Hoverboards – bit of fun or just plain dangerous?
Posted on 7th January 2016
It is unlikely to have passed you by that one of the most sought after Christmas presents of 2015 is the hoverboard. Who would have thought, 30 years after Michael J Fox in Back to The Future, the dream would come true. Challenging but fun to ride, they have become a hit with celebrities, teenagers and kids alike.
However, nothing comes without risk. It has been well reported in the press recently that the hoverboard has led to some unfortunate consequences including injuries from falls and burns (due to exploding boards). They have even started house fires.
Of 17,000 examined by trading standards and imported into the UK from outside the EU in October and November, 15,000 failed safety checks.
Despite hoverboards having now been made illegal for use on pavements and roads in the UK, they can still be used legally on private property with the landowner’s permission. They remain immensely popular. Estimates suggest that there were half a million purchased this Christmas.
Therefore, if you have already bought or been given a hoverboard, have fun but also think safety.
Check your hoverboard is safe
Contact the retailer for written confirmation that it is safe and has compliant electrical components including plugs, chargers, cabling and batteries. If you are thinking of buying one ensure you purchase from a reputable retailer.
Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 purchasers are protected in that retailers have to offer an immediate refund if it can be shown that the item is faulty within 30 days of purchase and for 6 months after if a later fault develops and it cannot be repaired or replaced. Under the earlier Consumer Protection Act 1987, retailers can be held liable for injuries caused by a defective / unsafe product.
A hoverboard can reach speeds of around 10mph so a fall from one can cause more substantial injuries such as fractures, head injuries and concussion as well as sprains, cuts and bruises. In order to reduce the risk of serious injury in the event of a fall, wear protective clothing including a helmet and knee and elbow pads.
Many people are calling for the ban on the use of hoverboards in public to be lifted on the basis they are fun, seen as toys and they are no different to skateboards, rollerblades or bikes, all of which are legal. So where do you stand are they just a bit of fun or just an injury waiting to happen?