On 5 August, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min said in Parliament that 15 town councils under the People’s Action Party (PAP) will ban individuals from riding personal mobility devices (PMDs) at void decks and common corridors.
Now the ban has finally kicked in. From 1 September (Sunday), riders are no longer allowed to ride their PMDs, bicycles or power-assisted bicycles (PABs) at void decks at HDB flats as well as common spaces after 15 PAP town councils revised their common property and open spaces by-laws.
Since the ban is new, riders will be given a slight leeway as for the first two months – 1 September to 31 October – the town councils will not be strictly enforcing the ban. However, starting 1 November, fine up to S$5,000 may be imposed on those who break the law.
Under the Active Mobility Act, the PMDs, PABs and bicycles can still be used on public paths.
This decision by the town councils comes following an increase in PMD-related accidents reported in the country as well as concerns over safety by the public. In 2017, only 10 cases of PMD riders involved in accidents and sustained injuries that resulted in them being admitted to emergency departments in public hospitals were reported. But the number has escalated to 23 in 2018.
The Ministry of Transport revealed in April this year that a total of 228 accidents involving PMDs on public paths were reported in 2017 and 2018, and 196 of them resulted in injuries.
“We urge all PMD users, cyclists, and residents to keep a close community watch, promote a gracious and safe environment for all, and join in our efforts to keep out towns a safer living environment for all,” said the town councils in a joint statement on Monday.
The town councils added that the two-month grace period given is sufficient for PMD users to adjust to the new regulation.
For those who violate the ban, they will be handed a warning letter for their first offence during the grace period. However, strict actions will be taken based on the revised regulations after 31 October, said the town councils.
If that is not all, in order to identify the offenders, the town councils said they will be looking at about 70,000 lift surveillance and closed-circuit television cameras at void decks and lifts. But, they noted that the ban does not affect personal mobility aids like motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
Apart from this ban, Dr Lam said last month that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will also implement a three-month trial of pedestrian-only zones (POZs) in certain town councils and double its enforcement team on the ground to 200 officer by end of 2019 as an attempt to lessen PMD-related accidents at void decks and common areas.