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Onewheel skateboards linked to 4 deaths, feds say

Commuters and thrill-seekers should stay off Onewheel electric skateboards because the products can eject riders, causing serious injury and death, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

At least four people have died from traumatic head injuries after falling from the self-balancing boards made by Santa Cruz, California-based Future Motion, the agency stated. It is urging consumers to immediately stop using all six models made by the company, including Onewheel, Onewheel+, Onewheel+ XR, Onewheel Pint, Onewheel Pint X and Onewheel GT. 

The fatalities, along with other incidents resulting in traumatic brain injury, concussion, paralysis, fractures and ligament damage, were found to have occurred between 2019 and 2021, according to the CPSC. Onewheel products can suddenly stop while in motion, throwing riders off the machines, the agency said.

Future Motion has refused to recall the products, which have been on the market since 2014 and currently run between $1,050 and $2,200. The company took issue with the safety panel's recommendation that consumers stop using its products.

"Onewheel electric skateboards are safe when operated following common-sense safe riding practices that are common to any board sport," Future Motion said in a statement. "We strongly disagree with the CPSC's unjustified and alarmist claims, and we see no reason for riders to stop using their boards. We go to great lengths to encourage riders to educate themselves on safety and the overwhelming majority of riders use the board safely, ride within their abilities, respect the board's safety systems, follow local laws, and wear a helmet and other safety gear."

The company also said it investigated a number of instances in which a rider reported that a board had stopped suddenly, but found no cases of its products malfunctioning. "All of these boards performed as designed and were test ridden for many miles without any performance issues," Future Motion said.

One of six Onewheel models. Future Motion Inc.

In a letter posted on social media Wednesday, the company acknowledged a risk in riding Onewheel, but went on to proclaim that those engaged in the sport would "rather live an inspired life than one stuck on the couch."

The company also offered its gratitude to the CPSC for its efforts at safeguarding the public, while saying its products are geared to adults who can assess the risks for themselves.

"Our world is better thanks to your efforts to keep consumers safe from paint with lead in it and hazardous children's toys among other things. But Onewheel is a recreational product used by adults who can make their own decisions, choose their own level of risk tolerance and embrace the future," it stated.

Future Motion in August did agree to a smaller recall of about 20,500 footpads for Onewheel GT electric skateboards. 

The company at the time said it had received more than 800 reports of the boards continuing to run after the rider had gotten off, including 11 reports of injuries including bruises, friction burns and a twisted ankle.

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