For the most part, everyone progresses from crawling to walking. Then, some more adventurous humans go off and try riskier (but fun!) activities like skiing or bicycling or rock climbing. For the true adrenaline junkie though, there's something even more risky: hoverboards.
According to a letter from the chairman of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), hoverboards are really quite dangerous and the Commission is actively investigating the companies that make or sell the things. There are many ways that your hoverboard could kill you, including catching fire thanks to exploding batteries, or, perhaps the most risky risk: falling off.
falling off is the most risky risk
"At first glance, it is easy to believe the risk of falling off a hoverboard is an obvious one and to dismiss those injuries as user inexperience or error," writes CPSC Chairman Elliot F. Kaye. But, the Chairman writes, the concern is that the products might not take into consideration the differing weights of riders and not respond appropriately. As such, the CPSC is examining hoverboards to see if "they present a hidden hazard that is leading to fall injuries that should not occur, even on a product that presents some risk of falling."
That is, you might not realize how much you risk falling off even if you take into account the risk of falling off.
Then there's the risk of buying a cheap knockoff of a cheap knockoff of something built by a company called Swagway. That's the real name of a real company making these things. One of their hoverboards is called the Swagtron and it's actually pretty sweet.
should you really trust your life to a something made by a company called swagway?
The CPSC, US Customs and Border Protection, US Department of Transportation, and the Federal Aviation Administration are sharing information and insights to keep everyone safe, including the confiscation of counterfeit hoverboards and products that use the Underwriters Laboratories UL mark, since while individual components like batteries or power supplies might be UL certified, there is no overall UL certification for hoverboards.
Luckily, both the major safety certification agencies, ASTM International and UL, are working on safety standards for hoverboards and the CPSC will certainly have some input. In the meantime, stay the hell away from hoverboards.
your hoverboard is actively trying to kill you
Or, if you simply must get your swag on with your knockoff Swagway Swagtron, The Man would like you to follow these simple recommendations:
- Have a fire extinguisher with you at all times
- Charge it away from anything that might catch fire, like your house or grass or basically anything ever
- Wear a helmet, elbow and knee pads, and wrist guards. And maybe one of those full-body K9 training bite suits.
- Do not use a hoverboard on or near a road.
And if you ignore all this advice, don't come crying to the Consumer Product Safety Commission when you faceplant on the sidewalk and break your neck. They tried to tell you, but you just didn't listen.