By Kevin Hebert
Self-balancing scooters, or hoverboards, exploded onto the scene in 2015. However, their appeal is vanishing quickly in 2016, with many groups prohibiting them for safety reasons. LSU is among one of many who have made an effort to ban their presence.
According to The Guardian, Shane Chen produced the first hoverboard in 2013. Costing over $1,000, it made for a very small audience. Chinese factories saw an opportunity in this, and by 2014, many of them had essentially stolen Chen’s patent and began production of their own. To cut costs, these Chinese factories used very cheap and often defective batteries, and this is what has resulted in reports of fires and burns from all over the nation.
On Dec. 31, an email was sent out to LSU students living on campus informing them that hoverboards were no longer allowed in residence halls. This new policy was created to prevent the risk of a widespread fire in the dorms. Immediately after, the university began working to implement a campus-wide ban on these devices until safety regulations caught up. A second email was sent on Jan. 11 informing all students that hoverboards were banned from all campus buildings.
Despite this very dangerous hazard, hoverboards still remain a fairly popular gadget around college campuses. According to USA Today, they gained prominence with college athletes, especially football players. Their popularity, however, is plummeting as the hazards become more prevalent.
LSU freshman and tennis player Cameron Andry seems to be in line with the changing opinion.
“I think they’re pretty cool as a toy,” Andry said. “But I don’t think I would ever want to have one to ride around. They just seem really unnecessary to me.”
Andry said he isn’t sure about athletes using hoverboards as transportation.
“To be honest, I don’t think that’s why a lot of the athletes are using them,” he said. “I’m not really sure it saves enough energy to make a difference. I think a lot of people are riding them just because they’re the fun and cool new thing.”
Hoverboards aren’t limited to athletes, but the opinion on them seems to remain the same.
“I’ve never really cared for them too much, so the ban doesn’t really bother me,” said LSU freshman Olivia Talbot. “It’s not like hoverboards are the only way to get around campus. I just think with these kinds of hazards it’s hard not to agree with the ban.”