On Tuesday (7 May), Senior Minister of State for Transport Dr Lam Pin Min announced that town councils are given the permission to set and enforce their own rules on the use of personal mobility devices (PMDs) at void decks.
Dr Lam was answering a question raised by Member of Parliament (MP) for Bukit Batok SMC, Murali Pillai, who proposed that the Ministry of Transport (MOT) to “take the lead” in working together with town councils in declaring void decks as pedestrian-only areas.
Mr Pillai suggested this move as he deemed the regulations set by town councils “may not be fit for purpose” in stopping PMD riders from “plying through” void decks, after learning that an elderly woman in his constituency was hospitalised after being hit by a PMD user while she was getting her letters.
As such, the MP urged the ministry to come up with regulations at void decks.
In response to this, Dr Lam explained that in order to decide if a public space is to be made a public path – either shared or pedestrian-only – for exemption under the Active Mobility Act, there are three main points that have to be taken into account, which are safety, connectivity and clarity of rules.
Therefore, void decks are not exempted from the Act because they have “multiple blind spots due to the presence of pillars”, are “not critical for connectivity” and are “easily demarcated” to avoid confusion.
“As such, these provide TCs (town councils) with the flexibility to set and enforce their own rules on the usage of activity mobility devices, according to your own needs. So if the town council feels that, if void decks are areas where potential accidents can happen, then town councils can actually ban the use of PMDs (at) the void decks,” said Dr Lam.
The Minister repeated that since “the configuration of void decks differ from one place to another”, town councils will still be given the authority to decide if it will ban PMD use at void decks.
“At the end of the day, we are cognisant of the fact that safety is paramount, and if the town council feels that the banning of PMD use at the void deck is necessary, then it can be done by the town council by-laws,” he noted.
Upon reading this news, many netizens have penned down their disagreements on Channel NewsAsia’s Facebook page where they question the need to give town councils the power to set and enforce own rules for PMD riders at void decks, as this should be handled by the Land Transport Authority (LTA). As such, they said that the government (LTA) is pushing their responsibilities to others, instead of taking ownership.
Some pointed out that to have multiple rules set by different town councils can be very confusing. As such, they want a standard rule that is applied to all, and this is possible to be implemented given that Singapore is such a small country.
A large number of online users also urged the Government to ban PMDs altogether as it had caused many accidents so far. They added that people are living in fear and have to always be on the watch out while walking around.