If you planned on riding around in style on your hoverboard from class to class this semester, you’ll have to reconsider. In an email sent before winter break ended, Dean of Students, Dr. Chris Confer, informed all AU students that the use of hoverboards would no longer be permitted on campus until further notice.
Hoverboards are two-wheeled, self-balancing, battery-operated electric scooters, and are a fairly recent phenomena in the world of transportation. EBay was said to have sold a hoverboard unit every 12 seconds on Cyber Monday, and they were publicized as a very popular Christmas gift this past year. However, these scooters have gained large amounts of attention as of late for their safety hazards.
Many users have had trouble adjusting to the self-balancing aspect of the devices. Countless videos of hoverboard wipeouts have been posted on YouTube and other social media platforms.
There have also been reports of poorly made hoverboards that have the potential to explode or catch fire, which has led to the discontinuation of many brands on websites like eBay and Amazon. These issues were noticed and evaluated by Confer and other AU administrators and ultimately contributed to their decision to prohibit hoverboard usage.
“As I read and listened to the news over the last several weeks, I felt like I needed to do some further research on the matter,” Confer said. “As I read the initial report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and watched some of the videos of the hoverboards catching on fire, my concern for the safety of our students was heightened. My greatest fear in this instance is a fire in one of our residence halls or in one of our buildings.”
“Before I had a chance to consult Dr. Brent Baker, the Risk Management Committee or President Pistole, the major universities here in Indiana banned the hoverboards on their campuses,” Confer explained. “This was also followed by the major airlines banning them as well because of the battery and fire concern. Dr. Baker, President Pistole and I all felt like this was a prudent decision to make, at least until the risk of fire with the hoverboard batteries improves.”
Indiana University, Purdue University, Butler University and many others across the country have banned the use of these vehicles on their campuses. A Huffington Post article stated that, as of Jan. 6, more than 20 universities had banned hoverboards. Other universities nationwide have strict restrictions and regulations on hoverboard use, such as having students bring information on the specific hoverboard brand to show that it meets the school’s specific safety standards.
Though the hoverboard ban stands for the time being, there is still a light at the end of the tunnel for any hoverboard owners or hopeful-owners, because the ban may not be eternal. Confer said that his “hope is that the technology for these hoverboards will improve quickly and that we will be able to reconsider a lift on the ban at a future point in time.”