Personal mobility devices, or PMDs, are ubiquitous in Singapore.

It’s common to see people zipping by on electric scooters and hoverboards, sometimes on their way to deliver meals with a food delivery service.

Unfortunately, there has been a sharp rise in the number of accidents involving these devices – on average there are three accidents every week.

The number of accidents tripled from 42 in 2016 to 128 in 2017. Compare this to just 19 reported in 2015.

To mitigate these alarming figures, the Active Mobility Act has been enforced since May 1, which covers the use and specifications of these devices.

To ensure you’re charging your devices safely, follow the tips here.

Singapore is also set to introduce mandatory registration for e-scooters within this half of the year, after introducing the same rule for e-bicycles last year.

Owners of e-scooters will have to register and paste identification stickers on their devices once the rule passes.

Given all these changes, it’s time for a primer on good habits to ensure the safety of both riders and pedestrians alike.

Be aware of the legal specifications

Be aware of the legal specifications

The Active Mobility Act that kicked in on May 1 covers the use and specs of these devices.

For example, all e-scooters and hoverboards cannot weigh more than 20kg and must have a maximum speed of 25km/h.

The maximum width is 70cm to ensure a safe distance for these devices to cross each other.

Ensure that your PMD meets the criteria or you risk it being confiscated. It helps to buy from reputable retailers.

Use only in permitted areas

Use only in permitted areas
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PMDs are not allowed on public roads. You can only use them on footpaths, where the speed limit is 15km/h, and on park connectors and shared paths, where the speed limit is 25km/h.

It’s important to note that a collision can cause a lot of damage even at such low speeds.

In a Channel NewsAsia news report, a professor from the School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at Nanyang Technological University was quoted as saying that a person who is hit at that speed can fall to the ground with a force that is equivalent to 1.5 to 2 tonnes.

Use the safety features

Use the safety features
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Your device must have white headlights and red rear-lights or reflective strips, and the lights need to be switched on once it is dark. Although it is not part of the Act, it is also advisable for PMD riders to use a helmet and covered shoes.

Respect the shared space

Respect the shared space
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When riding on the allocated spaces, always give way to pedestrians.

Keep alert and stay a safe distance away from other path users.

Slow down when in a crowded area and always alert others before overtaking.

The maximum penalty for reckless riding is a $5000 fine and/or a six-month jail term.

If you are involved in an accident, you are required to stop and help the victims.

Failure to do so can earn you a $3000 fine and/or a jail term of up to a year.

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