With all the new LTA rules kicking in regarding personal mobility devices, how does it affect the use of mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs in Singapore? Here I would like to clear up some misconceptions.
First off, we must be clear how LTA views them in the overall scheme of things. Motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters are classified as "Personal Mobility Aids" ("PMAs"), as shown in the above diagram published in April this year. Note the word "aids", which means these are devices meant to help people restore their mobility, which could have been compromised due to old age, accident or disease.
1. Where can PMAs be used?
As clearly illustrated in the first diagram, you're supposed to use them on footpaths and cycling paths. You are NOT supposed to use them on roads.
You CAN cross the road using zebra crossings or pedestrian traffic light crossings, but you CANNOT drive alongside cars on the road, or worse, against the flow of traffic on the road.
If you drive recklessly, you could be liable for up to a $5,000 fine, 6 months jail, or both.
2. Does my PMA need to weigh under 20 kg?
The physical criteria for mobility devices published by LTA is another source of confusion among our elderly clients. Many misunderstood this to mean that their mobility scooter or motorised wheelchair need to weigh under 20 kg, which means 99% of the vehicles in use today and being sold in the Singapore market would be banned.
This is not true. As per another post we did earlier titled "Are Mobility Scooters above 20 kg allowed by LTA?", PMAs are exempt from this physical criteria. The 20 kg limit was targeted at faster personal mobility devices such as e-scooters which can go up to 25 km/h, and can cause much more serious injury if they knock into somebody.
3. Does my PMA need to be folded to go into MRT or Wheelchair Accessible Buses?
The most recent confusion caused by LTA is the announcement that e-scooters and bicycles need to be folded to a maximum dimension of 120 cm in length, 40 cm in width, and 70 cm in height. If these dimensions were applied to PMAs, then pretty much 100% of ALL mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs in Singapore would be banned from using public transport!
Is this true? Of course not. We have written to one of the directors in LTA, and she assures us that these will not apply to PMA which are meant to restore mobility to elderly or handicapped users. But then again, there have not been specific rules and guidelines being published to clear up this misconception.
We are still waiting for that clarification to be announced, and will post it up on our blog as soon as it is announced!