No easy fix to PMD problem

There is no quick and easy solution to the present situation of personal mobility devices (PMDs) being a nuisance to pedestrians.

A code of conduct, or even a rule of law, will not work if it is not enforceable.

A case in point is the incident cited in Mr Francis Cheng's letter ("Cycling code of conduct insufficient to ensure good behaviour"; Dec 9).

Recently, I encountered a cyclist on a crowded pavement, who had the audacity to ring her bicycle bell and expect the elderly woman in front of her bicycle, as well as other pedestrians, to give way.

These, and other similar situations, are common daily occurrences. Accidents have happened and many more will happen.

It is not possible for the police and other law-enforcers to be present everywhere and all the time. Potential and recalcitrant offenders know this, and this explains their brazen behaviour and attitude.

So, what can be done?

I can think of two possible solutions to the problem:

First, mandate certain places, for example, bus stops and pavements fronting shops, as out-of-bounds to users of PMDs.

Second, impose heavy and painful penalties on offenders, as this is the most effective way to force a behavioural change.

The Active Mobility Advisory Panel has worked hard in drafting a set of recommendations for a happy co-existence between pedestrians and PMDs users.

However, it is important to understand that while some users are responsible and gracious, many are not.

There is a need to rein them in.

Lawrence Loh Kiah Muan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 10, 2016, with the headline 'No easy fix to PMD problem'. Print Edition | Subscribe