Operations council bans hoverboard use outright

Student safety concerns outweigh convenience

By Asma Alkrizy, Opinion Editor

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The use of hoverboards has increased on many college campuses, with USA Today reporting more than 30 colleges having banned the use of hoverboards on campus in favor of student’s safety.

As of this semester, the Operations Council voted to ban the hoverboard from being used as a means for transportation at Contra Costa College. Students aren’t allowed to ride the devices on any roadway, sidewalk or paved surfaces due to student safety concerns.

Hoverboards, two-wheeled electric boards, have become popular lately for transportation alongside bicycles and skateboards.

Students increasingly ride them in the hallways, along the sidewalks and even inside the buildings.

Buildings and Grounds Manager Bruce King said as the head of the Operations Council, which constitutes students and faculty members, he envisioned the dangerous use of such devices at campus.

King said he doesn’t personally advocate for the overall ban of hoverboards on campus, so long as students ride the device away from congested areas “that include lots of people, such as in hallways or buildings.

“(Hoverboards) shouldn’t be used in certain places where it is easy to run into people, such as inside buildings,” King said.

He said many accidents occurred on colleges as a result of students riding hoverboards in congested areas on campus. One of the accidents is a hoverboard catching fire as a result of students charging the devices. “Some (hoverboards) can explode while charging,” King said.

Criminal justice major Joshua Pharr said the ban of hoverboards is an inconvenience because the construction in progress makes it difficult for students to get around campus.

The Campus Center and Classroom Building Project, which will be completed August 2016, has made students take circuitous routes to reach their classes.

Pharr said he considers hoverboards a convenient transportation method.

“Besides, (hoverboards) are a good tool to move around campus efficiently,” Pharr said. “Nobody so far has said anything to me about riding it. I’m going to keep riding it until someone makes me stop.”

Adhering to students’ safety standards, Police Services are citing any students riding hoverboards on restricted areas.

Corporal Tom Holt said many students aren’t using the hoverboards properly. 

He said creating hoverboard regulation signs and spreading the word by placing them on campus would strengthen the college’s step to reduce the risk of collisions and potential fires on campus.

“It is not like I’m trying to take away an alternative transportation for students,” he said. “It will bring into attention the risks of using hoverboards on college (campuses).” 

While citations will be issued to a student or faculty member violating the cycle regulation signs, King said he is upset about the context behind the signs.

“They don’t say anything about hoverboards,” he said. “The wording of the sign makes it seem (the campus) is not welcoming to bicycling.”

He said the Sustainability Committee members were angry about the misleading signs on campus, petitioning for the sign to articulate the hoverboard issue, not a “got you” type of sign.

The signs reinforce the violations of students who roller skate, in-line skate and use skateboards, but do not address the main issue, the use of hoverboards. 

“The wording of the sign makes it troubling for (cyclists),” he said.