'Small minority' of cyclists, mobility device users careless

An Active Mobility Enforcement Officer from LTA giving out leaflets to cyclists in Taman Jurong last Wednesday in an exercise to promote the safe sharing of paths and deter reckless behaviour by cyclists and PMD users.
An Active Mobility Enforcement Officer from LTA giving out leaflets to cyclists in Taman Jurong last Wednesday in an exercise to promote the safe sharing of paths and deter reckless behaviour by cyclists and PMD users.ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

The "careless behaviour of a small minority" of cyclists and users of personal mobility devices (PMDs) has led to accidents that have resulted in a public backlash against the proliferation of these devices.

But this should not prevent responsible and considerate users from enjoying the benefits of these devices, Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo said in Parliament yesterday.

She was responding to questions from MPs who asked about measures being taken to prevent accidents involving PMDs.

The safety of pedestrians was the top concern of MPs: Seven of them filed questions on the issue.

Last month, there was a serious accident in which a 53-year-old housewife was knocked down by an e-scooter in Pasir Ris. A 17-year-old e-scooter rider was arrested and police investigations are ongoing.

From June last year to June this year, there have been 12 reported on-road accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists, Mrs Teo said.

But statistics for accidents on public paths are not available as records currently "do not distinguish between accidents caused by personal mobility devices or bicycles, and other offences".

But the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will track such accidents from now on.

Non-Constituency MP Dennis Tan asked how the Government would ensure that PMDs imported and sold here meet speed limits.

Nominated MP Randolph Tan asked if the Government would address dangers posed by cyclists and PMD users when they switch between footpaths and roads while travelling. Dr Tan Wu Meng (Jurong GRC) asked if the LTA would reassess making insurance compulsory for cyclists and PMD users to cover accident claims.

But Mrs Teo said registration and compulsory insurance would be "too onerous and costly" for the majority of law-abiding users.

The sensible approach would be to adopt measures to help prevent accidents. These include imposing speed limits of 15kmh on footpaths and 25kmh on cycling paths.

The measures she cited are among recommendations that an expert panel submitted to the Government earlier this year. The recommendations, which the Government accepted, will be debated in Parliament soon.

Mrs Teo, who said that enforcement and education efforts have also been stepped up, added that if "used safely and responsibly", bicycles and PMDs offer great convenience and benefits.

"They are environmentally friendly, promote a healthy lifestyle, and are affordable," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 11, 2016, with the headline ''Small minority' of cyclists, mobility device users careless'. Print Edition | Subscribe