27 major retailers of PMDs have pledged action, including restricting sales to those under 16, to help ease concerns over the devices and their usage.
Harder now for those under 16 to buy PMDs Retailers said that the moves that they will take include restricting the sale of PMDs to those under the age of 16 unless they are accompanied by an adult PHOTO: ST FILE

People under the age of 16 will no longer be able to buy e-scooters or other Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs) - unless accompanied by an adult - at major retailers, with immediate effect.

Owners of PMDs not registered with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will not be able to get them serviced at the shops either. Currently, only those aged 16 and above can register e-scooters with the authority.

In a joint statement yesterday, 27 major PMD retailers here also pledged not to make any modification or enhancement that would affect the devices' electrical systems. These were among the measures they announced, following a spate of recent accidents, as well as fires, involving the devices.

The retailers said, "We are extremely saddened by the recent spate of unfortunate PMD accidents and incidents, and we offer our sincere apologies to all affected stakeholders of the community. Although errant usage is beyond our control, some businesses - registered or private - are also equally responsible for facilitating non-compliant devices and/or allowing (them) to be made easily available to irresponsible perpetrators."

As required by LTA since 1 July, the retailers have also promised to sell only PMDs that meet a stipulated safety standard locally.

"We continue to urge all riders to ride responsibly and be considerate of others' presence when sharing the space," the statement added.

Last month, the Active Mobility Advisory Panel set up by the Government recommended that PMD users be at least 16 years old and made to pass a theory test before being allowed on public paths.

Welcoming the move by the retailers, Panel Member Denis Koh said, "Those below 16 are not a significant customer base (for PMD retailers), but even so, there have been cases of (errant) young riders."

Some netizens, though, are less convinced that imposing restrictions on young riders would address the PMD safety issue, given that older users have also been caught flouting rules.

Calls to ban PMDs have grown significantly louder in the past two weeks, after 65-year-old cyclist Ong Bee Eng died after suffering injuries in a collision with an e-scooter.

On Monday, Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary told Parliament that PMDs could be banned in future if the behaviour of riders does not improve.

LTA has also brought forward a deadline for PMDs to comply with the UL2272 fire-safety certification - from 1 Janurary, 2021, to 1 July next year. From next April, all e-scooters will also have to undergo inspection every two years to ensure they comply with criteria for use on public paths.