More study needed on dangers of PMDs

The fact that several MPs raised concerns about the safety of pedestrians ("'Small minority' of cyclists, mobility device users careless"; Tuesday) should prompt us to take a closer look at and engage in a more informed discussion about personal mobility devices (PMDs).

In comparison with other vehicles or devices for transport on our largely congested roads, what added convenience or benefits do these PMDs offer?

Are accidents involving PMDs mainly due to the carelessness of users? Are these devices safe to use on public roads? Do they really promote a healthy lifestyle, if very little effort is required to move these devices?

Furthermore, there is confusion over whether users of PMDs are classified as motorists or pedestrians because they sometimes ignore traffic rules applicable to motorists, but they also use pedestrian walkways and zebra crossings like pedestrians.

When PMD users share pedestrian walkways and also zip in and out of heavy traffic, the safety of pedestrians and even the users of the PMDs becomes a real issue of concern.

If we value human life and consider the huge tangible or intangible loss incurred in injury or death, then additional measures like registration and insurance will no longer be "too onerous and costly" .

The safety of people should be a priority. If we value human life and consider the huge tangible or intangible loss incurred in injury or death, then additional measures like registration and insurance will no longer be "too onerous and costly".

Moreover, the majority of motorists are also law-abiding, yet they still need to pay for registration and insurance.

I urge the authorities to obtain more accurate and valid statistics on the dangers posed by PMD users.

Even if injuries and deaths constitute a "small minority", any injury or death to the suffering individual or family is a 100 per cent damage or loss.

Ho Ting Fei (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2016, with the headline 'More study needed on dangers of PMDs'. Print Edition | Subscribe