Concerns about PMD safety not adequately addressed

A man riding a PMD against traffic at the Bugis area.
A man riding a PMD against traffic at the Bugis area.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

The many questions raised by MPs and the overwhelming complaints from the public underline one fundamental concern and problem regarding the use of personal mobility devices (PMDs) - that of safety (Deadline to certify PMDs safe advanced by 6 months to July 1, Aug 6).

Yet the issue of safety seems to not be a concern of priority and urgency to the Senior Minister of State for Transport, Dr Lam Pin Min, even when faced with a worrying increase in the numbers of PMD-related accidents and fires.

Instead of being more cautious, he asserts that PMDs are here to stay. Based on what quantifiable statistics does he make this assertion?

Till now we do not know the extent and severity of PMD-related accidents or fires.

Are there statistics from hospitals and Accident and Emergency Departments to tell us how many people have been injured or killed, the nature and severity of injuries, the average number of hospitalisation days, the medical cost and the demographics of the people injured?

How many families have lost their homes and at what cost? What benefits have PMDs brought that outweigh the problems of safety, and the tangible and intangible costs of accidents and fires?

Is the loss of livelihood a greater concern than loss of lives? If the policies and infrastructures for safety are not ready, then allowing the use of PMDs is a reckless and premature decision.

Is the loss of livelihood a greater concern than loss of lives? If the policies and infrastructures for safety are not ready, then allowing the use of PMDs is a reckless and premature decision.

Until the fears and concerns of the public are adequately addressed, and until safety measures are ready and prove to be effective in reducing accidents, it is best to be safe than be sorry.

Ho Ting Fei (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2019, with the headline 'Concerns about PMD safety not adequately addressed'. Print Edition | Subscribe