On Friday morning, Jan. 8, John King, the director of public safety at Boston College, exacted a ban on hoverboards on BC’s campus, via an email to the student body.
The decision to ban the hoverboards was initiated by King, Dean of Students Thomas Mogan, and George Arey, the director of the Office of Residential Life. The email said that the Office of Environmental Health & Safety recommended this measure after the Consumer Product Safety Commission cited that hoverboards have caused 28 fires in 19 states. The University’s action is out of concern for student safety, the email said.
While Massachusetts has not passed any direct legislation concerning hoverboard use, in 2011, the City of Boston passed an ordinance that banned the use of electrical personal assistive mobility devices on public property. Other schools in the area, including Suffolk University, Brandeis University, and University of Massachusetts Amherst, have banned hoverboards on campus.
These bans are following a larger, national trend in which colleges across the country are using the winter break to release updated policies banning the use of the self-balancing scooters. The same day that King sent out the email to BC students, students at Occidental College in Los Angeles received a similar notification regarding a ban on hoverboards.
California passed legislation early in 2016 that legalized and regulated the hoverboards. Riders must be at least 16 years of age, wear a helmet, and cannot ride in zones where the speed limit is greater than 35 miles per hour. These regulations follow a viral video of former professional boxer Mike Tyson falling off of his child’s hoverboard, released Dec. 29, 2015.
Several airlines, like American Airlines, Delta, and United, have banned the electrical boards from being brought on flights. Metrolink trains have also prevented riders from bringing the hoverboards aboard.
“I was really excited to bring the hoverboard I got for Christmas to school this semester,” Cameron Pott, MCAS ’19, said in a phone interview. “All of my friends wanted to see it and it would’ve been a ton of fun in the dorm. Unfortunately, this is no longer an option for me, and I’ll have to leave it at home.”
Alexandra Allam and Sophie Reardon also contributed to this report
Featured Image courtesy Urban Wheel