New source of accidents demands new slate of solutions

The new "Report PMD/PAB Incident" feature on LTA's MyTransport.SG app.
The new "Report PMD/PAB Incident" feature on LTA's MyTransport.SG app.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

The Land Transport Authority's (LTA) decision to mobilise 700,000 MyTransport.SG app users for traffic policing speaks volumes about the safety and desirability of personal mobility devices (PMDs) (Mobile CCTV cameras to help nab errant PMD users, July 20).

With 85,000 PMDs registered in Singapore, the statistics surrounding this comparatively small population make for unpleasant reading.

According to LTA figures, 3,700 offences were committed under the Active Mobility Act between May last year and April this year, of which almost 20 per cent were for speeding, reckless riding and using PMDs on the roads. There were 228 reported PMD accidents, 196 of them with reported injuries.

Meanwhile, the Singapore Civil Defence Force recorded 74 fires linked to PMDs and power-assisted bicycles last year, a sharp increase from the 49 such fires seen in 2017.

With so many errant riders, and such high risk to both users and pedestrians, it is not sufficient to merely mobilise the community's watchful eyes, serve summonses to offenders who happen to be caught in the act or regulate PMDs as if they were equivalent to bicycles.

The current requirement to register PMDs should be strengthened by requiring inspections of the equipment, not unlike the mandatory tests required of motor vehicles.

Countries such as the United Kingdom, France and Germany have taken the additional step of barring PMDs from encroaching on pedestrian footpaths, in effect holding them to the same rules as road-going bicycles.

A new source of accidents demands a new slate of solutions. I urge the LTA to reconsider appeals from a concerned public, and take prompt action on PMDs before they cause further harm.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2019, with the headline 'New source of accidents demands new slate of solutions'. Print Edition | Subscribe