Ever since hoverboards came out, there have been horror stories and videos depicting the dangers of trying to use one. I, personally, have never stepped on one but I don’t think I ever would. Sure, there are some who seem to have mastered the art of staying upright and even performing some tricks but a lot of people have been seriously injured.
Just days after Christmas, reports were emerging from all over the country and it wasn’t pretty. In addition to users ending up in the emergency room with broken bones and concussions, the hoverboards themselves are showing signs of strain with multiple people reporting that they spontaneously catch fire.
As a result, airlines started banning them on flights (who wants to be at cruising altitude when one of those suckers explodes in the cargo hold?!) and Amazon started issuing refunds to concerned buyers. Even CES, the annual mega-event for toys and technology banned them.
I’m almost a little surprised that it took this long but Walmart has decided to stop selling hoverboards. Sure, they are cool looking and innovative but there’s clearly something wrong with the design if the largest company in the world is dumping them.
While they are called hoverboards, they don’t actually hover. They operate on two wheels and look kind of like a Segway but without the handle. It’s like a skateboard mixed with a Segway, if that makes sense. Initially, it seemed as though all it took was a lot of balance and some skill to operate but, increasingly, the devices have behaved unpredictably. Even if you can get past how they handle, there’s still the pesky problem of the lithium-ion batteries potentially catching fire.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has already launched an investigation into hoverboard safety so, hopefully, we should know more about what went wrong soon. In the meantime, they have found that the boards struggle to compensate for users of various weights which may lead them to suddenly throw off riders.
Sounds totally safe, right?
(Just for fun, here are 43 funny hoverboard fails!)