Hoverboard reputation crashes and burns

Due to speed capabilities and fire risks, Biola bans hoverboards from campus.


Marika Adamopoulos

Jovita Wattimena/THE CHIMES

Alondra Urizar, Writer

In fall 2015, Biola made the decision to ban self-balancing electric scooters — hoverboards — from campus due to speeds they can achieve, said James Yoon, risk and management administrator in an email.

Limitations & Prohibitions

Additionally, AB-604 was approved in Oct. 2015 and enforced beginning Jan. 1, 2016, covering all of California while counties and cities have varying measures of strictness for the electric scooters. The bill prohibits riders under the age of 16 and requires riders to use a helmet at all times as well as limited to use on roads of 35 mph or less. It is also prohibited to ride hoverboards while under the influence of any drugs or alcohol.

On Feb. 18, 2016, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission wrote a letter to all manufacturers, importers and retailers deeming hoverboards unsafe since they do not meet voluntary safety standards and can be a fire hazard to consumers.

Safety Concerns

Amazon recently removed all self-balancing scooters on Feb. 23, adhering to the Target and Toys “R” Us decisions to remove hoverboards from their websites as well.

Reports of fires caused by the devices come from across the nation due to the lithium-ion batteries inside. Airlines across the nation have banned bringing hoverboards on airplanes due to their 160 watt batteries while Metrolink has either banned them altogether or ban their use on trains or on the property.


Freshman cinema and media arts major Daniel Vandehoef received his first hoverboard in Oct. 2015, and considered how he could use the mechanism with his film projects. Since his first hoverboard, he has gone through three more, returning each due to different malfunctions. His current hoverboard is broken as well.

“They’re meant to be used as toys. I use them as toys so that’s why I’ve been going through so many of them,” Vandehoef said.

Hoverboard Use

When Vandehoef’s friends told him Biola banned hoverboards on campus, he was in disbelief. He was later approached by an officer who told him he was unable to use them on campus due to their high speed capabilities. Vandehoef contests they go no more than eight mph at full speed.

“I only could get mine, according to the Snapchat filter, to [go] seven [mph]. So it’s not even a jog, you could beat it at a jogging pace,” Vandehoef said.

Though laws and regulations have been placed on the self-balancing devices, Vandehoef plans to buy more.

“I live up in the Sacramento area,” Vandehoef said. “As far as I know there’s no laws against them. They’re not necessarily meant for transportation anyway, so you ride it around your street and have fun with it, not necessarily go long distances with it.”

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