By Ashley Peters
Hoverboards have been making headlines in New York City after someone in the NYPD issued then deleted a tweet in November proclaiming that using the devices in public violates motor vehicle laws.
In recent weeks news articles have popped up claiming that several of the self-balancing scooters (which don’t actually hover) have caused fires because their lithium-ion batteries are prone to overheating. As a result, several airlines have issued bans on the devices and will not allow them on board their planes.
Yet with all of the recent developments people still want their go at the latest in transportation technology.
The Daily News, citing an unnamed “NYPD spokeswoman,” declared that under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law the devices are motor vehicles that can’t be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Technically people can be fined $200 for operating such vehicles on public roads, but to date there have been no reports of such fines being issued.
Hoverboards do not have handlebars. They are steered by the shifting of one’s weight from left to right. According to Tech Advisor most models travel approximately 12-14 miles per hour, are battery powered and need to be charged after a couple uses.
“I still want a hoverboard,” said Makia Pruden, a York College student. “It matters that you could get fined for riding one, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still pretty cool.”
Despite the threat of fines and fires, the devices are growing in popularity among young people.
“I want to try riding one, I see them all over social media and on the streets,” said Ashley Rodriguez, another student at York.
In an effort to quell the growing fear about fire hazards, several producers have been defending their products.
Tony Le, the CEO a company called Glitek that produces and sells hoverboards, told a reporter for Forbes Magazine that the malfunction in the hoverboard system comes from “manufacturers choosing cheap batteries to save a few bucks,” adding that his company’s products are safe.
“Although I like the hoverboards,” said Pruden. “I would need to make sure that I’m getting a real one and not a knock off.”
Like any fad product, because the hoverboards are in such high demand, multiple different companies are making cheaper more affordable versions. Le said one way to assess the product is by the type of battery, which should be name brand like Duracell. Suspect models will have non-recognizable battery brands. Another point Le makes is that hoverboards should cost anywhere upwards of $350 anything cheaper than that shoppers should be wary of.
Unlike Pruden and Rodriguez, some people are really unimpressed with hoverboards as a whole.
“I think hoverboards are stupid,” said Raymond Pina, an Aviation major at York College. “People who purchase them are just trying to keep up with every irrelevant trend. I’m better off walking to get where I need to go.”
These trends stem from celebrities all over social media endorsing the hoverboards. Inadvertently they make most people who see their favorite celebrity on one want to buy it as well. But Pina just is not interested in purchasing a hoverboard any time soon.
Hoverboards are still selling out In New York and other parts of the world. After the holiday season expect to see more hoverboards on the streets.