Banning Hoverboards Risks for Co-ops. Condos and HOAs

A hoverboard goes up in flames (YouTube/BuleBritish).

On the heels of a nationwide recall of a half-million hoverboards by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) due to a fire risk, co-ops, condos and HOAs are warily looking at ways in which to ban the usage of these two-wheeled personal mobility devices on their properties.

The so-called device, which mimicked an invention that Michael J. Fox’s character Marty McFly rode in the movie Back to the Future II, was one of the hottest gift items before questions arose about their safety.

Sporadic Bans

According to the CPSC, there have been nearly 100 reports of the battery packs in the self-balancing scooters and hoverboards “overheating, sparking, smoking, catching fire and/or exploding, including reports of burn injuries and property damage.” The recall involves 10 firms that manufacture and sell the devices.

In March, outside of Seattle, a condominium unit was damaged when a hoverboard was left unattended while charging. In April, three apartments in Orlando, Florida were damaged when a hoverboard sparked a fire also while being charged. And in May, a hoverboard exploded in a bedroom and caught fire in a Boston apartment building, causing $100,000 worth of damage and forcing nearby residents out of their homes.

In addition to all major airlines, several local colleges, and countries from the UK to Denmark to the United Arab Emirates, New York City officials have banned the devices and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has prohibited their possession and usage on all subways, buses and railroads. People caught riding the wheeled devices can be fined up to $200, officials say. In Massachusetts, the Boston City Council has banned the devices on public property and that city’s transportation authority also prohibited them on its trains, buses and stations. A number of Boston colleges and universities have banned hoverboards as well, including MIT, Emerson College, Boston University and Boston College.


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