If you received a hoverboard last holiday season, or sometime before that, you may want to check that it isn’t a serious accident waiting to happen on your way to class or work. Over 500,000 “hoverboards,” or self-balancing scooters, have been recalled this month due to reports of serious fire hazards associated with the devices. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, or CPSC, “The lithium-ion battery packs in the self-balancing scooters/hoverboards can overheat, posing a risk of the products smoking, catching fire and/or exploding." The overheating batteries have caused at least 99 incidents including burn injuries.
This recall may not be a bad thing, however, as these so-called “hoverboards” (although let’s be real, they obviously don’t actually hover), have a few other innate problems other than a high risk of spontaneous combustion. Reckless usage of the product is known for causing serious accidents that can lead to painful injuries. Last December in Baton Rouge three serious head injuries were reported to have been caused by hoverboard crashes, and many more less serious injuries were treated at hospitals in the area due to the same type of incident. Similar stories have appeared all over the country, including Philadelphia, and videos of hoverboard “fails” have spread all across the internet.
These accidents do not only cause injury to the hoverboard rider, but when used in crowded places like college campuses they can lead to collisions with pedestrians, skateboarders, and bikers. I have personally come close to becoming a victim of such a collision on my campus multiple times.
Additionally, the prevalence of these among teens and young adults is concerning, as it has become a replacement for walking, and inherently discourages exercise, despite claims that it can be used as an exercise tool. After seeing someone use one to travel through a parking lot from a storefront to their car, it’s hard for me to believe that these lazy versions of skateboards are anything but a warning that our society is heading towards the dystopian stagnancy of say, the lazy citizens of the space-cruise ship Axiom in "Wall-E."
So although many may be disappointed that their fun Segway-like toy has become dangerous, and banned in places such as airports and on planes, this might be a blessing in disguise. These devices have more disadvantages than advantages, and probably should be banned. Instead of spending $500 on a hoverboard that doesn’t hover, try walking to class and saving that money for something more important.