PMD users who ride on drain gratings may face up to $40,000 fine and jail

A man on e-scooter/PMD riding on a footpath in Chinatown, Nov 5, 2019. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - E-scooter users should not ride their devices on drain gratings as they try to find a loophole around the ban on personal mobility devices (PMDs) on footpaths.

That is the recommendation of the national water agency PUB, which is responsible for drains, in response to queries by The Straits Times.

"PUB does not recommend riding PMDs on drain gratings, which are an essential part of the drainage system that ensure effective stormwater management," the agency said on Friday (Nov 8).

"Damaging any drain or stormwater drainage system is considered an offence under the Sewerage and Drainage Act. Those convicted may be fined up to $40,000 or jailed up to three months, or both," it added.

A 23-second-long video posted on Facebook by user Leonardo Clyde Alfonso following the ban's implementation on Tuesday (Nov 5) shows a PMD rider riding on the drain gratings that line the footpath.

When the rider is stopped for riding on a footpath by the person filming him, he says: "Government never say drain cannot".

Several PMD users had also attempted to get around the ban by riding their devices on grass patches alongside footpaths.

But the National Parks Board said on Tuesday that PMD users should not ride on the green verges beside footpaths without permission. If convicted of doing so, offenders can be fined up to $5,000.

The ban on riding PMDs on footpaths was announced in Parliament on Monday, following public safety concerns surrounding the use of e-scooters. Those caught flouting the rules can be fined up to $2,000 and/or jailed for up to three months if convicted.

The authorities have said they will mainly issue warnings to errant riders from now until the end of the year, but will adopt a zero-tolerance approach from next year.

On Friday, the Transport Ministry announced a $7 million grant to help food delivery riders replace their electric scooters, in response to concerns from such riders that the move would jeopardise their livelihood.

Under the scheme, food delivery riders who trade in their existing e-scooters will each get up to $1,000 to buy a power-assisted bicycle, or $600 for a bicycle.

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