Singapore to ban PMDs from many HDB common areas, moves up safety compliance deadline

Personal Mobility Devices impounded by LTA in June 2019. (Photo: Facebook/LTA)
Personal Mobility Devices impounded by LTA in June 2019. (Photo: Facebook/LTA)

Heads up e-scooter and e-bike riders in Singapore, more rules are coming your way.

In light of the recent spate of accidents involving personal mobility devices (PMDs) in the country, individuals will soon be banned from riding e-scooters and e-bikes at most void decks and common corridors of public housing estates.

Separately, thanks to an increase in fire incidents involving PMDs — y’know, the whole “scooters bursting into flame and incinerating flats” thing? — the Singapore government is also moving up by six months the deadline to ban devices that fail to meet UL2272 safety standards.

These announcements were made in parliament today by Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min.

In his speech, Lam said that all of the 15 town councils run by the country’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) have decided to ban the devices from those common areas, while the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council — run by opposition members of the Workers’ Party — is stilling mulling the move.

No timeline has been set for the ban by the town councils amid a spike in e-scooter and e-bike accidents on public paths. According to Lam, there were 228 such accidents over the course of 2017 and 2018.

Proposed measures to prevent future accidents include establishing pedestrian-only zones where riders must dismount from their e-scooters and e-bikes. This initiative will soon go on trial for three months in Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Bukit Batok, Khatib, and Tampines, before being extended to the rest of the island by the end of the year, Lam said.

Riders can also expect markings on footpaths near schools as warnings for them to slow down. These markings include speed regulating strips and the word “SLOW,” which can already be found outside Fern Green Primary School in Sengkang.

Changes to neighborhood infrastructures, such as the widening of footpaths, are also in the pipeline, and funds will be set aside to cover up to S$50 million in cost for such “infrastructure improvements,” he added.

The deadline for e-scooters and e-bikes to comply with the safety standard, meanwhile, is now July 2020.

Lam said that this was “earliest reasonable” for people to switch out their non-UL2272-certified devices and for retailers to bring in sufficient stock.

Prior to the deadline, all e-scooters will need to go through a compulsory inspection by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), he added. This will begin in April next year and will be free of charge.

According to the Singapore Civil Defence Force, there were 54 reported fires involving scooters in the first half of this year, nearly double that for the same period the year prior.

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