Naive to appeal to PMD riders to be responsible

A man rides a personal mobility device at Toa Payoh Lorong 1.
A man rides a personal mobility device at Toa Payoh Lorong 1.ST PHOTO: SHINTARO TAY

It is extremely disappointing to read the Land Transport Authority's (LTA) response to the concerns raised by the public on the dangers of allowing personal mobility devices (PMDs) on footpaths (Holistic approach taken to improve active mobility safety, May 20).

To put matters into perspective, I have chronic health issues and require assistance to walk. If a PMD were to come hurtling towards me, it would be impossible for me to take preventive action to avoid injury.

I weigh less than 50kg, and if I were hit by a PMD, the combined weight of the device and rider travelling at 10kmh could potentially be fatal.

The active mobility rules promulgated are woefully inadequate.

First, as illustrated above, the weight and speed limit will not protect vulnerable pedestrians from potentially fatal injury.

Second, there will be disputes between riders and pedestrians on whether the speed limit is complied with.

Third, registration of e-scooters does little to promote accountability. The registration number is discernible only at close proximity and a pedestrian who has been hit will not be in any condition to chase down an errant rider.

LTA's appeal for PMD riders to nurture a "culture of responsible, gracious and safe path sharing" and "weed out irresponsible behaviour" is naive.

Consider why there is a need for so many speed and red light cameras if road users could be relied upon to be responsible and gracious.

On the roads, we are dealing with vehicles that are insured and driven by adults who have passed stringent tests - even then, cameras and traffic police patrols are required to enforce the rules.

LTA needs to follow cities like Paris in banning PMDs - in this case, e-scooters - from footpaths.

Chin Chiu Ngo

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 24, 2019, with the headline 'Naive to appeal to PMD riders to be responsible'. Print Edition | Subscribe