Lime/Bird/Uber/Lyft/Segway-Ninebot .. beware if you ride these scooters down a hill

Discussion in 'Face Plant' started by voltsxamps, Dec 15, 2018.

  1. voltsxamps

    voltsxamps Advolturer

    Mar 20, 2016
    +positively grounded-
    this what I was riding:


    this was me 4 days ago:

    Same brand of scooter that Bird/Lime etc use. It’s a Segway-Ninebot ES4. Has electronic front brakes that do 90% of the braking. Except when they don’t.

    Was riding down a hill that I’ve taken the scooter down before many times. Brakes had always worked as they are supposed to. Not this particular morning. Applied brakes and slowed initially at first, but then nothing. Looked down and the scooter had suddenly shut off, leaving zero front braking. Speed has quickly climbed to what I estimate to be 25mph headed downhill into an intersection- made the decision to steer it towards a curb which promptly slammed me face, left forearm, and left shoulder first, breaking my neck in two places and the middle of my spine.

    Thankfully, spinal cord is undamaged and aside from my left shoulder remaining numb, I have movement and feeling with arms/feet/fingers/toes. I consider myself extremely lucky. Smashed the bicycle helmet I was wearing. Can’t imagine if I’d even be here typing this out if I hadn’t been wearing one.

    If you ride one of these electric scooters with an electronic braking system, or bought one for your son or daughter, I urge you NOT to ride it down any steep hill. Loss of power can and did suddenly happen and with that loss of the ability to stop. There is a rear fender pressure type brake but is very weak compared to the regen type front brake so wasn’t used, nor do I feel it would’ve stopped me or slowed me enough to stop before the intersection. I’ve played it over in my mind hundreds of times and it was the best evasive action I could’ve taken given the sudden realization that the brakes went from working to nothing in an instant. If you use this type of electric scooter, walk them down steep hills. I learned the very hard way that they cannot be trusted to stop you.

    I had bought this for my 9 year old. He and I have gone up and down this hill dozens of times with no issues till this time, which nearly ended in a fatality. I am only glad that it was me on it, not him, when the power suddenly cut off. If there is any good from this, it is that I discovered this before one of my kids did. If what happened to me happened to one of them, I’m not sure my wife would ever forgive me. nor do I think I could ever forgive myself.

    I was just transferred out of ICU Trauma yesterday, but still on the neurosurgery floor for further evaluation to make sure I don’t require surgery. I don’t wish this on anyone. Yes, motorcycles are dangerous, though I think these type of electric scooters could actually pose an even greater danger as most, including me, didn’t regard this two wheeled mode of transportation any more dangerous than a typical bicycle. This was my first experience with electronic braking and I my trust in them has forever changed. E-braking with mechanical back up is a whole different ball game. Beware of trusting any vehicle that relies on solely or mostly electronic braking.
    AlwaysRolling and VmaxChuck like this.
  2. Signal 13

    Signal 13 Been here awhile

    Sep 4, 2018
    Bedford, Indiana
    Holy hell man! Glad you’re alive and kicking after that. Wish you all the best with the recovery!
    voltsxamps likes this.
  3. Numbersman

    Numbersman n00b

    Sep 6, 2017
    Rhode Island
    Terrible accident. I hope you find a good lawyer for this. If you see a class action be sure you opt out and file your own claim with this much damage to your body.
    voltsxamps likes this.
  4. Plebeian

    Plebeian Scruffy-Looking Nerf Herder Supporter

    May 14, 2015
    Shoreview, MN
    Sorry man, that's a bad one.

    The thing to practice, is to keep your front foot on the scooter and start to lightly rest your back foot on the ground. Very little pressure at first, foot as flat as possible. Just let it skim/float along. You want to keep it somewhat next to your front foot, not dragging way behind. Gradually increase pressure. Not necessarily good for coming to a stop, but effective at scrubbing off excessive speeds. Good thing to make kids practice if they are getting into scooters, electric or not. Easy to build up speed faster than you expect.
  5. strat10

    strat10 Ready for adventure

    Aug 25, 2014
    Huntington Beach
    Yikes, so sorry man! I cant even imagine what you are going through. Stay strong!
    voltsxamps likes this.
  6. Florida Lime

    Florida Lime Long timer

    Sep 5, 2008
    As stated and not often enough in Robbinsville, NC
    I can only "like" this part of your post !

    Yikes. :eekers
    Biddles and voltsxamps like this.
  7. inbred

    inbred Sweeter than Yoo-hoo

    Jan 19, 2011
    Weedsport, NY
    On one hand it's tragic. But on the other you finally had a chance to truly understand what traveling at breakneck speed is. As a rider, I've been in quite a few situations where I had to choose between riding it out and attempting a controlled crash. One day last fall, I decided to commute on my bike to work. It was 5:30AM when I left and instead of going down the driveway I decided to take the back side hill in the semi-dark. This is a steep trail with a quick, but substantial loss of elevation. It was very wet and dewey that morning and I forgot to disengage the ABS on my F800GS. I quickly gained speed to where I was completely put of control and probably felt the way you did just before your accident. I contemplated launching off the bike, but trusted my skills from all those years of motocross and trail riding. I couldn't barely touch the front break without feeling my front end slide out. So I elected to ride it all the way through. It was 8 seconds of pure hell. Luckily I stayed upright and there was a happy ending. But I could have easily been maimed in any number of ways. Obviously I was riding just under breakneck speed. You get the gist kemo sabe.

    Very sorry for you, buddy. Helluva nasty turn of events. Wish I was rich enough to pay your medical expenses. That other dude was right about the lawyer. This crapstorm is definitely ripe for a products liability case. I appreciate your posting as we all need constant reminding about how the wolf is always at our doors.
    voltsxamps likes this.
  8. VmaxChuck

    VmaxChuck Adventurer Supporter

    Oct 14, 2015
    West Michigan area
    Hopes and prayers for a speedy and complete recovery.

    Thanks for sharing!
    voltsxamps likes this.
  9. nashopolis

    nashopolis Been here awhile

    Jan 19, 2006
    Nashville, Tenn
    Lordy I'm sure glad you made it! Here's to a speedy recovery!

    I'm not sure if this is the case for your scooter but I know one the Onewheel I have, if the battery is full the regenerative brakes don't work because there's no where for the extra current to go. I wonder if that's what happened in your case? My board's manual tells you to burn some power off before riding downhill. It's not something I would have thought about and it should be plastered on all of these machines. Also if the motor dies for some reason or the scooter powers off your screwed. I'm certainly not trying to put the blame on you.

    These electric scooters are all over my city now. I imagine these sorts of accidents will be on the rise with drunk tourists taking the hits sans helmets and without any training. Since they look like toys of yore I think most people don't realize how different that are from the old razor scooters - I didn't for sure. The manufacturers certainly should be doing more to try to educate people on the differences and new inherent risks
    voltsxamps likes this.
  10. DakarBlues

    DakarBlues One-everythinged man

    Dec 12, 2005
    The pink lake less circled
    You are lucky!

    I am a seasoned biker (Ironbutt # 38875), but I consider those electric scooters as death machines, no gyroscopic stability, no torsional rigidity, very high center of gravity when you are riding it.
    I steer very clear of these danger on wheels masquerading as toys, gadgets or fads.

    I wish you a speedy recovery.
    voltsxamps likes this.