Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

    Hoverboards banned on campus due to safety hazards

    The use or possession of battery-charged self-balancing scooters, or “Hoverboards,” has been prohibited at Loyola due to safety concerns.

    Electrical fires caused by faultily manufactured Hoverboards have spurred nationwide debate, and have caused dozens of universities to flag these devices as a fire hazard.

    Robert Reed, assistant vice president for student affairs, said that Loyola’s decision to prohibit Hoverboards on campus came as a result of a public statement issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in December 2015.

    Elliot F. Kaye, the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s chairman, detailed the Comission’s active investigation to assess Hoverboard’s injury potential.

    Kaye explained that aside from Hoverboard users being at risk of spontaneous electrical fires, inexperienced riders often lose balance and fall.

    “Some of these injuries have been serious, including concussions, fractures, contusions/abrasions and internal organ injuries,” Kaye said.

    The majority of fire-related incidents occur during charging, as the board’s internal lithium ion batteries cannot handle being “overcharged” past their full-battery capability.

    Cut-off mechanisms are supposed to stop overcharging, but if the Hoverboard is defective, these mechanisms could fail, causing a sharp rise in the internal battery temperature. This can create an electrical flash fire.

    According to Amy Boyle, director of residential life, the risk outweighs any benefits of allowing them on campus.

    “Our goal is to eliminate risk of fire and life safety issues, so as responsible administrators, we felt it was necessary to ban these devices until the technology is further developed with fewer complications or defects,” Boyle said.

    High-profile young celebrities like Justin Bieber, Wiz Khalifa, Kylie Jenner and Chris Brown publicized, sponsored and promoted Hoverboards via social media, fueling a Black Friday consumer frenzy in November 2015.

    However, in December, Amazon stopped selling 97 percent of Hoverboards manufactured by their primary Hoverboard retailer, Skagway. Overstock also pulled Hoverboards from their digital catalog.

    Amazon is currently offering a full refund to anyone who purchased a faulty Hoverboard on their website.

    Despite these Hoverboard boycotts by online retailers, sales surged on the Chinese e-market AliBaba, where non-brand retailers sold models for as low as $75.

    Cooper Schott, music industry studies freshman, received a Hoverboard last Christmas, and is disappointed that he cannot bring it back to Biever Hall.

    “I just wanted to roll around and show off my balance skills to my boys. Anyway, I assumed all of the boards that exploded were knock-offs. My board is legitimate, but it’s freaky that a bunch of them are exploding,” Schott said.

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