- The Straits Times
This article was updated on at 5:16 pm on Friday, November 15
With much of Singapore now focused on the issue of Personal Mobility Devices (PMD) being banned on footpaths, a new issue of illegal modifications has started to surface.
On Wednesday (Nov 13), the Land Transport Authority (LTA) issued a warning against PMD vendors who are offering to modify e-scooters into personal mobility aids (PMAs) by adding a third wheel or reducing the maximum speed of the device.
This comes after a spate of advertisements that have popped up since the footpath ban was announced on November 5, LTA said in a Facebook post.
PMAs – which include wheelchairs, motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters – are not affected by the ban.
Calling the vendors behind the ads “irresponsible”, LTA said that such modifications will “compromise the original device’s electrical and mechanical systems as well as structural integrity, void its safety certifications, and importantly, pose safety risks to both the user and the public”.
“LTA will not hesitate to take enforcement action against those who wilfully disregard stipulated criteria and those who conduct such irresponsible modifications,” the authority added.
PMAs are typically used by the elderly or those with mobility difficulties, and usually have three or more wheels for stability. In addition, they have a footboard supported by the wheels, and a seat for the user who may have difficulty standing, LTA said.
According to LTA, most PMAs comply with international standards such as ISO7176 and EN12184 for safety and performance. Their maximum speed is 10km/h.
7,000 delivery riders affected by ban, retailers might lose up to S$1.5 million
- The Straits Times
PMDs have been a hot topic in Singapore in recent months, after a string of high-profile accidents left pedestrians badly injured, sometimes fatally.
The recent ban on their use on footpaths is expected to affect the livelihoods of many gig economy workers, especially delivery riders.
According to the Ministry of Transport (MOT), there are about 7,000 delivery riders in Singapore who use e-scooters, and many of them have approached MOT, LTA and MPs to express their concerns.
To address the concerns, the ministry on Friday rolled out a S$7 million grant to help PMD riders transition to bicycles, Power Assisted Bicycles (PABs) or PMAs.
In addition, some delivery companies such as Grab have also introduced solutions for its riders, including partnerships and subsidies.
Speaking to Business Insider, GrabFood Singapore head Dilip Roussenaly said the firm had partnered with five retailers to help delivery riders obtain other modes of transport such as bicycles or motorcycles at preferred rates.
Deliveroo also said on Friday (Nov 15) that it was reimbursing their delivery riders either S$600 or S$1,000 depending on whether they are transitioning from a PMD to a bicycle or e-bike respectively.
According to a Deliveroo spokesperson, riders who completed at least 20 deliveries from October 9 to November 7 will receive the grant immediately.
Those who completed less than 20 orders will receive 80 per cent of the grant, with the remaining 20 per cent to be received once they complete a further 20 deliveries within the first month after their switch to the new vehicle.
Meanwhile, many PMD retailers are feeling at a loss.
According to The Straits Times (ST), PMD retailers may suffer losses of up to S$1.5 million, and are closing sales outlets with the prospect of staff retrenchment looming.
There was no warning given to retailers before the ban, and retailers said it had resulted in a “nightmare” for many of them, ST reported.
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