On a Friday evening, I headed to the Corniche for a walk with the weather crisp and slightly cold, the atmosphere serene and the walk – indispensable for my jammed muscles.
It was encouraging to see people running, jogging and engaging in sport to keep themselves healthy. However, my eyes caught sight of these futuristic-looking ‘hover boards’; battery-powered devices with blue-colored lights on either side. They were hard to miss, and once I noticed them, they were everywhere.
It was fascinating to watch as people zoomed past me. To move forward, they leaned on their toes and to move backward, they simply pressed on their heels. The most amusing thing? Uses ranging from 10 to 30 years made full use of these self-balancing scooters, making their ‘walk in the park’ much more ‘convenient’.
We can marvel at the innovative gadget, but the modern form of the self-balancing scooter raises serious questions about health and safety.
There is a sensitive and blurry line between owning a cool gadget and the responsible way to use it.
Ironically, It’ll Keep You Immobile
Astonishing statistic shared by the Emirates 24/7 tells us that in 2014, studies show that UAE ranks among the top 20 countries for the prevalence of diabetes.
According to 2014 health figures published in The National, most heart attack cases in the UAE were reported by patients suffering from hypertension, high levels of cholesterol, obesity and diabetes.WHO revealed that 50% of people are dying from such noncommunicable diseases in some Gulf countries before the age of sixty.
Lack of exercise is one of the key reasons for such unhealthy figures.
With an excessive use of these self-balancing scooters, there are more chances for its riders to fall into unhealthy regimes of movement. The device certainly brings us to the outdoors but it doesn’t fully perform the function of revitalizing and working our muscles. If these boards are doors to a greater number of personal high-tech gadgets then perhaps we need to consider reverting to cycling, walking or running as traditional methods of being healthy.
Self-balancing scooters pose a safety risk
Earlier this year, it was reported that a 6 year-old boy on a self-balancing scooter was run over by a car in Abu Dhabi. Their use among children, when unsupervised, may result in accidents.
This poses a significant risk to public safety, with the self-balancing scooter or ‘overboard’ as many kids are referring to it, can go at a maximum speed of 16km/h.
Following this incident, the local police have warned people to use boards away from the roads and limited to designated areas. Shopping malls have also taken this initiative of banning their use as it disrupts the customers’ experience, especially if the mall is crowded.
The price of the hoverboard ranges from AED 800 and above. Would you buy it [for you or your child]? Give us your take in the comments below.