Active mobility at the expense of pedestrians' safety

While the Land Transport Authority's (LTA's) efforts to enforce rules on personal mobility devices (PMDs) should be applauded, there are some fundamental flaws and serious issues that still need to be addressed (Reckless PMD users face stern action by Land Transport Authority; More PMD users caught riding on the roads; Going the distance to pick up damaged bicycles; all published on Dec 13).

Firstly, pedestrians sharing footpaths with PMDs, which have a maximum speed of 15kmh, is particularly dangerous in areas where there are shopping malls, like Orchard Road.

Anyone taking a stroll down Orchard Road these days will have to be on a constant lookout for PMD users whizzing through the crowded footpath between ION Orchard and Takashimaya Shopping Centre.

I have witnessed PMD users and cyclists colliding into pedestrians in Orchard Road, and sometimes pedestrians jumping out of the way in shock.

The elderly, young children and those pushing babies in prams may not be able to skip out of the way of these riders.

LTA should seriously review its laws to consider "no-go zones" or "go slow zones", especially near shopping malls.

Secondly, installing bells on bicycles should be made mandatory.

As many bicycles are not installed with a bell, cyclists usually speed past pedestrians on narrow footpaths, sometimes while approaching them from behind.

Without warning bells, pedestrians have no opportunity to move out of the way, and the danger of the cyclists making contact with them increases.

Cyclists approaching pedestrians at high speeds from the front also expect pedestrians to move out of their way.

Reckless riding is on the rise.

It appears that active mobility today is fast becoming a privilege at the expense of the pedestrians' safety, especially that of young children and the elderly.

Tan Kah Heng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 16, 2017, with the headline 'Active mobility at the expense of pedestrians' safety'. Print Edition | Subscribe