Already too many PMDs, even without shared operators

An e-scooter rider at My Tampines Hub on May 1, 2018.
An e-scooter rider at My Tampines Hub on May 1, 2018. PHOTO: ST FILE

I read with dismay, anxiety and disappointment that in the third quarter of this year, the Land Transport Authority will issue licences to companies to operate shared PMDs in Singapore (LTA delays decision on licences for shared PMD operators, June 1).

Currently, pedestrians already have to avoid the many personal mobility device (PMD) riders on narrow walkways. Many personal and food-delivery riders often speed past pedestrians without consideration for their safety. The riders' only concern is to reach their destinations as quickly as possible.

It was reported that there were 228 PMD accidents on public paths in 2017 and last year. Out of these cases, there were 196 with reported injuries and one fatal accident.

These figures are indicative of how dangerous PMDs are on shared walkways, and of how reckless many of the riders are.

Now, the situation will get even more dangerous with shared PMD operators contributing to the number of PMDs on footpaths.

This may work well in other countries that are bigger and have more space. But in Singapore, where space is so limited, it is not a wise decision to add even more PMDs to the narrow and congested walkways.

A possible option to safeguard pedestrians is to build separate paths for PMDs. But this may not be feasible due to lack of space.

It is all well and good to support advances in technology that increase travel options. But this cannot be allowed at the expense of the safety and lives of pedestrians.

It is all well and good to support advances in technology that increase travel options. But this cannot be allowed at the expense of the safety and lives of pedestrians.

I hope the relevant authorities will seriously consider the safety of pedestrians before introducing more PMDs onto our walkways, posing more danger to children and the elderly.

Susan Tan Lin Neo

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 04, 2019, with the headline 'Already too many PMDs, even without shared operators'. Print Edition | Subscribe