Take steps towards safer PMD use

A man with a safety helmet riding an electric scooter at Marina Barrage.
A man with a safety helmet riding an electric scooter at Marina Barrage.PHOTO: ST FILE

I am all for a car-lite Singapore as it is the right direction to take for the sake of the environment.

However, I suggest that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) look into implementing the following:

•All personal mobility devices (PMDs) should be installed with a speed warning device, similar to those on vans and lorries. Should the PMD exceed the speed limit, the device will give off a warning sound to alert the user and warn pedestrians, which will help to deter speeding.

•PMD users should have to adhere to a code of conduct similar to the highway code for motorists. Some PMD users have never driven a car or ridden a motorcycle, and there is a general lack of knowledge on the right of way, the need for signalling and other important points. Posters and notices do not change user habits or behaviour, education does.

•There should be mandatory insurance for PMD users, given the number of accidents involving the devices. Accidents can injure users, pedestrians or property, and some users may not have the ability to pay liability claims in cases of damage to property or personal injury. Perhaps the LTA can offer blanket coverage for all registered PMD users. This would be a big help in protecting users and pedestrians, and offer peace of mind.

•PMDs should have to undergo annual inspections at approved distributors to certify their road worthiness. This is critical in the light of the risk of fires when PMD batteries are charged at home.

•PMD users should have to wear protective gear, such as helmets, given that a fall from a PMD can be as deadly as a fall from a motorcycle.

Some personal mobility device users have never driven a car or ridden a motorcycle, and there is a general lack of knowledge on the right of way, the need for signalling and other important points. Posters and notices do not change user habits or behaviour, education does.

•Passengers should not be allowed on PMDs as most are not designed to carry more than one person.

•The use of mobile phones while riding a PMD should be discouraged as a momentary loss of attention can cause an accident.

•Similarly, PMD users should be discouraged from using headphones or earphones as this would prevent them from hearing warnings.

Many people such as food delivery riders rely on PMDs to make a living. So instead of simply criticising their use and calling for a ban, I hope my suggestions will be considered so that PMD use will be safer for riders and pedestrians.

Robin Yap Seng Bee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 06, 2019, with the headline 'Take steps towards safer PMD use'. Print Edition | Subscribe