Hoverboards are now being banned on college campuses throughout the country, and Public Safety sent out an email to USF students initiating the ban throughout all USF locations. Public Safety stated their reasoning, “This ban has been put in place due to the number of safety concerns associated with spontaneous combustions of hoverboards and personal injuries caused by rider falls and collisions.” Considering that USF residence halls ban candles for fear of fire, it is logical that the hoverboards, with reported cases of exploding and bursting into flames, are now banned school-wide.
Hoverboards became a legitimate source of transportation in 2015, and walking suddenly became an unnecessary mode of getting from place to place. Throughout the year the popularity of the hoverboards spread, popping up on college campuses and city sidewalks alike. The hoverboards are essentially Segways without the handlebars: users lean forward to move forward, lean slightly back to reverse, and shift body weight to the right foot to turn and right and the left foot to turn left.
However, these new sources of transport have since been proven dangerous. In January of this year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that at least 40 hoverboards had caught fire in 19 states. WGNO News reported a hoverboard nearly destroying the entire family home in Lafayette, Louisiana. One user said to Mashable News that the hoverboard caught fire while he was riding it. The cause of the hoverboard fires is the lithium battery inside the device, which contains the highly flammable liquid electrolyte. This liquid can heat up easily upon a short circuit, which results in the battery bursting into flames.
Over 30 colleges and universities have now placed a ban on hoverboards, ranging from complete campus-wide prohibition to limited use outside of school-owned buildings. The number of institutions limiting the use of these devices is only growing as stories of related accidents and fires continue to spread. Boston College, University of Colorado Boulder, Yale, Oregon State, Duke, Washington State, and California State University are among the many colleges and universities to implement either total or partial on-campus bans on the devices.
Not only have educational institutions banned the two-wheeled self balancing scooters, but entire countries and business have as well. All United States airlines have denied bringing the boards on flights, Disney and Legoland have prohibited use of the scooters on any of the parks’ property, and most American malls are now working on bans. New York City, Hong Kong, the entirety of the United Kingdom, public spaces in Denmark, New South Wales, and Australia have all placed laws against riding hoverboards for reasons of public safety and transportation. Riding a hoverboard on a New York City sidewalk can result in a fine of $500. The United Kingdom categorizes the devices as personal motor vehicles, which are not allowed on sidewalks and are subject to traffic laws, therefore requiring a license and registration for use on public roads. Officials in countries and cities who have enacted these laws state that the devices deter other pedestrians from their travels and can cause injury to passersby.
Possession or storage of any hoverboards or battery-operated scooters is now strictly prohibited on USF campus. The devices have been reported for causing injury from falling and collisions, and therefore cause a threat to students, which Public Safety is acting to prevent. The ban is only temporary as USF waits for the Consumer Product Safety Commission to investigate the devices and review the safety and quality of the boards.
Photo courtesy of Soar Boards/Flickr