Too fast, too reckless in Pasir Ris
Pedestrian Ang Liu Kiow was involved in a serious accident with an e-scooter at Pasir Ris on Saturday. We look at the dangers posed by e-bikes and e-scooters in the area
E-bikes and personal mobility devices (PMDs) whizzed by Block 541, Pasir Ris Drive 1.
That was the scene on Wednesday when The New Paper was there from 10am to 11am, and then later from 6pm to 7pm.
Last Saturday, this area was also where an accident involving an e-scooter put housewife Ang Liu Kiow, 53, on life support.
On our Wednesday morning visit to Pasir Ris Drive 1, we saw six e-scooters and three e-bicycles zipping past us. Based on the videos we took, we estimated that they were travelling at around 25kmh.
THE NEW PAPER, SEPT 21
At that speed, if any of them were to hit a pedestrian or someone waiting at the bus stop near where Madam Ang was hit, it would surely have resulted in serious injury.
Fortunately, as it was after the morning rush hour, the footpaths were not crowded and the riders did not need to avoid pedestrians.
Later on, during the evening rush hour, when there was more traffic on the footpaths, some riders were still seen weaving in and out at speeds of about 25kmh.
To make matters worse, it was drizzling as well. Fortunately, there were no accidents.
Madam Melinda Tan, 67, a real estate agent who lives near Pasir Ris Drive 1, feels it is only a matter of time and wants these devices off the footpaths.
FOOTPATH MENACE? Some of the e-scooters and e-bikes The New Paper team spotted at Pasir Ris on Wednesday. TNP PHOTO: PHYLLICIA WANG
She disagrees with the new rules governing such devices that will come into effect by the end of the year.
The new rules allow bicycles and PMDs, such as e-scooters and hoverboards, on footpaths at a speed limit of 15kmh.
E-bikes, however, will not be allowed on footpaths.
She said: "Why can't these people take the bus? They could easily hit someone by accident on the pavement.
"Even if there's (third-party) insurance, it doesn't make a difference to the victim. They're already injured."
She also pointed out that it is difficult for pedestrians to dodge the PMDs, which can go quite fast.
However, Mr Joseph Tay, 72, a retiree who lives in the area, does not think that all e-scooters and e-bikes are dangerous.
He told TNP: "It depends on whether (the riders are) responsible or not. E-bikes can be quite useful for a lot of people, especially women with children or the elderly."
E-scooter user Chen Guang Yang, 28, who works at a manufacturing plant, said his e-scooter is a convenient mode of transport for him.
He told TNP in Mandarin: "It's much more convenient for me to travel to work with it."
But Mr Chen, who claimed he did not know that there will be a new speed limit later this year, admitted that he would sometimes travel at a speed of 25kmh.
Even if there's (third-party) insurance, it doesn't make a difference to the victim. They're already injured.
- Madam Melinda Tan, a Pasir Ris resident
MP: New rules on PMD usage won't be effective enough
MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC Zainal Sapari said that he does not think the new rules on the use of PMDs on footpaths are effective enough.
He told The New Paper: "Based on feedback from residents, PMDs (personal mobility devices) travel at speeds that can cause bodily harm and easily hit pedestrians.
"In the long term, we need to look into legislation to make PMDs covered by insurance. Education on the dos and don'ts of PMDs also needs to be more aggressive."
He added that in the upcoming Parliament sitting, he plans to ask whether the Transport Ministry will review its position on making it mandatory for PMD users of a certain age group to have insurance coverage.
He also plans to ask what recourse is there for victims if there is a serious or fatal injury in an accident involving the use of PMDs.
In Parliament in May, Mr Zainal had asked if the ministry would consider making it mandatory for safety helmets and insurance coverage to cover third-party claims.
Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan had replied then that the ministry would monitor the situation and keep an open mind on whether change is warranted in future.
Mr Denis Koh, a member of the Active Mobility Advisory Panel, said that the new enforcement helps to prevent reckless riders.
"It is important to understand that the personal mobility device did not cause the accident. Rather, it was a result of the actions of an irresponsible user," he said.
"There are many responsible users out there as well."
Mr Koh added that it is the rider's responsibility to slow down in crowded areas and to dismount and push the vehicle if needed.
"So even if you run, run responsibly. Otherwise, should we ban running?" he said.
Road safety expert Gerard Pereira, a manager at the Singapore Safety Driving Centre, thinks that more measures should be put in place.
He said: "There should be more 'stop and push' signs, especially around bus stops."
It is important to understand that the personal mobility device did not cause the accident. Rather, it was a result of the actions of an irresponsible user.
- Mr Denis Koh, a member of the Active Mobility Advisory Panel