Campus Hoverboard Policies
Many K-12 schools, colleges, and universities have questioned whether hoverboards — self-balancing, battery operated scooters — should be banned on campus. Many risk managers worry about the risk of injury to riders and pedestrians, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has identified hoverboards as a safety issue due to risk of fire.
After deciding whether your institution will permit hoverboards, consider these steps to address the safety of users and others on campus:
- Address hoverboards in your campus transportation policies. Campus policies should speak to hoverboard use. In the case of hoverboard bans, a simple, straightforward policy will often suffice, or more detailed policies (as described below) can be used. Review municipal laws in your locale, and confirm your policy complies. Some local regulations ban hoverboards in certain areas, for certain ages, or altogether.
- Use clear definitions. No matter the type of policy, identify what specific devices are banned or regulated, noting for example whether non-electric coasting devices such as skateboards or other battery-powered vehicles like electric scooters, e-bikes, and Segways are included in the policy. Sometimes hoverboards are referred to by other words, such as electric skateboards, so using a definition of a self-balancing, battery powered board for personal transportation may be helpful.
- Be specific about actions and locations. Explain what acts are allowed or prohibited, and where. For example, some policies ban the use, possession, charging, or storage of hoverboards. Some schools allow use in specific areas but ban them from being stored, charged, or used in any campus-owned or leased buildings or housing.
- Require safe operation. If hoverboards are allowed on campus, require users to follow all traffic and pedestrian laws on campus. Prohibit riders from operating the device under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or medication that may impact safe operation.
- Consider users with disabilities. Ensure the policy notes exceptions will be made in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Allow exceptions for service-related devices such as mobility scooters. Some policies go a step further to address the specific requirements for these motorized mobility devices allowed under the ADA.
- Encourage safe charging practices. Safe charging reduces the risk of fire. Remind students of key charging guidance such as not leaving the device unattended while it is charging, using only chargers supplied with the hoverboard, and following all manufacturer recommendations.
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About the Author
Christine McHugh, Esq.
Senior Risk Management Counsel
Christine’s areas of expertise include employment law, sexual assault prevention, protection of minors, traumatic brain injury, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Before joining the Risk Research team, she handled UE liability claims for several years. She previously practiced employment and higher education law.