As the popularity of hoverboards soar in North America, the University of Waterloo may have to consider implementing some policies surrounding them in the future.</p>
After a number of recent bans of these personal transportation devices at American universities, on roads and sidewalks in major Canadian cities, Imprint inquired into why UW currently does not have any policies in place that regulate the use of hoverboards on its campus.
“It is certainly something that we were aware of, that it’s a topic of conversation in popular media, but it’s nothing that we have had any direct experience with yet. Although I suspect, at some point, we will have some direct experience with it,” said Glen Weppler, UW’s director of housing, in response to any incidents or discussions that the subject has caused.
In recent weeks, North Carolina State University and Ohio University banned the possession, use, and storage of hoverboards anywhere on university property due to numerous reports of the device catching fire.
When this was brought to the attention of Kate Windsor, UW’s director of safety, she replied: “At this point, they are treated just like bicycles, rollerblades, or skateboards.
“If a fire were to occur on campus, we would investigate its root cause and if there was enough of a risk, they may be banned at the university.”
Since UW still hasn’t experienced any incidents directly related to hoverboards, they are not being considered potentially dangerous gadgets.
In regards to the repercussions students may face if mishandling this device, Windsor added: “It is seen the same as someone accidentally being hit by a skateboard; there is not much we can do about it. If it was a major incident, UW Police Services would definitely be involved as they are with any situation where they can be of assistance.”
Both Weppler and Windsor said that currently, the popularity of hoverboards at UW is not evident. The weather in Waterloo during the winter months does not provide ideal conditions for the use of hoverboards; however, their popularity may be noticed as spring nears.
According to the policies that are in place in regards to bicycles, skateboards, and roller blades, hoverboards can be freely used while outdoors on campus. However, hoverboards must be carried while indoors.
Since they are relatively small, hoverboards may be safely stored in the rooms of UW residences without any required additional permission.