Brake Failure - Up the Curb I Go!

in #brakes11 months ago

People ask me if I need a lot of balance to ride this. Then the ask if I fall much.

The answers are easy - the wheel has a gyroscope that maintains balance (front to back). Falling has been a thing of the past as long as the rider pays attention. Even less chance of falling with the suspension systems that EUCs have now, but I had never tested hitting a curb at speed.

Yes, I got in an accident today. I did not know it but I had lost my brakes when it happened. As the title implies, I went up a curb at 30km per hour. Here is what the wheel looks like...


The wheel glided up the curb as would a motorcycle at speed. I am thinking that my full weight was not on the EUC when it went up the curb. I will explain why in a bit.

I had left to go meet @comandoyeya for lunch. He is in town for some business and we were going to have a "parrillada" on Corrientes. So I was heading north on Parana street in heavy traffic. I wiggled my way between the cars and found an ambulance with its siren going. Good opportunity.

I started following the medical van at somewhat high speeds, making sure that all the lights were green as I went through them. I remember thinking, "I am going to get there quick...!"

I saw a bus and a DHL van pull to the right to let us go through but they seemed upset that I was taking advantage of the situation. I was looking to my right as a bus merged back into my lane . It was a one way street. When I looked back at the ambulance in front of me, it had stopped or was stopping. I swerved toward the curb - hard left - and hit the hooks hard (harder than I have ever hit them).

This was the second time I swerved left and hit the brakes to avoid a car in front of me. The first time, I stopped in time and tapped the bumper of the car in front of me - and did not fall. This time, I was on the curb on my ass and I saw the wheel hit the bumper of the ambulance, then fall on its side about three feet in front of me on the sidewalk.

I got up, the ambulance took off because they had some reason for screaming down the streets. I saw no damage to the ambulance, nor my vehicle. I was not hurt aside from my wrist aching a bit. I started riding on the sidewalk and then back on the street when the next stop light turned green.

It was about a half a mile down the road that I noticed my left "power pad" was missing. That would be extremely hard to replace due the newness of this tech and parts import difficulties.
I had a couple of miles to go before reaching the Parrilla (grill). I noticed that my braking was severely limited with only one functioning "power pad" in place.

Braking - How it works

The wheel actually has no brakes. Brakes on an EUC are accomplished by leaning backward which makes the extremely powerful motor go in reverse. It is impossible to skid because all the users weight is on the wheel.

Older, slower wheels did not have any pads on the sides and they had a max speed of about 20kms. Acceleration and braking are done by putting more weight on the heals or toes of the peddles. Faster wheels have a protruding "pad" where your shins or calves can push the top of the wheel forward for fast acceleration and pull it backward for quick braking.

Look at the amount of glue that had been used to attach this power pad to the side of the wheel. Almost none!


As I said earlier, the pad had fallen off. Since I could not brake well, I stayed on the sidewalks and retraced my path on the way home from lunch. Luckily found the pad on the sidewalk. There is no chance anyone would know what it was or what it fell off of. I carried it home, staying off the streets. My brakes, after all, would only make me pull to the right if I had to use them quickly.


It looks like the tire was pinched on the sidewall and the wheel is chipped in two places. I could probably get a new wheel if I needed one. But I checked both by spinning it and the wheel is not bent - the tire never lost pressure.

My next move will be to put the pad on with 3M double sided tape. I will probably pull the other pad off and do the same on the other side so that I do not "lose brakes" again. I am also thinking of putting some screws through the foam rubber pad and into the plastic plate that houses it.


I am hoping that having screws in it will keep it from coming off if I have to hit the brakes hard again. What do you think?

many will ask, "Do you have insurance?" Yes, I have 10 million covering liability

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