Hoverboarder

Wheels come off the hoverboard fad at KU after police issue ban

They are currently the coolest way to get around Kingston University.

Made popular by the likes of pop stars Justin Bieber and Lethal Bizzle, self-balancing boards or “hoverboards” as they are known, have been seen racing around the university campuses since the beginning of the academic year.

But soon they will be seen no more.

The university will soon be introducing a new policy that will ban the use of hoverboards on university property, following a warning from the Metropolitan police that they were “illegal” for use in public areas earlier this month.

The Metropolitan police stated that as hoverboards are classified as “motor vehicles” by the Department for Transport, it would be an offence under the 1935 Highway Act to operate in a public area.

The Met’s tweet to riders alongside a picture of the autonomous vehicle warned: Own one of these or thinking about getting one? “They’re illegal to ride in public.”

Since the warning from the Met, the University has issued a statement clarifying its stance on the use of hoverboards.  While the University are currently drafting their guidelines around the use of autonomous vehicles, they have said they will most likely follow the Met’s advice and ban them from university property.

A University spokesperson said: “The University is currently drawing up an official policy with regards to hoverboards/rideables. Given that the use of ‘self-balancing scooters’ is illegal on public pavements and roads in the UK, it is unlikely that they will be allowed on campus.”

Jabir Samuels, 19, who studies biochemistry, bought a hoverboard earlier this year but since the ruling by the Met over its legality, has had to give it up.

He said: “I used to use it my halls of residence and the security didn’t really mind it. They just say don’t ride it indoors because it is a health and safety hazard. In terms of riding it around campus and stuff, I wouldn’t see that as an issue.

“It didn’t make sense to have five or six people in the corridors zipping around while people are trying to get to lectures and stuff. In terms of actual university property, I don’t think it’s fair because it’s not really harming anyone.”

However, he does not agree with the university’s policy to remove them completely: “In terms of in-doors, I would agree that when I had mine, five or six friends also had one and it is unsafe to use it in that way,” he added.

While no recent statistics exist for any incidents involving the hoverboards as they have only been on general sale in the UK in August, the original Segway released in 2001 was marred by safety issues.  A study published in Annals of Emergency Medicine reported that over a three year period, 41 people were admitted to an American university hospital with serious head injuries, mostly caused by users striking inanimate objects.

Since the declaration regarding the legal status by the Metropolitan police, sales of the boards have rocketed by 215 per cent according to retailer Appliances Online.

About Ceysun Dixon

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