Users of PMDs, bikes and PABs who ride at HDB void decks in 15 estates may be fined up to $5,000

An e-scooter rider in Singapore. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman/Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — Those who use personal mobility devices (PMDs), bicycles and power-assisted bicycles (PABs) at the void decks of 15 housing estates may be fined up to $5,000.

However, users will be given be a two-month grace period - starting from Sunday (1 September) when the ban kicked in till 31 October - to allow them sufficient time to adapt to the new regulation, said the 15 People’s Action Party (PAP) town councils in a joint statement on Monday (2 September).

From Sunday under the revised common property and open spaces by-laws, the devices are banned from void decks and all common properties at the 15 HDB estates, except on public paths where device use is allowed under the Active Mobility Act.

The ban does not apply to personal mobility aids, such as motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters, it added.

During the two-month grace period, offenders will be issued a warning letter for the first offence. After 31 October, the town councils said they will take strict enforcement action according to the revised regulations.

“The PAP town councils take a serious view on the safety of our residents and PMD users. PMD users seen with reckless riding behaviour or violating the by-laws may face a maximum court fine of $5,000 upon conviction,” said Dr Teo Ho Pin, coordinating chairman of the PAP town councils and Bukit Panjang SMC Member of Parliament, in the joint statement.

Some 70,000 closed-circuit television cameras and lift surveillance at void decks and lifts will be used to identify errant riders, he noted, adding that educational posters in four languages will be displayed at Housing Board lift lobbies.

“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 our towns a safer living environment for all,” he said.

The remaining town council, the Workers’ Party-managed Aljunied-Hougang Town Council, has been approached on the matter and is still mulling over whether to join in the ban.

According to the Ministry of Transport, a total of 228 accidents involving PMDs on public paths were reported in 2017 and 2018. Of these accidents, 196 cases involved injuries.

Task force to tackle non UL2272-certified PMDs

Separately, a new task force, comprising the Land Transport Authority (LTA), Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), Enterprise Singapore and Housing Development Board, has been set up to share resources and expertise with each other to minimise fire risks from non UL2272-certified PMDs, according to a Facebook post by the LTA on Sunday.

In September last year, the LTA announced UL2272 as a mandatory requirement for PMDs. And since 1 July, shops have been forbidden from selling PMDs that are not UL2272-certified.

This standard improves safety against fire and electrical hazards significantly, by requiring the devices to pass a stringent set of tests conducted by accredited testing centres under extreme physical conditions.

The task force held its first meeting earlier last week, said the Facebook post.

During the meeting, the parties involved discussed how they could develop and coordinate public education efforts to raise awareness of the importance of the UL2272 certification, as well as the fire risks arising from improper charging and illegal PMD modifications, it added.

In Parliament last month, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min announced that the deadline for PMDs owners to have their devices meet fire safety standards will be brought forward by six months to 1 July next year.

About 90 per cent of 90,000 registered PMD users in Singapore have self-declared that their devices are not UL2272-certified, Lam then said.

He also noted that all PMD-related fire incidents thus far have involved non-UL2272 certified devices, and may have involved inappropriate charging practices, such as the use of incompatible chargers.

Fires involving PMDs and PABs had more than doubled in the first half of this year from the same period a year earlier, said the SCDF.

The number of such reported fires between January and June rose to 54, of which 49 were PMD-related fires, from 24 previously.

Related stories:

HDB PMD ban: Residents, tenants hope for strict enforcement

15 town councils to ban use of PMDs at void decks, common corridors: Lam Pin Min

UL2272 requirements: Scoot on the right side of the law

Transport ministry moves deadline for PMD UL2272 fire safety compliance to 1 July 2020