So you're walking to the MRT station as usual, when out of nowhere, some kid on an obviously illegal electric scooter rams into you, and you fall on the ground like a sack of potatoes.
Or maybe you're a PMD user yourself, and some EQ-challenged idiot bangs into you head-on, scattering you, your Dyu, and the contents of your GrabFood bag all over the pavement.
Apart from shaking your fist and screaming obscenities, what else can you do?
Well, unfortunately for Singaporeans bedeviled by irresponsible e-scooter riders, there's not a lot of infrastructure protecting us.
While it is against the law for e-scooter riders to speed / ride dangerously / do a hit & run, these crimes are hard to enforce.
LTA no budget to install speed cameras everywhere and hire saman aunties to catch errant riders, mah.
In the meantime, here's what a victim of an e-scooter accident can do:
1. IF NEEDED, CALL AN EMERGENCY HOTLINE
I have been rather flippant in the above paragraphs, but the fact is that e-scooter accidents can sometimes cause serious injuries.
If you or any other victims are in a life-threatening situation, then the first thing you should do is call 995 for an ambulance.
If the situation is not life-threatening, but someone needs immediate medical attention, call 1777 for a non-emergency ambulance or take a taxi to the nearest hospital's A&E.
Other helpful hotlines are: 6547 0000 for the traffic police, and 999 for the police.
2. TAKE COPIOUS PHOTOS + VIDEOS, INCLUDING THE PMD'S REGISTRATION NUMBER
If no one is seriously hurt, then skip Step 1 and whip out your phone or any other recording device. As with a car accident, it is important that no one moves so you can record the accident as closely as possible.
Take photos and videos of the scene and any victims involved, including signs of damage e.g. objects broken in the collision. Ensure that you take both wide and tight shots from a variety of angles, if possible
If you do not have anything that can record the scene as evidence, get a passerby to do so, or (if really no choice) at least commit the e-scooter's registration number to memory.
If the e-scooter rider has not left the scene, get as much footage and photos if you can of him / her and the device. Importantly, capture the registration number if you can.
Assuming the errant rider has not fled by now, obtain their particulars: Full name, NRIC, contact number, home address and insurer (if any).
These details will be useful if filing a police report or making a claim for compensation.
3. MAKE A POLICE REPORT ABOUT THE ACCIDENT
Under the new Active Mobility Act, certain uses of e-scooters are now officially illegal, so you may be perfectly within your rights to make a police report.
Common PMD-related offences that can be reported are:
- Riding e-scooters on roads*
- Riding e-bikes on footpaths*
- Dangerous riding of any sort
- Speeding (> 10 km/h) on footpaths
- Speeding (> 25 km/h) on shared paths e.g. PCN
- Riding unregistered / non-compliant PMDs
- Hit & run (not stopping to help accident victims)
*Note: Inverse rules apply to e-scooters and e-bikes. E-scooters are not allowed on roads while e-bikes are not allowed on footpaths.
It is appropriate to make a police report when it is a serious accident - i.e., the e-scooter has caused real injury and damage. That's because causing grievous hurt is a serious offence in the eyes of the law.
If you haven't already called 999 in such a scenario, you can lodge a police report online, all in the comfort of your home (or the hospital). Or you can go to any police post to do so.
You will need to submit all the details, photos and videos of the accident, including the e-scooter rider's particulars if you have them. It is also helpful to furnish a medical report of some sort (either the GP or hospital).
4. REPORT THE OFFENCE TO LTA ON MYTRANSPORT.SG
If the accident victims were largely unharmed, but you will not rest until the authorities clamp down on the reckless e-scooter rider terrorising your neighbourhood, then you should also report the incident to the LTA.
The easiest channel for reporting misuse of PMDs is through LTA's MyTransport.SG app, which has recently been updated with a "Report PMD / PAB Incident" tab.
To report an incident, you will need to upload photos, videos, or both. Then you need to fill in the form with details of the accident, such as the date, time, location and so on.
You should also include the PMD registration number if available.
However, this feature was launched only fairly recently and LTA is already inundated with errant PMD complaints - apparently, 270 reports were made in the first month alone!
5. COMPLAIN TO YOUR TOWN COUNCIL
Since LTA is not likely to take action until they clear their huge backlog of e-scooter reports, you can also turn to your Town Council for help.
The Town Council takes care of the common areas around HDB estates, so if there are repeat offenders around your neighbourhood, you can call in to complain.
As of August 2019, the 15 PAP Town Councils have officially banned e-scooter riding in common corridors, void decks, and other common areas such as lift lobbies and the concrete skirting underneath HDB blocks.
Riders must dismount their e-scooters and push them instead.
From 31 October 2019 onwards, Town Councils will start enforcing this ban by issuing warning letters and/or fines.
But you can report any irresponsible PMD use in your neighbourhood any time, really.
When I called in, the TC officer asked me to provide the specific location (e.g. lift lobby A at block 123) so they could increase their surveillance in that area.
It is not necessary to provide the particulars or registration number of the rider.
6. REQUEST COMPENSATION FROM THE E-SCOOTER RIDER
If you have incurred any kind of costs from the e-scooter accident, such as medical bills, home repair, or loss of income, you may try to claim compensation from the rider.
This is only possible if you know the rider's particulars.
You will need to send a Letter of Claim either to the rider or his/her insurer (if you know those details).
This document should be a succinct but complete report of all that transpired, so you should include ALL the evidence of the accident (photos, videos, police report) as well as proof of damages to you (medical reports, bills, proof of loss of income, your home repair bills, etc.).
If the rider is covered by e-scooter insurance, the insurer might be able to compensate you as the costs should be covered under the personal liability / third party damages clause.
If there is no reply after 14 days of the rider / insurer receiving your Letter of Claim, you may choose to pursue legal action. For more details of the procedure, SingaporeLegalAdvice has a very comprehensive how-to article.
7. REMEMBER TO CLAIM YOUR OWN INSURANCE
Finally, don't be so intent on hunting that mofo down that you forget to claim your own insurance benefits!
For healthcare costs, every Singaporean would be covered by MediShield Life, which offsets some of the costs of hospitalisation (but only of hospitalisation).
If you have opted for an integrated shield plan by a private insurer, you can get coverage for any follow-up treatments as well.
Separately, if you have bought personal accident insurance, you may be able to claim a payout if you have a partial disability, whether temporary or otherwise.
This is separate from claiming back your healthcare costs and is meant to cover your loss of income.
Finally, if you are covered in some other fashion for loss of income, you may be able to claim for any downtime that results from the accident.
For example, food delivery riders may be able to claim compensation for lost income due to accidental injury.
This article was first published in MoneySmart.