By next July, all PMDs must be safety-certified
Inspection of all e-scooters will also be mandatory from next April
A worrying spate of personal mobility device (PMD) fires has sparked the authorities to bring forward by six months a deadline for all PMDs to meet fire safety requirements.
The inspection of all e-scooters will also be mandatory from April next year.
By next July, all PMDs used on public paths must have the UL2272 certification, which has a stringent set of tests and covers the whole electrical system including the battery. The previous deadline was Jan 1, 2021.
Almost 90 per cent of the 90,000 registered e-scooters here do not meet the UL2272 standard, despite the requirement being announced in September last year.
Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min said in Parliament yesterday: "We could have simply banned non-UL2272-certified PMDs. But retailers and users who had just bought such PMDs pleaded for some grace period.
"Even with this grace period, many retailers complained bitterly about the adverse impact on their businesses.
"Users were unhappy about having to give up devices that were still usable and having to pay significantly more for a UL2272-certified PMD."
But Dr Lam said the new measures were necessary, citing the rise in PMD-related fires.
The first half of this year had seen 49 such fires, compared with 52 in the whole of last year.
In what may be the first PMD-fire fatality here, a man, 40, died after a blaze in his Bukit Batok flat on July 18. Three burnt e-scooters were in the flat.
Dr Lam said the new deadline was the earliest reasonable date as many Singaporeans rely on PMDs for their livelihoods and commuting needs.
It will also give retailers time to bring in sufficient stock of UL2272-certified devices.
So far, all PMD-related fires have involved non-certified devices. Dr Lam said other factors were involved, such as inappropriate charging practices.
He urged PMD users to check the batteries regularly,use only original power adaptors, and avoid leaving PMDs charging unattended or overnight.
He cautioned against modification or adding battery packs as this could affect the circuitry and device safety, voiding the UL2272 certification.
"We will also crack down on illegal modifications of PMDs," he warned.
The authorities are studying ways to encourage owners to dispose of non-certified PMDs, said Dr Lam. Under the new mandatory inspection regime, owners of registered e-scooters will be called to authorised inspection centres from next April to ensure their devices are UL2272-certified and meet weight, width and speed requirements.