Rutgers officials ban hoverboards from campus, residence halls


hoverboard
Photo by Ben Larcey |

Similar to the hoverboards themselves, Rutgers students will not be levitating around campus next semester.

Citing safety concerns, Rutgers University has become the latest school to ban the storage and use of hoverboards on its campus. The self-balancing scooters will no longer be allowed inside any University buildings, including residence halls.

The ban on the hands-free hoverboard devices, which may be lifted pending an investigation by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), was announced at 2:44 p.m. Thursday by Chief William R. Scott of the University's Department of Emergency Services.

“If you own a hoverboard, please do not bring the devices on campus. If you choose to use them off-campus, please be sure to follow the safety precautions outlined by the ... CPSC or the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA),” Scott said in an email to the Rutgers community.

The first hoverboards appeared in China in August 2014. The devices were popularized in the U.S. in 2015 by celebrities who posted videos of their use on social media, according to wired.com.

Following the scooter’s meteoric rise in popularity, a number of Chinese manufacturers have started churning out branded versions of the devices for resale in the U.S. and other countries. Some of the manufacturers have cut corners and released patently unsafe products.

The lithium-ion batteries that power the hoverboards have been catching fire, sometimes without any apparent cause. 

Overcharging the motorized scooters can lead to fires, according to NFPA safety guidelines. Extended use or use of the devices on a hot day can also cause combustion.

To reduce the risk of a fire, consumers should avoid buying hoverboards from vendors that do not provide information about the manufacturer, CPSC chairman Elliot F. Kayne said in a statement. Additionally, devices that lack the seal of certified national testing laboratory should be avoided.

“Every consumer who is riding a hoverboard, who purchased one to give as a gift during the holidays, or who is thinking about buying one deserves to know if there is a safety defect,” Kayne said.


Nikita Biryukov

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