The University of West Georgia’s (UWG) Office of Risk Management restricted the use and storage of the popular self-balancing boards on campus because of national reports about the boards catching fire while charging.
Self-balancing boards, more commonly referred to as hoverboards or mini-Segway boards, are small, motorized two-wheeled devices that allow riders to propel themselves forward and backward by balancing themselves on top of the device. They have become a popular piece of consumer technology, but many reports have recently deemed the devices hazardous.
“The new restriction prohibits riders from using and storing the boards indoors,” said Matt Jordan, the Director of Risk Management/Environmental Health & Safety. “Riders will still be able to ride the boards outdoors, and they can also carry them indoors, but they must remain under supervision.”
The university’s restriction went into effect when the Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a national report.
“There have been reports of fires associated with the devices’ battery,” said Jordan. “The restriction was a proportional response due to the safety risk associated with the boards.”
The boards can only be ridden outside. The campus has already placed a restriction on the use of wheeled devices, such as skateboards and bicycles, for indoors unless there is a medical or accessibility reason for the rider.
“The restriction on unattended storage only applies to the mini-Segway boards,” said Jordan.
The mini-Segway’s restriction is met with some opposition. Some students are not in favor of the ban but understand the reason for caution.
“I have had my board for several months, and I haven’t had any problems with it, said Alex Perry, a UWG student and mini-Segway owner. “I take my board almost everywhere. I mainly use it to get around on campus. I do understand why they placed the restriction, but I have always kept an eye on my board when I am not using it.”
Jordan did not give specifics as to how long the ban will remain in place, but students like Perry hope the university soon will reconsider and lift the restriction. However, Jordan remains adamant that until the CPSC reevaluates these boards and deems them as safe, UWG will continue to restrict the indoor-use and storage of the products.
The restriction may be a slight inconvenience to some students, but it should not hinder them from using the boards as transportation outside. Jordan said the ban is strictly for safety purposes.
“The university recognizes the enjoyment that the boards offer our students,” said Jordan. “That is why we did not issue a total ban, and we appreciate everyone’s understanding as we protect our community until we know more information about these products.