UNCW bans indoor use of hoverboards

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Bicycles and skateboards are still a go for UNCW students, but hoverboards will no longer be allowed for use or charging in any building on campus. Courtesy photo.
Bicycles and skateboards are still a go for UNCW students, but hoverboards will no longer be allowed for use or charging in any building on campus. Courtesy photo.

The “Back to the Future” days are through for UNC-Wilmington students hoping to hop around campus on high-tech wheels.

They do not actually levitate like Marty McFly’s, but the popular self-balancing scooters, often referred to as “hoverboards,” do pose some safety concerns, according to federal consumer and safety agencies. The National Association of State Fire Marshals has received reports of the boards igniting during use and while charging, and has initiated investigations into several injuries caused by them.

Considering the potential risks—and falling in line with other UNC system universities—UNC-Wilmington recently announced an immediate ban on the indoor use of hoverboards. That ban, according to university officials, applies to students, faculty and staff in all campus buildings, including residence halls.

“UNCW continuously monitors local and national trends that could affect our campus, faculty, staff and/or students,” wrote Stan Hart, the university’s director of environmental health and safety, in a campus-wide memo. “Recently there has been a great deal of public dialogue pertaining…hoverboards, particularly as to the potential fire risk associated with their use and charging.”

While the ban took effect Thursday, Hart said plans are underway to develop and implement a campus safety standard for hoverboards and other similarly “personal-powered transportation devices.”

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at hilary.s@portcitydaily.com.