Forum: Roads may be too dangerous for delivery riders on e-bikes

I read with concern and dismay about accidents involving delivery riders on e-bikes and vehicles on the road.

Most recent was the accident in Kovan, in which a food delivery rider on an e-bike died after allegedly being struck by a car.

There was also the accident last year involving a rider on a power-assisted bicycle (GrabFood rider in ICU with punctured lungs and spleen, blood clot in brain after Jalan Kayu accident, Aug 6, 2020).

We should allow e-bikes to be used responsibly on footpaths before more lives and limbs are lost.

There is no reason why regulations cannot be aligned with those for regular bicycles, to allow e-bikes to coexist safely with pedestrians.

On footpaths, the motors on e-bikes can be shut off, and users can then cycle at speeds similar to that of regular bikes.

An outright ban on e-bike users using footpaths does not make sense as we also need to protect the lives and livelihoods of delivery riders, who risk their lives every day to deliver essential goods to people in these unique times.

Not every e-biker has the experience and know-how to travel on roads, especially when they are carrying food packs, and this makes them vulnerable to impatient and speeding drivers.

Having mandatory tests for e-bike riders may help keep them safer.

But until Singapore's road culture matures to an acceptable level and there are more bicycle lanes, there is no reason for an outright ban on responsible e-bike users on footpaths.

I urge the authorities to at least study the feasibility of easing the outright ban.

Darren Nathaniel Cheong Jun Kang