Emerson College Has Prohibited the Use of Hoverboards

In part because they’re prone to explosion.

It is the end of free, unrestricted joy riding via hoverboard on Boylston Street.

In an e-mail to the Emerson College student body on Monday, Associate Dean Erik Muurisepp announced the college’s decision to prohibit the use and possession of hoverboards.

“The devices present an unacceptable risk of crashes, falls, and speeding in our crowded hallways and elevators,” reads the e-mail. “In addition, recent information has revealed that the batteries in the devices are dangerous and prone to explosion, creating a safety and fire risk.”

Despite these very real risks, hoverboards were one of the most popular gifts given during the holiday seasonwhich lead to widely viewed videos of people falling off their hoverboards, as well as more instances of house fires caused by the devices. More than a dozen hoverboard-related fires have been reported across the country, including a November incident in a Somerville apartment.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission released a statement on hoverboards in December, announcing it would investigate the causes of the device’s fire hazards and risks of injury. The commission has received a growing number of injury reports from hospital emergency rooms. “Some of these injuries have been serious,” wrote CPSC Chairman Elliot F. Kaye, “including concussions, fractures, contusions/abrasions, and internal organ injuries.”

Emerson students who received hoverboards over the winter break period were warned not to bring them back to college housing. According to the e-mail, if any hoverboards are found on Emerson’s campus, they will be confiscated by staff.

Emerson follows several other New England colleges in banning the devices, including Salve Regina University, the University of Hartford, and others. More than 50 major airlines have also banned hoverboards, and they are outlawed on the streets of New York City. The state of California, alternatively, allows hoverboards to cruise at 35 miles per hour or less where bicycles are permitted.

While the administration has thwarted the joy of new hoverboard owners at Emerson, they’ve also likely reduced their chances of experiencing spontaneous combustions and fractured skulls.


Full disclosure: The author is a student at Emerson College.