Heelys Then, Hoverboards Now

The economy has skyrocketed with a new product demand for hoverboards. This past Christmas break, these motorized “scooters” have shown up in ads, social media feeds, and news broadcasts, and they have become a popular consumer product for all ages. Prices vary with manufacturer, but the hoverboards usually range from $400 to $1,500.

Recently, hoverboards have caused debate due to safety hazards. Reports have cropped up around the counry that boards are catching on fire while in use or while charging. It is now generally believed that the boards may be dangerous, and for liability reasons, stores are afraid to sell them.

Dr. Bettie Ann Brigham recently sent an email to all Eastern students announing a ban on these motorized boards. Some students wonder whether Eastern was reacting to a problem with hoverboards on campus or attempting to prevent one. According to Bettie Ann, “In a community living/learning situation like Eastern University it is important for safety to be a priority. Of course we cannot keep everyone safe at all times, but when we are aware of a danger, we work to protect our community. Hoverboards are a known danger to individuals and communities.” So it seems that the ban is a preemptive move.

Eastern is not the first institution to ban hoverboards or strictly regulate them. On Jan. 1, “The New York Times” reported that the state of California passed a new law to regulate these motorized boards. The law states that riders must be at least 15 years old, riders must wear protective gear, and boards can only be ridden on bikeways; they must be kept off of sidewalks.

Coincidentally, these new hoverboards resemble a product that was trending in 2006: Heelys roller skate sneakers. A similar controversy sprung up around the regulation of Heelys. Just as the hoverboards are being banned in some states and schools, so were Heelys illegal to ride in malls, shops, supermarkets, and schools.

Eastern and other schools, such as the University of California at Los Angeles, are taking precautionary steps towards the safety of their students.

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