Match PMD rules with robust enforcement

A PMD user seen riding along a sheltered common area at 199 Toa Payoh North on 2 Sept 2019.
A PMD user seen riding along a sheltered common area at 199 Toa Payoh North on 2 Sept 2019.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

In response to a reader's letter, the Land Transport Authority's director for active mobility said the maximum speed limit of a personal mobility aid (PMA) is 10kmh and that the LTA is committed to making the transport system more inclusive (Personal mobility aids capped at 10kmh for public safety, Sept 23).

The line separating PMAs and personal mobility devices (PMDs) is thin.

An elderly cyclist is in a coma in hospital after she and a PMD user were recently involved in an accident. A witness said the PMD was going much faster than permitted.

Meanwhile, some PMD users have been caught flouting the rules on weight limit and modifications to their devices.

PMA users can also flout these rules. As PMAs are seen as helping less mobile individuals, modifications and weight infringements are less likely to be noticed.

With more PMD-related accidents and fires being reported, other users of public paths and spaces, as well as home owners, have a genuine reason to be concerned about their personal safety.

The introduction of UL2272 safety certification for e-scooters will not make the fire threat go away.

Modifications done after the PMD is certified could make the certification meaningless.

Similarly, imposing speed and weight limits will not address the issue of illegal modifications of these mobility devices.

Strong rules and regulations have to be matched by robust and unrelenting enforcement.

The PMD users' community often responds to calls for tighter rules by saying that the majority of users are responsible, and the responsible majority should not be grouped with the errant minority.

But in truth, those who flout the rules are many, not just a "few errant users".

Hariharan Gangadharan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 25, 2019, with the headline 'Match PMD rules with robust enforcement'. Print Edition | Subscribe