Lack of effective enforcement on PMDs a glaring lapse for Singapore

A man on an e-scooter riding along Old Airport Road on Feb 4, 2018.
A man on an e-scooter riding along Old Airport Road on Feb 4, 2018.PHOTO: ST FILE

I was so happy to see the well-researched article on the hazards of personal mobility devices (PMDs) in The Sunday Times (Too fast and too reckless, July 7).

Singapore does so much right that the lack of effective regulation and enforcement in this instance seems a glaring gap.

I used to walk regularly along the River Valley path from Valley Park to Clarke Quay and back. I do so very seldom now. Irresponsible riders on bicycles (often the very fit) speed by so closely that they often brush pedestrians.

Food delivery riders on PMDs also speed past pedestrians as described in the article. Many have boom boxes blaring music. At least you can hear those coming.

Every walk, my wife and I get stressed out, and I see others trying to enjoy their walks becoming stressed as the selfish and irresponsible rush by on their bikes and PMDs.

You can easily perceive common behaviours - that to me seem sociopathic - among the PMD and bicycle rider groups. They are very selfish and obviously do not care if their behaviour impacts others.

The Government has seemingly reacted too late and too little, and I have never seen any enforcement of the rules. The injury toll that The Sunday Times identified alone warrants much heavier enforcement.

Of course the industry lobby groups say there needs to be more education, and employ other diffusing tactics. They have a vested interest. If they were seriously interested in public safety, they would have already integrated speed limiters (the technology is available).

The authorities should link each PMD and bicycle to a registered mobile-phone number, so that mobile-phone numbers can be used to track down "hit and run" PMD and bicycle operators after an accident or reported near-collision.

The rental bicycle debacles should have highlighted the potential PMD issues. There are other examples of the impact of disruptive technologies that should have alerted the regulators.

This is a big lapse for Singapore, which goes against its many wins. As an expatriate and a guest, I value highly the strong sense of social responsibility one usually encounters here.

Thomas Hlavac

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 09, 2019, with the headline 'Lack of effective enforcement on PMDs a glaring lapse for Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe