John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
MBTA says the devices are included in rules prohibiting “articles of an inflammable or explosive nature.”
Attention people who like riding little vehicles inside much larger, faster vehicles: Boston’s not the place for you. The MBTA just banned hoverboards due to a “string of recent injuries, fires and explosions” nationwide.
The agency exiled the scooting planks from stations, subways, buses, trains, and commuter boats after an internal assessment determined they posed a safety risk. The issue, of course, is those batteries that can go up in flames seemingly at random. The MBTA writes:
Failures in the Lithium-ion battery that powers such devices are the root cause of the self-combusting fires. Battery failures are caused by issues ranging from external abuse to cell manufacturing. Currently, there are no safety standards regulating the design and manufacturing of these devices in the United States. MBTA rules do not allow articles of an inflammable or explosive nature to be carried into any station or into or upon any passenger vehicle.
A potential fire ignited by a hoverboard can expose customers to smoke and toxic gas, which can result in injury or death. They also increase the risk of personal injury to riders due to falls, collisions, as well as the possibility of falling into the train pit.
Boston is the latest city to ban hoverboards from public transit, following New York, Chicago, and London, which has basically outlawed them everywhere. To date there hasn’t been much evidence of hoverboard mayhem on Boston’s commuter lines, but one that exploded this month in a bedroom in the North End caused around $100,000 in damages and made 10 people temporarily homeless. Here are the remains of that cursed device: