December 16, 2015

Don’t Get Carried Away By The Hoverboard Craze!

What is illegal to ride on Australian roads, banned on commercial airlines and can catch on fire while they are charging? One of the hottest items on gifts on wish lists this year: the hoverboard. For those of you who aren’t in the know, this 2 wheeled personal transportation device acts much like a Segway. These toys have been in the news lately for being unsafe, but that doesn’t seem to be slowing people down in their quest to own one.

There are a few buying tips to remember when deciding which brand of hoverboard to purchase. Mashable has a great guide on how to buy the toy. The article suggests buying a device that won’t break and if it does make sure you have a warranty.

The ACCC has issued a warning on the internal battery in the toys as it may not comply with Australian standards for electrical appliances. The toys have been the cause of house fires which started while charging the battery. The devices are at risk of overheating, exploding and catching fire.

The NSW government has issued a warning about using the hoverboard on Australian roads. Roads Minister Duncan Gay released a statement that there are fines of $637 for riding the device on public roads, and a fine of $319 for riding on public footpaths, SMH reports.

“I don’t want to be the Christmas Grinch, but I want people to know and send a message that these new toys have real safety concerns,” Duncan Gay stated, “For starters, they are motorised and can travel at speeds up to 26km/h, yet require no training to use them, they don’t have adequate brakes and don’t have lights or warning indicators, meaning they can’t interact safely with other road users like pedestrians.”

For those who are still planning on purchasing one, it is legal to ride one in your own home.

If you are planning on taking your hoverboard on any holidays this summer take note: Recently many Australian, American and UK airlines have banned or regulated them to carry on luggage only. This is due to the fire risk associated with the lithium batteries. When making your travel plans, be sure to check with your airline before packing a hoverboard.

As laws and regulations catch up with technology, there will also be changes in the law that surround this craze. The New Year will have new rules for use of this device. Be sure to keep yourself updated!


Julie Dunmore

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