Little need for PMDs in S'pore

A e-scooter user riding on the Helix Bridge on March 11, 2018.
A e-scooter user riding on the Helix Bridge on March 11, 2018. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Our efforts to become a car-lite society resulted in a solution to the first-and last-mile connectivity conundrum in the form of personal mobility devices (PMDs).

This has, however, created a problem of shared spaces between the incompatible modes of transportation of PMDs and walking (Ban e-scooters until infrastructure is in place, by Mr Remesh Panicker, May 11).

Given that an MRT station will eventually be within 10 minutes' walk of any home, the idea of a difficult last-mile connection seems superfluous.

And while the elderly here seem to have no issues walking, the PMD users I see are almost always fit and healthy adults. If anything, it appears that the healthier they look, the faster they needlessly ride.

It all seems a little farcical when a little walking never did anybody any harm.

It does not feel safe to walk on the footpaths now, when a PMD whizzing close by strikes fear and alarm even without physical contact.

While there may be environmental benefits to PMD use, and the growing loathing of them needs to be reconciled also with their burgeoning popularity, shared responsibility on footpaths will not come easily and may never come, despite active mobility campaigns, cyclist education programmes, active mobility patrol schemes and targeted enforcement at hot spots.

Until the infrastructure is ready to demarcate routes for wheels from legs, PMDs should be removed from the paths of pedestrians to keep them safe.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2019, with the headline 'Little need for PMDs in S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe