What does the PMD ban mean for Singapore workers?

On 5 November 2019, the ban on electric scooters on footpaths came into effect. E-scooters are confined to 440km of cycling paths islandwide, instead of the 5,500km of footpaths riders could use before.


From now until 31 December 2019, the authorities will mainly issue warnings to errant riders.

From next year, a zero-tolerance approach will be taken, means riders caught flouting the rules can be fined up to $2,000 and/or jailed for up to three months if convicted.

What does the PMD ban mean for Singapore workers?

Of 100,000 registered e-scooters in Singapore, at least 80,000 are not UL2272-certified, hence these cannot be used on all public paths from Jul 1, 2020, when all PMDs have to meet the safety certification.

There has been pushback from the PMD community (especially the PMD delivery riders mainly with Grab and FoodPanda which number around 7000).

Several groups of riders have turned up at meet-the-MP sessions and are planning for more. There is also a petition against the ban and the story is still developing.



Reader contribution by Suzairi on PMD ban

Suraizi is a worker who shared his opinion about the PMD ban below.

I hope for a holistic approach for the solution. Points to consider:

1. Not all riders are part-timers with a full-time job.

Some are housewives, retirees and stop-gap measures for the unemployed.

Some need the time flexibility & to be near home. It may be their main source of income. And to have it abruptly ends (not all follow news development), is hurtful to the family.

2. Not all can go for an alternative like riding a bicycle due to physical and health condition.

3. Food businesses may have to increase their dependence on walk-in customers due to a lack of delivery personnel.

Once such businesses are impacted, so will be their staff.

4. Grab, Food Panda and others may also be affected.

And they too have full-time staff.

5. Some may have recently bought the PMD on installment hoping to pay off through such jobs and also earn some income.

They will be stuck in such an unenviable position with debt.

While understanding the need for this, I am sure it can be managed better by concurrently implementing other regulatory measures to minimise the impact on these whole “ecosystem”.

The elephant in the room

PMDs have been around in Singapore for years, however the actions taken towards PMD issues have largely been regulatory (i.e. issuing licences, requiring certification, banning PMDs from void decks, footpaths etc).

Black sheep riders causing accidents and giving the others a bad name have contributed to public anger towards PMD riders in general, cumulating in several petitions and more regulations on PMDs.

Infrastructure such as PCNs have been upgraded but it doesn’t solve the last-mile problem, how PMDs can access PCNs from their collection point and to the customer’s unit.

Having a ban alone will not solve the PMD issue. It simply polarises different communities in Singapore. What about engaging communities to improve rider-safety and look at how to address high-risk accident-prone areas in neighbourhoods?

In the past, there were several suggestions raised to address the PMD issue, which are:

  • making Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) Safe Riding Programme compulsory
  • curbing PMD numbers
  • having a limited ban in certain areas
  • making insurance compulsory
  • making an e-scooter/bike lane



The ban is just a stop-gap measure. How this story unfolds depends on whether different camps are willing to engage each other and find ways to come to an understanding how to move forward.

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