Hoverboard decision hangs in limbo

Hoverboard devices on campus have caused risk management to advise banning them due to their speed capabilities.


Marika Adamopoulos

Jovita Wattimena/THE CHIMES

Alondra Urizar, Writer

With portable battery-powered vehicles such as hoverboards becoming more popular, Campus Safety and risk management are discussing whether or not they should be allowed on campus.

Risk management has advised Campus Safety not to allow hoverboards on campus due to their speed capability, said James Yoon, risk and insurance management administrator in an email. Depending on each brand and how much weight the device is carrying, hoverboards can reach speeds up to 14 miles per hour.

Learning to Ride

Scott Salters, junior political science major, received his hoverboard in Aug. 2015 when he was doing public relations work for employees at a gym in Huntington Beach.

“I help these guys at a gym doing public relations for them in Huntington [Beach] and they’re always cruising around on [the hoverboards] and I was like, ‘Hey guys, I’m going to take one for the weekend because you’re my buddies.’ And they were like, ‘Oh dude, just take one from the box,’” Salters said.

Hoverboard prices can range anywhere from $200 to $1,500 depending on the brand and the company bought from. Salters said learning to ride a hoverboard was like learning to ride a snowboard and fairly simple to ride. He even uses his device in stores such as Costco, Target and Stater Bros. to do shopping and pushes his cart around in the store while riding his hoverboard.

“It took me about five minutes to learn how to ride it and then within a day, I had it down, like, pretty much mastered,” Salters said. “It’s similar to snowboarding. So when you want to slow down, you lean backwards.”

Connecting with People

Salter says the best thing to come out of his hoverboard is the connections he can make with people. He is often stopped by passersby while riding it, and he is always willing to teach others how to ride.

“Most people love it. Most people ask me about it like, ‘Oh that’s so cool’ and I’m always willing to show people. A lot of my professors love it. We’ve been doing lessons with professor John Shin actually during class on the breaks and I’ll give him a tutorial on it,” Salters said.

Students are divided on whether they should be allowed on campus or not. Amber Stilwell, junior cinema and media arts major feels hoverboards should be allowed on campus and should not be banned since bicycles can be ridden faster.

“It’s cool. I’ve tried it and it was really hard. I feel like it could end up being a fad that just comes and goes but who knows,” Stilwell said. “I feel like if they ban those, they would also have to ban bicycles and scooters because you can go faster than 15 [miles per hour] on a bike.”

Contrasting Opinions

In comparison, freshman nursing major Beth Shubin does not agree with the transportation since they could present health issues.

“I don’t like them,” Shubin, said. “I think that people if they use [hoverboards] they’re not burning calories… I can see positives if [risk management] got rid of them. It wouldn’t make me angry or anything and I would support them, but I don’t necessarily think that’s totally necessary either.”

Should Biola ban portable battery powered vehicles, Salters may buy a bicycle to travel campus grounds, but argues the devices are not too fast. Plus no students would ride them at high speeds in order to protect themselves.

Just Fun

“It’s totally safe. They don’t go that fast. They can go up to 14 mph, but no one goes that fast for their own safety. Usually I cruise around five to seven miles per hour and they’re just fun,” Salters said. “I guess I can get a bike but that’s just boring. I mean this is pretty futuristic.”

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