Colleges across the US and UK are urging students to leave their hoverboards at home.
At least 20 US universities have either banned or restricted the gadgets from their campuses in recent weeks, claiming the popular motorised skateboards are unsafe. Along with the risk of falls, colleges are citing warnings from federal authorities that some of the gadgets have reportedly caught on fire.
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) January 6, 2016
Officials from East Carolina University have enforced a ban from today, while North Carolina Central University announced their ban on Tuesday. Schools with an outright ban on the board include the American University, George Washington University and Kean University. Other schools forbidding the item include the University of Alabama, the University of Kentucky and UNC- Chapel Hill.
The UK has also issued a temporary campus-wide ban on hoverboards that was implemented yesterday. UK Fire Marshal, Greg Williamson, says administrators and university officials began discussing the ban as national and international concerns regarding the gadget continued to grow.
— Residential Programs (@IURPS) January 3, 2016
“When you look at it, you have the city of New York – you can’t ride these things in the city of New York,” says Williamson. “When you have the UK banning them, I mean it shows you that this is something that is not just a knee-jerk reaction. It’s something that is very concerning to us. And the statistics have shown we’re going to have a fire with one of these things.”
The move has frustrated some students, especially those who received a hoverboard over the Christmas period. Some are already refusing to obey the restrictions, claiming the ban will not prevent them from using their board.
Just got an email about hoverboards, some WU students bout to be mad
— dee. (@DJT__15) January 6, 2016
Myles Gibson is a student at a UK university affected by the ban. He got his hoverboard in September last year, and says what was a 15-minute walk now only takes him 10-minutes with the use of his hoverboard. Gibson says he is not happy about the ban, but he understands the UK’s reasons for enforcing such restrictions.
“I wish it was different,” he says. “I wish there was maybe a way we could work around it, but [I understand that it’s] for the better of everyone that the ban be put in place.”
US federal authorities say they are investigating 28 fires in 19 states, all of which seem to be tied to the hoverboard.
Additional reporting by Associated Press.
Image via Shutterstock.