PMD ban at void decks and common corridors to take effect from Sept 1
Resident who was nearly hit by e-scooter calls for stringent enforcement of ban on PMD use at void decks, which takes effect on Sept 1
She was on a narrow walkway at the void deck of her block in Bukit Panjang when a food delivery rider on an e-scooter almost crashed into her as it zoomed past.
Recounting her close shave last month, Ms Liu Zhen Ni, 42, told The New Paper: "She was riding straight through, not looking out for anyone. I stopped just in time."
As her block is close to a mall, this was not Ms Liu's first brush with reckless personal mobility device (PMD) users who often cut through the void deck to make deliveries at meal times.
"I always try to look out (for them), especially at this corner," she said.
From Sept 1, 15 of the 16 town councils will ban PMDs from void decks and common corridors at public housing estates, a move that was announced in Parliament on Monday.
This means that PMD riders must dismount and push their devices at void decks and corridors in most of the 10,000 Housing Board blocks.
Dr Teo Ho Pin, coordinating chairman of the 15 People's Action Party-run town councils, said in a statement yesterday that, subject to approval by the Attorney-General's Chambers, the town councils will amend their by-laws to impose the ban.
While the Active Mobility Act covers public paths, PMD-use at void decks and common corridors falls under the purview of the town councils, which set and enforce their own rules.
TNP understands that the Workers' Party-run Aljunied-Hougang Town Council is also mulling a ban.
Dr Teo said the ban will not apply to personal mobility aids such as motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
These devices, which have a maximum speed of 10kmh, can move freely in PAP-run towns.
To enforce the ban, the town councils will use lift surveillance systems, which provide 24/7 monitoring in all lifts, and the 70,000 police cameras deployed at public areas to identify reckless users.
Under the amended by-laws, anyone who violates the ban can be penalised with a composition fine or be taken to court.
In the past 12 months, the PAP town councils had received around 190 complaints on reckless PMD users, Dr Teo said.
Ms Liu said she had highlighted this issue to her town council because she was worried about the safety of elderly residents and children who play in the playground at the foot of her block.
She said the ban must be communicated to delivery riders and other PMD users, and enforcement should be stringent to ensure the ban is observed.
"If there is no enforcement, the ban won't be of much use," she said.
In his statement, Dr Teo urged PMD users to practise safe riding habits by dismounting and pushing their devices at void decks and common areas, as well as take the necessary fire safety prevention measures when charging their PMDs.
A recent spate of PMD-related fires prompted authorities to bring forward by six months the deadline for all PMDs to meet the UL2272 fire safety standard, which covers the device's whole electrical system, including the battery.
All PMDs must be UL2272 certified by next July.
From next April, all e-scooters will also need to be inspected, and the authorities are discussing internally if the inspections should be periodic.
About 81,000 non-certified PMDs are still in use, and there have been at least 50 PMD-related fires so far this year.
Pedestrian-only zones will also be on trial for three months at five townships, with the view of implementing them islandwide if they prove useful.
Said Dr Teo: "We urge all PMD users and residents to keep a close community watch, promote a gracious and safe environment for all, and join in our efforts to reduce fire and safety hazards in our towns."
Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah told TNP she was glad the PAP town councils have come together to adopt the ban, but she added that it was not good enough.
Calling for more flexibility, Ms Lee said: "It is necessary to extend (the ban) to housing precincts to safeguard the safety of our residents, young and old."