Do we really need to ban Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs)?

By July 26, 2019Current

TL;DR – What if it takes away their mobility and dignity?

I wrote about how my ma really hates Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs) on the road, in the hood in an earlier article. She doesn’t really hate the e-scooters and all, what she really hates is how irresponsible, inconsiderate and fast some of them are.

Quite many people I know feel the same way as my ma, and influencer Mr Brown, too, shares her anger and has called out for more to be done.

In fact, some people have even called for a ban of PMDs. So has the situation here escalated to such an extent that it warrants a complete ban?

Towards a car-lite nation

I am all for a car-lite nation, and I think PMDs can help bridge the last mile between the bus stop or MRT station to our home or workplace. Singapore has a very efficient transport network, it’s so well-planned that you can get connected from point A to B fairly quickly.

Trouble is the weather.

It’s so hot here that we just want to commute in cool comfort and the heat here is just not meant for us to walk in the open for long. So I think PMDs can help speed us along, and perhaps PMDs can make people more willing to leave their cars at home and take public transport.

PMDs give some people mobility and dignity

Don’t believe me? Did you see this photo that had gone viral a couple of months back?

Amputee-warrior with a prosthetic leg for grabfood delivery (via)

Yes, this gentleman with a prosthetic leg is able to work as a Grabfood rider with a PMD.

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So yea, mobility and dignity because he is now able to make a decent living.

Mind you, he is not the only one.

According to a Channelnewsasia report, Saire Adnan is an amputee who relies on his PMD to go around and also to make a living from being a Deliveroo food delivery rider.

Mr Saire Adnan, an amputee, works as a Deliveroo food delivery rider (via)

It is not easy for people with disabilities to find work.

You can read the story of this young lady who suffers from celebral palsy was unable to land or hold down a job for seven long years. Food delivery apps like Grabfood have given her a new lease of life, and she can now earn an income and contribute to her family. Being able to get back their mobility and even earning an income can help people with disabilities integrate better into mainstream society.

In case you’re curious about how much food delivery riders can potentially make, here’s a video showing how someone made $60 in four hours.

What we need is not a ban, but for all the riders to be more responsible and considerate to other road and pavement users, and for everyone to be more understanding and careful when out and about.

A ban of PMDs will mean depriving some people of the chance to improve their financial situation because we will be taking away economic opportunities from them. A ban is also likely to deprive some elderly and the disabled of personal mobility.

What about the authorities? What are THEY doing?

For one, new rules on path- and road-sharing have already taken effect from February this year.

  • The speed limit for riding bicycles and personal mobility devices (PMDs) on footpaths will be lowered from 15km/h to 10km/h.
  • It will be mandatory for cyclists to wear helmets when riding on the road. However, cyclists who are crossing the road to get from one public path to another will be exempted.
  • PMD users must now stop and look out for vehicles at road crossings. Motorists must also slow down and look out for pedestrians and PMD users at the crossings, and allow them to cross the road.
  • Personal mobility aids such as motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters must have a maximum device speed of 10km/h. Retailers must also display warning notices on their premises, stating the technical criteria for the devices and where they are allowed to be used.

PMD and PMA road usage (via)


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If you have been following LTA on social media, you will also know that they have been stepping up on enforcement to ensure that PMD riders abide by the 10km/h speed limit on footpaths and other rules.

They have been sending their officers out and about to stop errant PMD riders in their tracks to ensure safety and responsibility.

There are also plans to bring forward the end-2020 de-registration of non-certified PMDs.

Please only buy and use PMDs with the UL2272 Certification Marks. I understand that there are also plans for the town councils to designate no-go areas at void decks to safeguard residents’s safety, particularly the elderly and the young.

Here’s a Facebook post from LTA with PMD charging tips.

So c’mon, if everyone can play their part, I believe we can co-exist quite happily with the PMD and PMA riders.


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Gabrielle Teo

Author Gabrielle Teo

I read lots, and I also spend an indecent amount of time trying to get my mostly unpopular opinions published. Oh, I argue a lot with fellow Singaporeans who complain incessantly about Singapore too.

More posts by Gabrielle Teo

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