Personal mobility devices (PMDs) and bicycles could be banned from accident-prone zones within housing estates, with the authorities hoping to resolve the issues surrounding such a move as soon as possible, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min said yesterday.
Town councils are discussing with the Government the possibility of identifying such zones and standardising the criteria across different estates for what qualifies as a zone where PMD users and cyclists may need to dismount, said Dr Lam, who spoke to reporters on the sidelines of the launch of the Land Transport Master Plan 2040.
The issue of banning PMDs from specific areas in Singapore was broached in Parliament earlier this month, with questions raised about safety issues on the use of such devices.
There were 228 reported accidents involving PMDs on public paths in 2017 and last year. Out of these cases, there were 196 with reported injuries. The sole fatal accident occurred with a PMD rider who self-skidded and subsequently died from his injuries.
"We are working with the town councils to look at how we can identify some areas that are prone to conflicts or accidents," Dr Lam said.
"In time to come, maybe we can actually define some of these areas as a red zone, where PMD users or cyclists may have to dismount and push so that it will actually decrease the chance of accidents."
Dr Lam added that the Government is also discussing the matter with the Attorney-General's Chambers, in order to provide town councils with the authority to enforce the rules in such zones.
The preference, he said, would be for a standardised approach across the different town councils.
"It is good if town councils can have a common understanding because we also don't want PMD users or cyclists to be confused as to when they can use the PMD or the bicycle," he said.
PMDs are earmarked to play a role in Singapore's transport system under the Land Transport Master Plan 2040, with the devices seen as a way to facilitate first-and last-mile efforts.
Dr Lam said a ban on such devices on pedestrian footpaths, which has been implemented in Germany and will be introduced in France from September this year, would hamper efforts here to make active mobility a conducive way to travel.
"So whenever possible, we will look at infrastructure improvements. We are going to widen footpaths... we will also invest in making dedicated paths for cyclists, PMD users, as well as pedestrians," he said.
He added that the Land Transport Authority has also stepped up enforcement efforts against errant PMD riders who speed or use non-compliant devices, in order to improve safety.
Dr Lam said: "The source of the problem is actually irresponsible and errant use of PMDs, and we hope that by stepping up enforcement and public education, we are able to educate PMD users with the right social etiquette for using PMDs in a safer manner."