The University of Rhode Island is following the example of other colleges across the nation and banning self-balancing scooters from campus.
Generally known as Hoverboards, these motorized boards met opposition when reports surfaced through the media about them catching fire. Assistant Director of Public Safety Samuel Adams said the reason for the ban is because of the fires involving the boards. “There have been fires while people are riding them, there are fires when people are charging them and fires when they’re just sitting around,” Adams said.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating the issue, according to Adams. Reports in the media have said there may be certain brands of the product that are not an issue. However, Adams said that the CPSC has not yet come to that same conclusion. “Until they do, our hands are kind of tied until they can say there are certain ones that are safe and there are certain ones that are not,” Adams said.
Ryan Graham, a Hoverboard owner and senior at the university, said, “I loved getting to campus, getting out of my car and hopping on my Hoverboard to class. It was so easy for me.” According to Graham, the problem is that, when the boards catch on fire, it is because the lithium battery inside the gets too hot and explodes. Graham said that if the university is against Hoverboards, then he thinks they should ban all devices that have lithium batteries. “There are so many other fire hazards on campus,” he said. “It’s just really unfortunate that this is something that has to be banned.”
Adams said that the university is continuing to watch for the CPSC’s next report on the boards. “Our intent is to modify the ban,” he said, “There is the personal safety issue, but the ban is focused on the fire danger. If we can take that out of the equation, then the need for that ban goes away and it just becomes a safety issue to address.”
Adams said that if the CPSC finds that certain brands are acceptable and some are not, then they will make a decision on how to enforce that.
“We really emphasize a culture of safety here and everybody has a responsibility for their safety,” Adams said. “The decision to implement this was kind of a no-brainer because it’s being done everywhere, but it is purely in the interest of everybody’s personal safety and the safety of our buildings and facilities and our academic mission.”
Brown University and Salve Regina have also banned the use of Hoverboards on their campuses along with airlines across the country, banning anyone from bringing them on flights. Â