Town councils to ban PMDs at void decks, corridors

Users will have to dismount and push their personal mobility devices at void decks and common corridors of HDB blocks.
Users will have to dismount and push their personal mobility devices at void decks and common corridors of HDB blocks. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Users will not be allowed to ride their personal mobility devices (PMDs) at void decks and common corridors of most Housing Board blocks in future.

They will have to dismount and push their devices in those areas, after all 15 town councils run by the People's Action Party decided to ban PMDs in the wake of accidents and concerns about safety.

The Straits Times understands that Aljunied-Hougang Town Council, run by the Workers' Party, is also considering such a move.

Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min also announced yesterday that the Land Transport Authority will start a three-month trial of pedestrian-only zones at town centres, where PMD riders will also be required to dismount.

These zones will be tested at four locations: Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Bukit Batok and Khatib.

The same trial will also be carried out at a neighbourhood centre in Tampines, and rolled out to other towns if successful.

"As pedestrians can walk in all directions, there is a potentially higher risk of accidents, compared with a linear footpath," said Dr Lam, adding that MPs will be consulted on the specific details for these areas.

No timeline was set for either measure.

These moves follow a debate in Parliament in May, where MPs first called for PMDs to be banned in these public areas.

The pedestrian-only zones are part of a $50 million initiative to improve infrastructure at hot spots where PMD-related accidents often occur.

The money will go towards widening footpaths, installing clear warning signs and fixing speed-regulating strips on paths.

Ms Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC) - whom Dr Lam credited for the idea of pedestrian-only zones - asked if the improvements could be extended to covered linkways within 400m of an MRT station.

She noted that she had received many complaints of near-miss accidents in these areas.

Dr Lam said the authorities will work with MPs to identify such hot spots and improve the infrastructure as needed.

In addition, School Zone markings are being trialled along footpaths outside some schools.

"These include speed-regulating strips, 'slow' markings and enhanced visual cues on the ground to remind PMD users to slow down and watch out for other path users, especially young children," Dr Lam said.

Works have been completed at footpaths outside Fern Green Primary School in Sengkang, and these markings will be expanded to four other schools by next month: Fengshan Primary, Jiemin Primary, Rivervale Primary and Yishun Secondary.

Dr Lam also announced that parts of the road at four stretches in Ang Mo Kio - Singapore's first walking and cycling town - will be reclaimed to build cycling paths over the next three years. These are at Ang Mo Kio Streets 22, 41, 43 and 61.

Similar plans will be rolled out in other HDB towns over time, Dr Lam said. Singapore's cycling path network will be extended from 440km to 750km by 2025, and to more than 1,300km by 2030.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 06, 2019, with the headline Town councils to ban PMDs at void decks, corridors. Subscribe