Singapore—In the wake of the ban of e-scooters from the country’s footpaths, which was announced in Parliament on Monday, November 4, the National Parks Board (NParks) has now said that anyone endeavouring to get around the new ban by using the grass along sidewalks as a path could receive a fine of up to S$5,000.
Permission is required if a person wishes to ride their Personal Mobility Device (PMD) on grassy areas, otherwise, this act is considered to be an offence under the Parks and Trees Act, according to a report from Channel NewsAsia (CNA).
One day after the ban was announced, numerous videos were posted online showing people riding their PMDs on the grass beside footpaths, in an attempt to circumvent the ban.
A spokesperson from NParks said, “NParks advises users of PMDs not to ride on turf. It will damage the turf and lead to soil erosion. The uneven ground may also be a safety concern to PMD users.”
On the first day after the announcement of the ban, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) issued over one hundred warnings to PMD users who had gotten caught with their PMDs on footpaths.
From November 5 until the end of the year is considered an “advisory period” according to the LTA, giving PMD riders time to adjust to the new rules. For this duration, LTA will only be giving out warnings. However, in cases of egregious behavior on the part of PMD users, the LTA is ready to take strict enforcement action.
And from the beginning of next year, LTA’s approach will be one of zero-tolerance. Anyone using an e-scooter on footpaths will be faced with regulatory action.
By the first quarter of 2020, other PMDs such as hoverboards will similarly be banned.
But Personal Mobility Aids (PMAs) such as wheelchairs that are motorized, do not come under the ban.
The growing number of accidents related to PMDs are seven as the cause for the ban. One such accident resulted in a fatality for a 65-year-old female on a bicycle two months ago.
According to Khaw Boon Wan, Singapore’s Transport Minister, nearly 300 people were treated in hospitals due to incidents that were related to PMDs.
Last month, some doctors made the call for PMS riders to always use helmets in order to avoid serious injury. at a media briefing at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) on Monday, October 21.
A study carried out by TTSH has shown that the number of incidents related to PMD use has risen considerably, and with some very serious consequences.
There have been 213 PMD riders who were taken to TTSH for these kinds of incidents in the 33-month period between January 2017 and September 2019.
Six of these incidents resulted in fatalities.
In 2017, there were only 47 incidents of PMD-related injuries, while in 2018 there were 87.
However, for this year, there are already 79 such incidents, which Dr Sunder, an associate consultant for trauma services at TTSH, shows a 68 percent interest from two years ago.
Worryingly, the majority of the injuries sustained from PMD-related incidents are head and neck injuries, with forty-one percent of the incidents. Twenty-six percent of the patients suffered from external injuries such as abrasions and lacerations. Twelve percent have resulted in facial injuries, while nine percent of patients had chest injuries, eight percent injured their extremities in sprains, dislocations or amputations and four percent suffered from abdominal injuries.
According to Dr Sunder, “Head injuries are worrying – the potential disability can be quite severe, the recovery can be very prolonged.”/ TISG