Is it safe to ride an electric unicycle?

One of the questions we get asked the most is: ’Is it safe to ride the electric unicycle?’ or ‘How many times have you fallen off an electric unicycle?’  It is not uncommon for an electric unicycle novice to associate it with an image of a juggler in a circus act trying to maintain balance with a lot of effort and difficulty. The usual perception is that riding an electric unicycle is as technically and physically demanding and risky as riding a traditional unicycle. This is why it is easy to assume that  EUCs are not safe to ride.

Full length profile shot of a mime riding a unicycle on a rope and juggling with balls isolated on white background

However, other than the fact that both devices consist of only one wheel and two pedals, there really aren’t many commonalities between the two. The fundamental differentiator is that the electric unicycles, or EUCs, use gyroscopes to self-balance and keep an upright position without human intervention. This is unlike traditional unicycles, which require consistent adjustment from the rider to maintain both forward and backwards balance, and side to side balance. People have been falling off bicycles for decades and they are considered safe to ride, aren’t they?

Are Electric Unicycles Designed to be Safe?

As the electric unicycle is powered by batteries, it requires little effort to get it moving.  All it requires is for the riders to lean and shift the centre of gravity forward, the wheel will then automatically respond and try to ‘catch you’, a motion that propels it to move forward.  Slowing down or stopping is equally easy to achieve by simply performing the opposite manoeuvre. Between starting and stopping, riders just have to shift the weight between the feet or twist the body to change the direction. To this extent, electric unicycles are a lot more easier to learn than riding a bicycle. For this same reason, they are safe enough to ride.

Nevertheless, there is an inherent risk with any sports activity involving speed. After all, high speed is one of the attractive features of electric unicycles. It is important to note, however, that  the capacity of the large batteries provides the torque and power for EUCs to accelerate quickly and maintain speed effortlessly.  

As riders get more comfortable with the basics, there is usually some confidence that coaxes them to go faster and further. Complacency often leads to accidents. Electric unicycles do not ride themselves. People ride and control them. They go as fast as you make them. This means that you are as safe as you decide to be whilst riding one.

It becomes more tempting to take risks, the more a rider becomes confident with practice. Riders put themselves in unsafe situations by user error or abuse. Going up very steep hills, jumping down high steps, exceeding top speed can put both the rider and the wheel at risk.  Conversely, riding responsibly and mindfully can provide the most peaceful, relaxing and enjoyable experience one can have on a personal transport device.  

Is it safe to ride an electric unicycle? Absolutely. Mostly, it depends on you.