an interesting concept, too. So the board flies off, but the leash is meant to detach with enough force. When doing so, the detatched leash pulls an element that was completing the circuit between the power cells and the motor. This would be a mechanical backup fail-safe solution to the primary software solution that is the deadman’s switch in the front pad that should send a signal to the board to stop.

    This leash/key would also be able to prevent people from riding off with your board as it won’t run without the leash inserted (though I don’t see someone riding off as a primary form of theft—if someone wants your board, they’ll just pick it up and take it)

    Something to still be solved for; a leash could get hung up on something while riding causing another set of concerns/risks. You wouldn’t want to inadvertently cut all power to the board at speed because your leash got hung up and pulled on something. But there is something interesting in this concept. 🤔



  • @eckit I was serious. The key idea is great! Like a wave runner. I was thinking a non coiled leash drilled through the top of your fender. If you get a runaway and bail the motion should cause the board to go sideways and stop.



  • @eckit said in Nearly Killed a Child:

    This leash/key would also be able to prevent people from riding off with your board as it won’t run without the leash inserted (though I don’t see someone riding off as a primary form of theft—if someone wants your board, they’ll just pick it up and take it)

    I love this idea. I can run after someone carrying my 25lb OneWheel, but I can't catch them if they're riding it! This takes the "key" idea from the other thread one step further. :)



  • @eckit - the first time a bystander gets injured by a runaway board, I think FM is going to have to implement a deadman's leash, or shut down. I think the fact that it also enhances security, so that a thief can't do anything with the board unless they also have the key (which should be attached to your person), is a wonderful bonus.

    I wonder why this wasn't the default design - like @nateraso says, physical-electrical-circuit-interruption deadman leash/key-switches are standard on Waverunners.



  • It does not have to be a physical leash (like a plug or cable), proximity (rfid, magnetic etc) might work better as there is nothing to get tangled up. Say an ankle bracelet or something attached to your shoe.
    The downside is yet another electronic component that might break.

    The most important question then is if such a product would appear, what would be the proper OneWheel fashion response?
    Diamond skull ankle bracelet? Rfid implant in foot? ("OneWheel 4 lyfe!1")

    :)



  • I'm pretty sure O/W will never (on the advise of their attorneys) admit any fault of theirs or their board's. Hey, for all they know you could have made up the whole story. I believe it, but since there was no harm, no foul, I think you're over reacting. BTW, I like the leash idea. Even a key switch. I use a bike lock on mine. A friend packs (legally) always. He says a thief might be able to outrun him but they ain't going to outrun a .38 slug - LOL.