First-time PMD rider who broke facial bones calls for mandatory helmet use
She and doctor call for mandatory use of helmets by PMD users
Her first time riding an e-scooter landed her in hospital with shattered facial bones that needed three implants, including one to prop up her right eyeball.
Ms Goh Sook Leng, 33, was flung off after braking suddenly, and crashed face-first onto a rock in the accident last Dec 20.
She told a press conference at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) yesterday that she rented an e-scooter at Clarke Quay after a friend suggested that they ride to East Coast Park.
The senior patient service associate added that when they were heading back, it started to rain in the Marina Barrage area.
"I tried to stop when the rain got heavier, and that's when I braked too hard and flew off," she said.
"My friend was out of sight at the time, but thankfully there were passers-by who helped to call for an ambulance."
She did not want to go to hospital at first as she felt it was a minor fall, but the passers-by insisted because she was bleeding from her mouth and nose.
She said: "When I got to the hospital, they did a scan and said I had multiple complicated fractures in my face. I also fractured a finger on my left hand."
TTSH revealed yesterday that it had recorded 213 accidents involving personal mobility devices (PMDs), with a total of 303 injuries, since 2017.
All but six of the cases involved riders and pillion riders.
TTSH figures show 41 per cent of the 303 injuries were in the head and neck area, while facial injuries made up 12 per cent.
Dr Teo Li Tserng, director of trauma services at TTSH, said the severity of injuries did not change whether the accident occurred on a road or pavement, but safety gear and rider behaviour might save lives.
IN PUBLIC SPACES
Of the 213 accidents, 152 were on roads and 46 in public spaces like parks and void decks.
"If you are not careful, regardless of what you hit, regardless of what you do, you are going to get relatively badly injured," Dr Teo said.
"If you cannot change the mode of transport, then we have to change rider behaviour and an individual's protective gear."
He suggested that businesses that use PMDs a lot should protect their employees.
"Now that we have this data that head and neck injuries are really the most common, maybe they might want to take ownership in providing personal safety equipment like helmets as part of a programme to protect their employees," he said.
TTSH's figures show that out of the 46 PMD riders who suffered relatively severe injuries, only seven had worn helmets.
Dr Teo said: "We need to educate riders. I hope we can focus on public education."
Ms Goh, who said she was not given any safety instructions or gear when she rented the e-scooter, also hopes to see safety gear being made mandatory for PMD riders.
"If I had been given a helmet, maybe my injuries would have been less severe," she said.
"I think it should be mandatory for all riders to wear protective gear for their own safety."
Her injuries required weeks of treatment, including the surgery to insert the implants. Even then, she still feels occasional discomfort in her face to this day.
"The doctors said I was very lucky that the fall did not injure my spine," she added.