'Dear ignorant jerk, you don't need to be completely disabled or unable to walk to use PMAs'

Personal mobility aids (PMAs) are not just for the handicapped and those unable to walk but also for people who are able to walk only for a short distance.

Several Stomp readers pointed this out in response to a Stomper who thought that a manĀ riding a PMA was handicapped, but heĀ got up and walked "steadily" to place a bet at a Singapore Pools outlet in Tampines Mall.

Reader Ariff said: "Dear ignorant jerk, you don't need to be completely disabled or unable to walk to use PMAs. Just like wheelchairs, some elderly are unable to walk or stand for long distance and time without feeling discomfort."

Another reader, Mr Ang, said that PMAs are for people with mobility issues like him.

"I can walk but not for long. So what is wrong that I use a PMA, which is subsidised by the Agency for Integrated Care, to move around?" he asked.

"I use the PMA to get to the 4D outlet and walk to the counter. What's wrong with that?"

Occupational therapist Terfu pointed out that the perception that mobility scooters are only for people who cannot walk is wrong.

"Mobility scooters are often prescribed for community mobility purposes. Just because they can walk a few meters safely, does not mean they can walk long distances, which is where mobility scooters come into play," he said.

"In fact, we often take into the account of their ability to walk when deciding whether a mobility scooter is more suitable, or will they be prescribed a motorized wheelchair instead, as it is harder to transfer onto a mobility scooter."

In March, The Straits Times reported that the Active Mobility Advisory Panel (AMAP) was considering whether more restrictive rules were needed on who should be allowed to use PMAs.

In an interview with radio station One FM 91.3, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and AMAP chairman Baey Yam Keng said: "I got a lot of complaints from residents that they (PMAs) are becoming like pseudo-motorcycles without COE."

Mr Baey, who is also an MP for Tampines GRC, added that the new rules may take the form of restrictions on the devices or the riders.

"(For PMAs), does a person need to get a doctor's certificate to say he is disabled or has a mobility issue? There could be a possibility that people are abusing it," he said.

PMAs were not included in the personal mobility device ban on footpaths in 2020 as they are meant to be used by those with medical issues.

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