TO BAN OR NOT TO BAN, THAT IS THE QUESTION

Written by Terence Tan

Ban Is Not Necessary (For Now)

Senior Minister of State for Transport Dr Janil Puthucheary recently warned that while a ban on the use of Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs) may not be immediately necessary, a ban may very well be enacted if the behaviour of riders do not improve. He believes that most users are responsible, and that the public should not have a knee-jerk reaction from a minority of inconsiderate riders. He also assured the public that the ministry will create safe footpaths.

His comments came shortly after an elderly woman died in a collision with a PMD scooter in Bedok, leading to the arrest of the 20-year-old suspect. The accident also triggered a sudden surge in sigees for an online petition against PMDs set up six months ago. The petition has since garnered nearly 69,000 signatures.

 

Onus On The Users

Other than the Bedok accident, there have been several instances of riders flaunting rules and regulations, such as one rider injuring a 3-year-old after riding at a HDB corridor, and another landing a housewife in a coma.

Even so, some have argued that it would be unfair for those who follow the rules. In fact, a group of PMD users came to the aid of a car driver after an accident occurred in Ang Mo Kio last week. And with bus and train fares expected to rise to 7% at the end of December, PMD advocates may have more to lose.

 

A Part to Play

In the wake of these tragic occurrences, a handful of retailers have taken steps to deter future errant users. For instance, many have pledged to stop selling PMDs to those under 16, unless they are accompanied by an adult. They also promised to not modify or enhance PMDs in a way that would risk the safety of other road users.

Besides retailers, riders should adhere to the rules and pedestrians can alert authorities to irresponsible users. These measures could help regain public trust and avoid the case that a ban on the use of PMD would be enforced.

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