PMD users told: Be more safety-conscious

PMD users told: Be more safety-conscious
Members of the Active Mobility Enforcement Officers (AMEO) from Land Transport Authority (LTA) inspecting the motorised bicycles along a pavement on 5 October 2016. They were deployed at Yung Sheng Road to promote safe sharing of paths, as well as deter reckless behaviour on bicycles and personal mobility devices (PMD).
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Speeding and reckless bike riding. Illegal bike parking. Disputes among users of footpaths.

These make up some 200 complaints at the People's Action Party's 15 town councils every year, said Dr Teo Ho Pin.

The coordinating chairman of PAP Town Councils, who spoke during the Active Mobility Bill debate yesterday, said the complaints are related to the use of bicycles, e-bikes and personal mobility devices (PMDs).

With Parliament's passing of the Active Mobility Bill yesterday, more people will be using shared paths, and this will lead to more conflict among users, the MP for Bukit Panjang said.

The Bill introduces rules for the use of PMDs, e-bikes and personal mobility aids, as well as penalties for reckless behaviour.

These will come into effect later this year.

Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo told Parliament that active mobility - a key pillar of the Government's vision for transport - must be supported by a culture of graciousness.

There is still some way to go to reach a desirable level of civility, which is already a norm in cities with strong active mobility culture such as Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Tokyo, she said.

"More regularly than we would like, we hear feedback about recklessness by cyclists and PMD users.

"As it stands today, I'm afraid the burden lies more with cyclists and PMD users to demonstrate that the majority of them can be relied upon to be safety-conscious and responsible users of public paths.

"I'm glad that there is a growing fraternity within this group that is determined to do so."

REDUCE FRICTION

The Government's approach is to reduce the friction between different users of public paths.

She said: "We will continue to build more dedicated cycling paths where possible, and establish a set of rules and norms for cyclists and PMD users when sharing footpaths with pedestrians."

Mr Denis Koh, who sits on the Land Transport Authority's Active Mobility Advisory Panel, thinks it will take a few years before Singapore reaches this level of graciousness.

He told The New Paper: "Of course, there will be teething problems. But I think in time, society will learn to adjust itself because education efforts will always continue.

"It has never been about the enforcement, which is just a deterrent. You have to first plant the seeds before they can grow into trees," he said.

This is especially so for the PMD community, which has been cast in a bad light because of a few black sheep.

"You are looking at a community with easily more than 15,000 people right now. The black sheep is just a small ratio," said Mr Koh.

The chairman of e-scooter enthusiast community Big Wheel Scooters Singapore said the pending changes are a big step forward for the PMD community here.

"Embracing (the sharing of public paths) as a way of life, as well as social empathy, has to come in. Once you accept that it is here to stay, things will fall into place," he said.

fjieying@sph.com.sg

Read also: Over 700 caught cycling or riding recklessly since May
Stiff penalties to put brakes on reckless PMD, e-bike riders


This article was first published on Jan 11, 2017.
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