Parliament: PMD fires doubled in 2019; some using illegal PMDs again in circuit breaker period

The number of fires involving non-compliant personal mobility devices increased from 52 in 2018 to 102 last year. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The number of fires involving non-compliant personal mobility devices (PMDs) almost doubled from 52 in 2018 to 102 last year, and such fires continue to occur despite multiple measures to arrest the problem.

It is also "worrying" that some have started using non-compliant PMDs again during the circuit breaker period, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min wrote in a Facebook post after he introduced two Bills in Parliament on Monday (May 4).

The Bills are to bolster the Transport Ministry's ability to tackle these issues, Dr Lam said in the post.

The Small Motorised Vehicles Bill will introduce measures like import controls of motorised PMDs and power-assisted bicycles. Its aim is to prevent non-compliant devices from entering Singapore.

The Active Mobility (Amendment No. 2) Bill, on the other hand, will extend the coverage of the law to include path-connected open spaces.

This will allow the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to take action against errant riders in areas that are linked to paths, like town centres.

Dr Lam wrote in his post: "Together, they will give the Government greater authority and flexibility to improve safety, enhance active mobility connectivity and bring about greater harmony in our common living spaces."

To underline the need for controls to stem the import of non-complaint PMDs, he cited the case of a PMD catching fire in a Housing Board flat in Sengkang in March.

LTA, in a statement on Monday, said that on top of the Bills, it is looking at streamlining the forfeiture process for non-compliant devices that pose a fire risk. Details will be given later, it added.

Separately, Senior Minister of State for Law Edwin Tong introduced the High Court (Admiralty Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Bill in Parliament on Monday.

It proposes to extend the court's jurisdiction to include special compensation claims arising from salvage operations that prevent or minimise environmental damage.

Such claims can be made even if the ship or its cargo is not saved, said the Law Ministry.

Its spokesman said: "The Bill complements Singapore's upcoming accession to the International Convention on Salvage, as well as earlier amendments to the Merchant Shipping Act.

"By placing special compensation claims on the same footing as traditional salvage claims, the Bill will incentivise salvors to protect the environment during salvage operations."

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