Try out e-scooter sharing in confined environment first

Recently, it was reported that ofo's former head of South-east Asian operations is planning to launch a new e-scooter sharing service (Start-up aims to roll out public e-scooter sharing service; Oct 24).

If approved, this will not only mess up the environment but will also endanger the public in common walking spaces.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the various government agencies must seriously consider the negative impact such a service will have.

The LTA is still in the process of cleaning up the mess created by bike-sharing companies.

Government agencies still do not appear to have any concrete solution to prevent accidents in shared walkways.

What have been implemented look more like stopgap measures.

LTA and the relevant government agencies must take responsibility for the state of affairs. Obviously, they did not anticipate how quickly the bike-sharing serviceswould be adopted and how quickly things got out of hand.

Allowing the e-scooter sharing scheme is going to be more problematic.

Users, especially young people, will be thrilled by the feel of speeding without traffic restrictions or having to apply for a riding licence, and would pose an even greater danger to pedestrians.

Government agencies must not repeat the mistake they made with bike-sharing - regulating the scheme as an afterthought and after serious public outcry.

Many pedestrians will agree that more public consultation and proper infrastructure are needed before the Government gives e-scooter sharing a try.

The authorities should come up with trials like with the electric car, and test the scheme in a confined environment before going to common spaces.

Lim Tong Wah

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 01, 2018, with the headline 'Try out e-scooter sharing in confined environment first'. Print Edition | Subscribe