Hoverboards Banned Across Fordham Campuses



Logan Meis, 20, balances on his hover board outside his apartment complex in Overland Park, Kan., on Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. Meis purchased the personal transportation device for about $330 online. (Tammy Ljungblad/Kansas City Star/TNS)


Fordham’s Department of Public Safety recently banned the use and possession of the popular Christmas gift item hoverboards following New York City’s ban in November.

“Since hoverboards are technically motor vehicles, but cannot be registered with Department of Motor Vehicles, they are prohibited on New York City streets by state law,” an email sent to members of the Fordham community from John Carroll, the associate vice president of Public Safety, said. “Likewise, hoverboards are prohibited on any campus roadway or path.”

Carroll noted that he wanted to relay the message of the ban prior to students returning from winter vacation to ensure that hoverboards would not come back with them to campus. Over the winter break, the Department of Public Safety reviewed the issues associated with hoverboards. “I certainly took a look at the NYPD [and the] FDNY’s piece on it,” Carroll said.

The issue of fire safety is the primary reason that Fordham has decided to ban all use and possession of hoverboards on campuses.

“It is a fire safety hazard,” Carroll continued “It’s pretty clear.”

He noted that some companies make cheap, substandard models of hoverboards that are prone to causing fires.

According to Katie Rogers of The New York Times, “the main cause of the unpredictable fires in these devices can be traced back to the lithium-ion batteries found inside them.” She wrote that “the batteries have immense energy, too much to be packed into a simple battery without safety concerns.” Similar to Carroll, Rodgers noted that “poorly designed batteries can overheat and are prone to explosion.”

Additionally, the use of hoverboards on campus and in New York City poses a safety threat to both riders and pedestrians. In his email, Caroll wrote that the ultimate decision to ban hoverboards was based upon “the risk of falls and injuries,” in addition to the fire safety issue. He noted that there are hardly any paths on campus to ride the hoverboards on, and people who are walking on those paths can get hurt.

“We would love this to be a pedestrian-only campus,” Carroll stated. He further noted that since many buildings at Rose Hill require maintenance, the only vehicles allowed on that campus are work trucks, in addition to Sodexo trucks, which are carefully escorted to their destinations. “This is not a place for vehicles,” he said.

“They’re dangerous to other people, both in the dorms and around campus, for the person who has the hoverboard and the people around them,” Daniel Villar, FCLC ‘17, said.

To allay fears of safety issues, many New York officials have tried to amend the ban and legalization of these devices.

Carroll stated that Fordham would not be willing to lift the ban on hoverboards on campus if certain restrictions were in place.

“The fire hazard is the big hazard and that is ever-present,” he said. Even with protective pads, he noted, hoverboards are still not safe devices. “They are like skateboards and people can get hurt.”

Since students will be charged for riding the illegal device on city streets, there is no place even outside of campus for the hoverboards to be used.

“I didn’t know they were illegal or banned in the city,” Aurpita Deb, FCLC ‘19, said. “I still see people riding them. I saw Ne-Yo riding around the streets the other day.”

If members of the Fordham community choose to ignore the ban and bring or ride hoverboards on campus, Carroll noted that his Department of Public Safety will warn the offenders. “We are not here to penalize students,” he stated.

In addition to hoverboards, Carroll noted that mopeds, bicycles, motorcycles, mini bikes and skateboards are also prohibited on campuses.

“The goal here is just to keep [members of the Fordham community] safe, that this is a safe place for you to come study,” he said.  “I’m very concerned for public safety.”