No 'hoverboards' on UAE streets?

ADP Traffic and Patrols Directorate raising awareness among children. (Supplied)

The Traffic and Patrols Directorate at the Abu Dhabi Police have reiterated their warning about the dangers associated with the self-balancing two-wheel electric scooters (hoverboards), which is growing in popularity across the UAE.

The directorate urged parents to make sure these devices are suitable for children and highlighted the risks of such toys, which pose a risk to users who fail to observe safety and prevention requirements.

The directorate also stressed the need to prevent children from using these boards on public roads and pavements, warning that they could cause serious risks to their lives.

Colonel Jamal Salem Al Ameri, Chief of the Public Relations Section at the Traffic and Patrols Directorate of Abu Dhabi Police, emphasised the importance of providing good quality play opportunities to children, provided that the toys do not pose a threat to them or to others.

He also advised parents to choose the right toys for children in a way that ensures children’s safety while playing, in addition to complying with the instructions of safety and prevention.

Colonel Al Ameri said: “The ADP Traffic and Patrols Directorate had warned about the dangers of the self-balancing two-wheel electric scooters on children, through awareness brochures in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and the Western Region, in addition to awareness tips and advice via media outlets to enhance traffic safety culture.

“The directorate has also warned against dangerous toys, such as scooters, skateboards, and the self-balancing two-wheel electric scooters (hoverboards) and roller skates, stressing the need to avoid performing dangerous stunts and riding in the street between vehicles.”

Moreover, Colonel Al Ameri noted that there have been several studies on the issue, which warned against the widespread use of these toys by children without consideration to safety and security precautions. “In the United States alone, nearly 100,000 children per year were injured while playing with scooters,” he said.

Adding further, he said: “Parents should carefully monitor their children while playing with mobility devices such as scooters or self-balancing scooters (hoverboards).

They need to always ensure the quality and efficiency of the brakes and that the battery is fully charged. Parents must prevent their children from playing without wearing protective clothing.”

He also stressed the need to prevent children from playing in the streets and in between vehicles, a practice which  poses a real danger to children’s lives; calling on them to ensure that their children only use them in designated safe  areas such as parks, allocated squares and sports centers.

Colonel Al Ameri also advised anyone using a skateboard or scooter to learn the basic skills and to use high-quality devices, which provide safety requirements and instructions. He also called upon them to wear comfortable and suitable clothes and stressed the importance of not performing dangerous stunts and getting distracted by listening to music while riding scooters.

An educational self-balancing model for children

For his part, First Lieutenant Hamed Mohammed Al Bloushi, from the Public Relations Section at the Traffic and Patrols Directorate, indicated that the section has developed the technical design for an educational model of a child on a self-balancing device, in addition to educational publications about security and safety requirements for using “the self-balancing device” in Arabic, English.

Both, the educational model and publications will be used in the following exhibitions: The Child Protection Exhibition at the Emirates Palace; the Air Expo in Al Ain; the awareness exhibition accompanying the Tal Moreeb Festival. They will also be used in the exhibitions to be held across the various schools. This measure is part of the efforts to avail of interactive learning to enhance traffic safety awareness, by illustrating the several dangers of using the self-balancing device on children.

First Lieutenant Al Bloushi confirmed that the traffic awareness programs warning against the dangers of using the self-balance scooters will continue, in order to guarantee the highest level of traffic awareness.

He also called upon families and parents to cooperate with the Abu Dhabi Police in order to enhance the efforts made to provide children’s safety and to prevent traffic accidents that they might face while plying on roads.

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