MOT’s latest fire safety certification for PMDs affects both retailers and customers

Senior Minister of State for Transport Dr Lam Pin Min said in Parliament on 10 Sep that all motorized Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs) will have to meet fire safety standards by 2021 to ensure public safety.

Swee la. With more than 80 fire incidents involving these PMDs since 2016, this move is no doubt necessary to ensure public safety and reduce the likelihood of PMD-related fires from occurring. Dr Lam Pin Min said that many of such PMDs do not conform to any reliable standards. Oops.

If you are not aware of how dangerous overcharging of PMDs can be, watch this.

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Scary hor, better don’t play play.

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Also, the Ministry of Transport will use the UL2272 safety standard in its regulation of motorized PMDs in Singapore. Dr Lam also said that devices on public paths which are not UL2272 compliant will be illegal from January 2021 onwards.

What’s UL2272? It is a certification standard that was first published for hoverboards in the US in November 2016. But according to media reports, its scope has been extended to cover all types of motorized PMDs.

So this means that PMD riders with devices that are not UL2272 compliant can continue using these devices until end of 2020.  PMD users will have over two years to transit to a UL2272-ceritfied PMD. In addition, reports also said the gahmen also intends to prohibit retailers from selling non-compliant motorised PMDs from July 2019.

This sounds good for pedestrians and the public in general. But retailers and those who just bought their new PMDs (which are non-UL2272 compliant) buay song. Some retailers said that the new law will render almost all the PMDs that are currently in Singapore’s market to be illegal. For existing PMD users, this means that their devices that are not UL2272 certified will be considered illegal if they use it from 2021 onwards. And this is worse for those who just bought their PMDs right before this announcement. Because it means that they can’t use their non-UL2272 PMDs beyond 2021, even if it’s in a good condition. #howsuaycantheybe

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Apart from their losses, some retailers also complain why UL2272 was chosen as the standard for PMDs in Singapore and not standards adopted by the European countries. After all, the cost for UL2272 certification is higher than the European standards, which will result in higher prices for customers.

While the safety of the public should always be the TOP PRIORITY and should not be compromised, it seemed that how the relevant authority implemented new regulations to make PMDs a safer device is just boh swee. The impact on retailers who have a large inventory of PMDs that are not UL2272 certified, and those who are just so suay to buy a PMD before this announcement (PMD not cheap hor) would find themselves left with a huge piece of useless metal, or incurring extra costs to get unsold PMDs to comply with the UL2272 standards.

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In fact, is UL2272 certification a foolproof way of ensuring that the charging batteries are safe even if PMDs are accidentally overcharged? What about educating PMD users on not overcharging their devices and safety practices they should keep in mind when charging their PMDs? The number of PMDs that are deemed to be illegal after 2021, will the authorities come up with better ways to discard them else they end up like the unwanted oBikes?

As for those PMD users who KPKB over how the new law will affect them, maybe they should also ask themselves if they are prepared to be responsible for any lost of lives if their PMDs catches fire.

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