Mobile CCTV cameras to help nab errant PMD users

Users will be asked to submit a photo or a video, state the device identification number of the errant PMD, select the nature of the incident and list their own contact details.
Users will be asked to submit a photo or a video, state the device identification number of the errant PMD, select the nature of the incident and list their own contact details.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

LTA also rolling out new in-app feature to better enable users to report nuisance riders, submit photos and videos

Mobile closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras are to be placed in "hot spots" around Singapore to nab personal mobility device (PMD) users who flout the law.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is also introducing a "Report PMD/PAB (power-assisted bicycle) Incident" feature on its MyTransport.SG app to make it easier for its 700,000 users to alert the authorities to nuisance riders, and submit photos and video footage.

The two moves, to be introduced at the end of the month, were announced yesterday by the LTA as it steps up enforcement efforts against errant PMD users.

They follow compulsory registration of PMDs, which went into effect earlier this month.

The mobile CCTV trials will take place over 18 months under a partnership with the Government Technology Agency, and will target public paths and roads. The cameras will be installed in neighbourhoods in areas including Jurong West, Sembawang, Punggol and Woodlands.

The CCTV cameras will have prominent signs indicating that they are in operation.

"The trial aims to determine the effectiveness of the video analytics software in these CCTV cameras in detecting active mobility offences such as speeding," the LTA said. "Errant riders captured... during the trial may face further investigation and prosecution."

At a media briefing on the new changes, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Baey Yam Keng demonstrated the new in-app reporting function, and said it would significantly help the LTA's enforcement efforts.

He said: "We have more than 700,000 people who have downloaded the MyTransport.SG app, so this means there are potentially more than 700,000 cameras and eyes around to look out for these (errant) riders. This would be many times of what our surveillance would be able to accomplish.

"Riders would also be very much aware that anyone around them can report their errant behaviour."

The LTA will launch the Report PMD/PAB Incident feature on July 31. Users will be asked to submit a photo or video, state the device identification number of the errant rider's PMD, select the nature of the incident and list their own contact details.

Users will still be able to submit the report even if they are unable to get the device's identification number.

The LTA will then investigate and take follow-up action - including prosecution - if necessary.

Mr Baey said the reports from the public will also help the LTA identify hot spots for PMD offences, which will be useful in targeting enforcement efforts.

Under new rules that kicked in this month, it is illegal for PMD users to ride, cause or allow another person to ride an unregistered e-scooter on public paths.

According to the LTA, more than 85,000 e-scooters have been registered with the authority as of the end of last month. Those registering must be at least 16 years old and will have to declare that their e-scooters do not exceed 20kg in weight and 70cm in width. The e-scooter's maximum motorised device speed should be capped at 25kmh.

Retailers and other operators are also barred from selling or leasing any PMDs without the necessary safety certification.

 
 
 

Technician Jeremiah Loei, 55, plans to download the LTA app and believes the reporting function will enable the public to help the authorities with enforcement efforts.

He said: "Police and the LTA enforcement officers can't be everywhere, so the public has a role to help out and be the eyes and ears of the law."

However, a civil servant who gave her name only as Karen S., 50, said: "The speed at which errant drivers go past me would make it hard for me to snap a picture, especially in the late evening and with poor lighting, and catching the back of someone's head at a distance is unlikely to be helpful."

Safety issues surrounding the use of PMDs have become a talking point in recent months.

There were 228 reported incidents involving PMDs on public paths in 2017 and last year combined. Of these, 196 involved injuries. Thirty-two cases involved major injuries, such as concussion and fractures, and there was also one fatal accident in which a PMD rider died after skidding.

Countries such as Germany, France and Peru have opted to ban e-scooters from footpaths, but the authorities here have ruled out a similar course of action due to the devices' potential as a first-and last-mile transport option.

The LTA has instead stepped up enforcement efforts and also looked into infrastructure improvements here. It said this month that it has conducted more than 4,600 enforcement operations islandwide in the first half of this year and detected more than 1,700 active mobility offences.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2019, with the headline 'Mobile CCTV cameras to help nab errant PMD users'. Print Edition | Subscribe