PMD regulations are better late than never

It is high time the Land Transport Authority looked seriously into the problems arising from the phenomenal growth of e-scooters, power-assisted bicycles and shared bicycles in recent years.

The announcement that owners will have to register them is most welcome by pedestrians and other road users (E-scooter registration from 2nd half of 2018; March 8).

Although the measure can be likened to "closing the barn door after the horse has bolted", it is better late than never.

To date, many accidents resulting in injuries and even death to pedestrians have been caused by rash and irresponsible riders of personal mobility devices (PMDs).

Recently, a 45-year-old woman was allegedly knocked down by an e-scooter while she was walking on the pavement at Block 151, Bedok Reservoir Road (Woman hit by e-scooter in Bedok, taken to hospital with head injuries; ST Online, March 11).

There have been many such cases, including ones where the culprit did not stop to help the victim but scooted away from the scene.

Besides the PMD problem, we are also facing an added problem caused by shared bicycles. Many of these bicycles are haphazardly parked all over the place, causing inconvenience, obstruction and danger to other people.

It is quite surprising that the LTA adopted a laissez-faire policy from the very start, thus allowing the mushrooming of PMDs and shared bicycles, resulting in the unwieldy problems we are facing today.

It seems the authorities sometimes have too much trust in our people. They think that the users of PMDs and shared bicycles will be civic-minded and responsible without regulations. But have we really arrived?

If we are honest with ourselves, I think we still have a very long way to go before we can proudly say that Singapore is a gracious society.

One important thing the Government should do is carry out enforcement measures once the law has been passed.

Before the advent of PMDs, large banners warned cyclists not to ride in common areas in front of shops, between shophouses and some public squares; with a maximum fine of $5,000.

But cyclists have been oblivious and cycled in the prohibited areas for years, making a mockery of the warnings. Have any actions been taken against them?

Tan Kim Hock

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 13, 2018, with the headline 'PMD regulations are better late than never'. Print Edition | Subscribe