Singapore—The country’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) has issued a warning against those who intend to convert e-scooters into personal mobility aids (PMA), since advertisements have come out promising to do just this, in the short period since it was announced in Parliament on November 4 that e-scooters were banned on public footpaths, effective the following day.
The changes that would turn e-scooters into PMAs involve adding a third wheel to the devices, as well as decreasing its maximum speed limit to 10 kilometers per hour.
Individuals or companies that would offer to perform such modifications will find action taken against them, the LTA warned.
In a Facebook post dated November 13, the LTA has called those who would do such conversions as “irresponsible vendors” since the changes to the devices would compromise their mechanical and electrical systems, as well as their structural integrity. These modifications would also render any safety certifications as void.
There have been advertisements claiming to be able to modify e-scooters into personal mobility aids (PMA). These are…
Moreover, such changes to e-scooters would put both their riders as well as the public in potential danger.
The LTA sought to clarify the purpose of PMAs.
“PMAs such as wheelchairs, motorised wheelchairs or mobility scooters are intended for individuals who have difficulty standing, cycling or walking for prolonged periods of time. Typically used by the elderly or those with mobility challenges, these devices usually have three or more wheels for stability, with a footboard supported by the wheels, as well as a seat for the user who is unable to stand. Most PMAs comply to international standards such as ISO7176 and EN12184 for safety and performance. Their maximum speed is capped at 10km/hour.”
The LTA reiterated that its warning has been issued with public safety in mind, and that it would “not hesitate to take enforcement action against those who wilfully disregard stipulated criteria and those who conduct such irresponsible modifications.”
PMD users have tried to skirt around the ban by using their devices on the grass beside sidewalks, which is an act considered to be an offence under the Parks and Trees Act, according to the National Parks Board (NParks).
Other PMD users have tried to use their devices along drain gratings, which the Public Utilities Board (PUB), the country’s national water agency, considers an offence warranting jail or a fine.
The announcement of the ban on November 4 has drawn mixed reactions from Singaporeans, with the unhappiest and most vocal group against the ban being food delivery riders whose livelihoods have been threatened by it.
However, the government has said that S$7 million has been made available in grants (partially from food delivery companies such as GrabFood) for food delivery riders to trade in their e-scooters for bicycles, power-assisted bicycles (PABs) or personal mobility aids (PMAs).
Dr Lam Pin Min, Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Transport said in a Facebook post when the ban was announced that the decision had not been an easy one for the government, “but public safety always comes first and should never be at the expense of the young and elderly amongst us.
We hope to have Singaporeans’ understanding and support on this new policy and would urge all PMD users to continue to exercise safe and responsible behaviour when using their devices on other permissible areas such as cycling paths and park connector networks (PCNs).” -/TISG