The deadline for the personal mobility device (PMD) safety certification has been brought forward to July 2020
On Monday (5 Aug 2019), Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min announced in Parliament that the deadline for Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs) to comply with the UL2272 safety certification has been brought forward by six months to July 2020.
UL2272 is a U.S. certification awarded to electrical mobility devices that have met the standards of a comprehensive system of safety tests to determine that its entire electrical system is safe.
The assessment takes into account how resistant the devices are against impact, extreme temperatures, water exposure and several other factors. When put under these conditions, any signs of short-circuiting or imbalance in charging would indicate a possibility of fire and therefore would be deemed less than ideal in terms of electrical safety.
Thus, devices awarded the UL2272 certification are less likely to cause fire and electrical accidents.
This decision was made after the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced that the original end-2020 deadline was being reviewed due to a recent spate of PMD-related fires.
Since July, retailers have been banned from selling non-UL2272 certified PMDs in stores. Those who had just purchased said non-UL2272 devices were given a grace period to continue riding their devices. This grace period was initially set until the end of 2020, after which all non-certified devices would have been auto-deregistered and illegal to ride in public.
However, due to a sudden increase in PMD related fire incidents, all of which are related to non-UL2272 devices, LTA has decided to bring forward the deadline to July 2020.
All e-scooters must meet the UL2272 safety standard by 1 Jul 2020. All non-compliant e-scooters would then be automatically deregistered and rendered illegal to use on public paths in Singapore.
Mandatory e-scooter and PMD inspections
In addition, starting from April next year, all e-scooters including both new and currently registered devices will have to go through a mandatory inspection that will check the device’s width, weight, device speed limits and UL2272 certification. Inspections will also be carried out before new e-scooters can be registered.
Does it mean that UL2272 certified e-scooters are more reliable and will perform better?
No. The UL2272 certification evaluates the safety of the electrical drive train system and battery and charger combination for energy and electrical shock hazards. It does not evaluate non-electrical safety aspects such as performance, reliability, product quality and the physical hazards that may present themselves during the use of the e-scooter.
PMDs banned in HDB void decks and corridors
Dr Lam has also announced in his Ministerial Statement on Personal Mobility Devices in Parliament that all 15 town councils run by the People's Action Party (PAP) have decided to ban the use of personal mobility devices (PMDs) from HDB void decks and common corridors to increase the safety of public paths. Riders must dismount and push their e-scooters and PMDs at HDB void decks and along common corridors.
Infrastructure improvements to accommodate PMDs and pedestrians
Other measures that were introduced by Dr Lam include expanding the infrastructure for active mobility devices like PMDs, by widening footpaths, installing warning signs as well as speed-regulating strips on paths to slow down PMDs. In zones identified as accident-prone, further improvements will be made to the infrastructure to accommodate the growing number of e-scooters, PMDs and pedestrians sharing the public paths.
Pedestrian-only zones introduced in selected towns
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will also be working with 5 of the town councils to conduct a three-month trial whereby pedestrian-only zones are designated. Riders will also be required to dismount and push their PMDs in these zones.
The trials will take place soon in town centres in Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Bukit Batok and Khatib, as well as a neighbourhood centre in Tampines. This initiative will be extended islandwide if the trials are deemed successful.
Trial of School Zones
Besides the pedestrian-only zones, another trial of School Zone markings on footpaths outside some schools is to start by September. Speed-regulating strips, "slow" markings, visual cues will be on the ground to remind PMDs to slow down. This is currently implemented at Fern Green Primary School. Four other schools - Fengshan Primary, Jiemin Primary, Rivervale Primary and Yishun Secondary will soon be introduced to this initiative.
LTA Land Transport Master Plan
As part of the LTA's Land Transport Master Plan, the cycling paths in Singapore will be expanded to 750km by 2025 and will be three times the length by 2030. This will increase the current 440km of cycling paths to more than 1,300km. Cycling paths will be built in place of four stretches of road place in Ang Mo Kio Streets 22, 41, 43 and 61.
LTA will also be increasing its current 100-strong enforcement team to around 200 officers by the end of this year.
What e-scooter should I get then?
With the announcement of the change in deadline, many e-scooter riders have been scrambling to replace their non-UL2272 e-scooter with a UL2272 certified one. We’ve narrowed it down for you in our previous blog post on the best e-scooters for delivery riders here!
If you’re looking for something for long-distance use, perhaps for food delivery, then the Segway-Ninebot MAX is your best bet! It has a whopping 65km max range, which means it can travel up to 65km in just one battery charge. That means more delivery trips per session because you won’t need to charge your battery as often!
If you’re looking for something for your daily commute and need something portable and more compact, consider the ever-popular Segway-Ninebot ES2.
Both the Segway-Ninebot MAX and the Segway ES2 e-scooters are UL2272 certified and are LTA compliant, which means you can continue riding it past the July 2020 deadline!
In a nutshell, all non-UL2272 PMDs will be automatically deregistered by 1 July 2020 and any non-UL2272 devices from then on will be rendered illegal to be used anywhere in Singapore. Hence, it is ideal that you start planning for your next UL2272 PMD if you still own and use a non-UL2272 device, especially with the deadline for the PMD safety certification looming closer by the day.
A safer option would be to purchase a foldable bicycle. Owning a foldable bike doesn’t come with rules and regulations as a PMD would so you don’t have to be concerned with unknowingly breaking the law. Moreover, buying a foldable bike like the CarryMe would be more convenient as it weighs only 8.4kg, which means you can carry it easily.
The CarryMe can be folded and unfolded in 15 seconds, and it meets the size criteria set by LTA for foldable bicycles on public transport, so you can take the bus or train whenever you’d like.
Nevertheless, we should be mindful of these regulations so we can provide a safe riding experience for both riders and pedestrians. Breaking the rules will result in serious consequences, so to avoid going against the law, we need to stay abreast of the PMD laws to ensure the safety of both parties.