E-scooter rider dices with death by overtaking bus

The three-lane Mandai Road is usually occupied by buses, cars and heavy vehicles.

It is no place for a small but powerful electric scooter (e-scooter) - which is not allowed on the roads anyway.

But an e-scooter rider not only blatantly ignored the rule by riding on Mandai Road in heavy morning traffic, he also, at one point, flirted with injury, perhaps even death, by cutting out into the middle lane to overtake a bus.

Photo: STOMP

His bold, and foolhardy, act was captured by the camera phone of the front passenger in a car travelling behind the e-scooter at around 8am on Thursday.

The rider, who was carrying a backpack and wearing a helmet and gloves, initially travelled on the left-most lane of the road. The road has a speed limit of 70kmh.

At one point, the camera panned to the speedometer of the car, which shows it was travelling at just under 70kmh. The driver pointed to the speedometer and said, "Power," referring to the e-scooter ahead.


As the e-scooter gained on the SMRT bus service 171, one of them commented: "Let's see how he overtakes the bus."

As if on cue, the rider sped up to overtake the bus. When he was alongside the bus, a taxi could be seen travelling behind him in the middle lane.

All it would take for tragedy to strike would be for the bus to veer slightly to its right, or for the rider to slip and fall.

Fortunately, this did not happen, and as the rider cut in front of the bus to return to the edge of the road, someone in the car laughed and exclaimed: "Steady, lah!"

Photo: STOMP

The video, which was posted on citizen journalism website Stomp on Thursday, has gone viral, with more than 80,000 views.

It was fiercely debated on Big Wheel Scooters Singapore (BWSS), a community of e-scooter enthusiasts who were upset and concerned that the rider was giving them a bad name.

A BWSS member wrote: "These sort of idiots get no sympathy from me if/when they get mauled by other vehicles."

BWSS chairman Denis Koh told The New Paper yesterday that "black sheep" such as the e-scooter rider in the video must be punished.

He said: "I strongly believe that education plays an important role, but stern action must be dished out swiftly in order to cultivate proper etiquette and to preserve safety for users and other stakeholders sharing the path."

Mr Koh, who is also a member of the Active Mobility Advisory Panel, added that the BWSS Facebook page, which has more than 10,000 members, will now forbid any post related to speeding or illegal modifications to make e-scooters go faster. (See report at right.)

It was announced in Parliament in March that personal mobility devices (PMD) such as e-scooters will be allowed on footpaths, cycling paths and shared paths, but not roads, at the end of the year.

E-scooters are allowed to travel below 15kmh on footpaths and below 25kmh on bicycle or shared paths.

These guidelines were reiterated by the police and Land Transport Authority (LTA) when The Straits Times sought more information on Thursday's incident.

TNP understands that current legislation, if strictly interpreted, forbids the use of PMDs on any LTA roads, pavements or park connectors, and allows them to be ridden only on private premises.


The authorities have largely adopted a soft-touch approach on this, though some e-scooter riders have said they were fined for riding on park connectors or footpaths.

The Mandai Road rider's reckless behaviour comes less than a week after a 53-year-old woman was hit by an e-scooter on a footpath and is now on life support in hospital. (See report at far right.)

The accident sparked calls, particularly from pedestrians, for e-scooters to be banned on footpaths.

Mr Alex Chua, 29, a trade finance operation executive who has been commuting to work daily on his e-scooter, said he was berated by a pedestrian yesterday.

He said: "I can understand why they are angry about us riding on the pavement due to many reckless riders. We sometimes use the pavement as pedestrians, too, so we understand their worry."

Mr Chua, who owns the same model of e-scooter used by the reckless rider on Mandai Road, added: "Not all riders are disciplined like me.

"It all depends on the rider's obligation to the safety of others. Even a kick scooter can kill someone."


This article was first published on September 24, 2016.
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