Hoverboards won’t McFly

Lauren Merrill

A hot new trend dubbed 2015 the “year of the hoverboard.” On Black Friday alone, 5,000 hoverboards were sold on eBay, according to CNBC. On Cyber Monday, one hoverboard was bought an average of every 12 seconds.

Although these devices are popular, they are now becoming infamous for their safety hazards.

Videos have gone viral of hoverboards catching on fire and people falling. Wiz Khalifa was even arrested in an airport when he refused to give up his hoverboard due to safety reasons.

These issues are the reasons that many colleges are concerned with the use of hoverboards. On Jan. 8, Appalachian State issued a campus-wide immediate interim ban on the use of hoverboards. Because of the safety concerns, this ban is a must for the security of students and staff.

The ban is temporary, however. The university wants to look further into the potential risks and develop appropriate safety policies for possible future use on campus. But until then, the risks outweigh the rewards.

For the fire hazards alone, this ban is crucial. Not only could a user spontaneously catch on fire, but buildings could also be subject to the fire concerns. This is a big safety and money concern for everyone.

Fires are known to happen when the hoverboard is in use, but occur more often when the device is charging. The fires are likely related to the lithium battery used to power the device, according to Transportation.gov. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating 37 hoverboard-related fires in 19 states, according to the agency’s twitter.

A second risk associated with hoverboards are injuries from falling off the device. There have been 70 emergency room cases according to the CPSC’s twitter.

This ban is strongly influenced by personal safety, and the geography of campus is not the safest place for students to use hoverboards.

Appalachian State is not the only university to put a ban on hoverboards.  More than 30 colleges have put temporary and permanent bans on the device, according to college.usatoday.com

Now we understand why universities would be concerned with having these spontaneously combusting devices on campus. They are just too dangerous. The ban may change in the next few months, but as of now, it is necessary to keep them off campus.

Merrill, a sophomore journalism major from Chapel Hill, is an opinion writer.