Penalise those who block public footpaths

The current clampdown on e-scooters on roads seems unfairly one-sided in its implementation.

Hefty fines are slapped on errant personal mobility device (PMD) users for riding on the roads instead of public footpaths.

Shouldn't the authorities also do something about individuals who illegally block footpaths?

Footpaths are public property and cannot be "choped" with potted plants. There are also other obstacles that make it impossible for PMDs (including wheelchairs) to use the paths.

The Land Transport Authority is well aware of these infringements but do not seem to be able to take the same deterrent action as that which they mete out to PMD users, who have to weave in and out of the blocked footpaths.

Also, there are no footpaths along some of our narrow side roads in forested areas, only grass verges.

Such roads are shared by cyclists, pedestrians, PMD users and cars.

Generally, low speeds are observed by all and these small, windy roads are relatively safe. This is an example of how secluded side roads can safely be shared by all.

It would be sad to see grass verges along these roads concreted over to make footpaths for pedestrians and PMD users.

As we head towards a car-lite nation, we should keep our public paths and spaces as accessible as possible to all modes of non-motorised transportation - pedestrians, PMDs and wheelchairs.

Blocking footpaths and imposing fines on those using small lanes to get from their front doors to their bus stops will force PMD users back to their cars.

Last-mile connectivity should mean that we can easily access public transportation from our doorstep without using our cars.

Right now, this seems increasingly challenging.

CY Liew

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2018, with the headline 'Penalise those who block public footpaths'. Print Edition | Subscribe