Mobility devices are not just legal – they’re encouraged
In an effort to better enhance connectivity in Singapore, electronic mobility devices (or Personal Mobility Devices as the government calls it), Parliament is moving the “Active Mobility Bill” through the law making process.
Parliament said that bicycles and mobility devices are an “essential part” of Singapore’s quest to go car-lite. “This is a positive development, as active mobility is a key pillar of our vision for transport in Singapore,” said Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo. She added that these modes of transport were green, convenient and efficient for short distances, such as the first and last mile of journeys.
If you’ve never tried one of these things, I do encourage you to. Many of these are very lightweight and portable. It fits conveniently in an MRT or a bus and takes much less space than large luggage bags. I put one in my car and park one kilometre away from the CBD, it takes me four minutes to zip to my office – saving me on hefty parking fee and ERP charges.
Of course, there will be some Singaporeans who are allergic to new and smarter ways of living life and try to resist it with futile complaints on social media. These people have a big lesson about tolerance to learn.
Our footpaths and roads are public spaces and “public” means we have to share. It doesn’t belong to wheels or feet alone and if we exercised some patience, I think Singapore would be so much more pleasant to live in.
The new rules are really built around common graciousness and affects everyone: pedestrians, riders and businesses that sell these devices. Put simply: if you don’t ride (or act) like an idiot, you would have no problem with the law.
The no-riding areas to note are: roads (unless you’re a bicycle) and paths marked “Pedestrian Only”. Electronic bicycles are not allowed on footpaths also. When riding, ride responsibly. Reckless behaviour and speeding (which you shouldn’t be able to anyway because LTA approved devices have a speed limit of 25km/h) will get you in trouble. When caught, not only will there be potential fines and jail term, but the device could be confiscated, forfeited and destroyed.
Obstructing footpaths so that wheeled users cannot get through will also get you into trouble. It is not up to individual members of the public to take the law into their own hands: there are public path wardens and volunteer wardens on patrol. Parliament is also asking the Government to come up with Codes of Conduct for both riders and pedestrians.
Sales and advertisement will also be scrutinised: those caught selling unapproved devices will face possible prosecution.
I think it is a fantastic exercise in national tolerance – we can all learn to share our things and not act like entitled children. While riders have a crucial part to play in riding safely, pedestrians also have a responsibility to be a little more alert and understand that there are faster things moving on the footpaths now.
We are not uncivilised citizens from an uncivilised nation – let us prove it to ourselves we’re not a “me-only” society.
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