Forum: Some suggestions to keep PMD users in line

A woman riding her Personal Mobility Device (PMD) while crossing a traffic junction along Stevens Road.
A woman riding her Personal Mobility Device (PMD) while crossing a traffic junction along Stevens Road.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Both pro-and anti-PMD advocates have legitimate grounds for their respective positions.

Personal mobility devices (PMDs) have gained enormous traction, especially with younger people, who find owning cars or motorcycles out of their reach but still long for physical mobility and convenience.

PMDs in themselves are not evil, but clearly some riders do not know how to use them responsibly.

With several accidents involving PMDs already being reported, users need a major mindset change if they want to avoid a total ban on PMDs.

In this regard, I suggest the following :

• Require all PMD riders to slow down to an acceptable speed (to be defined) when nearing pedestrians, especially if approaching from behind them;

• In any accident involving a PMD user and a pedestrian, the law will deem the PMD user at fault until proven otherwise. This is similar to cases where a vehicle is rear-ended by another vehicle; the vehicle behind is always deemed at fault;

• Any serious accident will mean a time ban for the PMD user (say, a year for first offenders, more for subsequent offences) as penalty;

• Safe-riding classes will be mandatory for PMD owners involved in accidents, as a prerequisite to lifting the above-mentioned suspension;

• Hit-and-run cases involving PMD users will be severely dealt with (for instance, a jail term);

• Hold mandatory highway code training, including safety etiquette, for PMD users (similar to the one for motorists).

To avoid a total ban on PMDs, users should practise safe riding or face severe penalties for being involved in accidents with pedestrians.

With an ageing society, we need a good balance between technological advances, the needs of young Singaporeans and a concern for senior citizens.

Raymond Koh Bock Swi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 11, 2019, with the headline 'Some suggestions to keep PMD users in line'. Print Edition | Subscribe