Don't place cart before the horse in allowing shared footpaths

I cannot agree more with Mr Allein Godfrey Moore ("Reconsider plans for shared footpaths"; Sept 23).

I have written several letters to the Forum page on the danger cyclists pose in places meant for pedestrians.

In my Sept 22, 2015 letter ("Clear rules needed for cyclists, pedestrians to share space safely") in response to the prosecution's success in getting a rash cyclist's jail term reduced, I posed three questions:

What happens after this?

Do we wait for yet another accident in order to punish the offender?

Do we implement measures to prevent future accidents?

Obviously, the situation has not improved.

Mr Sitoh Yih Pin, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport, said "pedestrian safety is paramount" when footpaths are shared with users of personal mobility devices (PMDs) ("Woman still unconscious after e-scooter accident"; Sept 22).

I agree fully but how do we ensure this?

Most footpaths are wide enough to accommodate only two people walking abreast. Allowing PMDs to share them only renders them more congested and dangerous for pedestrians.

It is extremely stressful to have to look back or respond to approaching bicycles with bells ringing while one is walking.

This is more so for the elderly, given their slower reflexes and weaker physiques.

Our infrastructure for shared paths is far from ready. Coupled with reckless and irresponsible users of PMDs, which are becoming increasingly powerful, the safety of pedestrians will remain elusive.

We should not hurry to allow such shared footpaths. Let's do it right and do it well. We should not place the cart before the horse. Pedestrians deserve the safety which they are entitled to, even if they are forced to share their sanctuary with users of PMDs.

Lawrence Loh Kiah Muan

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