Put onus of safe riding on pathways on PMD users

There have been several reports about personal mobility devices (PMDs) and bicycles on pedestrian walkways, and the accidents and near misses several people have experienced.

While various measures such as registering PMDs and bicycles are being implemented, I would like to suggest a clear and simple rule that could possibly make a big difference.

We all know that pedestrian walkways, until recently, were strictly reserved for pedestrians.

PMD users and cyclists are in some ways "guests" when they use pedestrian paths.

So when these equipment users are on pedestrian paths, the authorities should put the onus on these guests to ride carefully and to be on the lookout for pedestrians.

Should they collide with pedestrians, regardless of who is at fault and however minor the incident, these guest users should be punished - a fine for minor collisions, and mandatory jail time for moderate to serious ones.

While I accept most PMD users and cyclists are responsible people, we cannot deny the fact that there will always be a reckless and inconsiderate minority thatresponds only to punitive measures.

No amount of education and campaigning will change this group's behaviour.

Such a rule is similar to the one introduced in the early days for pedestrian crossings at traffic lights. Education and campaigns to encourage drivers to give way to pedestrians could not change the behaviour of some drivers then.

Eventually it was the imposition of mandatory jail time that finally took care of the problem.

Ho Hoe Theng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 07, 2018, with the headline 'Put onus of safe riding on pathways on PMD users'. Print Edition | Subscribe