The 322 Violations Of Active Mobility Act Show That Safety Needs To Be Enhanced
On Friday (Aug 24), members of the Active Mobility Advisory Panel released their recommendations for further regulation of personal mobility devices (PMDs). Their 5 proposals were for:
- Speed limits for PMD riders be restricted to 10kmh, down from the current 15kmh.
- PMD riders be mandated to wear helmets on roads.
- PMD riders to “stop and look out for oncoming traffic” at road crossings.
- Make it easier for victims of accidents to seek compensation.
The proposals were devised after a large-scale public survey. But if you ask us, they don’t go far enough.
The proposals are the latest effort to regulate the fast-growing “active mobility” sector, which comprises PMDs, bicycles and e-bikes.
On 1 May, the Active Mobility Act came into effect, spelling out where these devices can be used and how fast they can go.
In a nutshell, the Act stipulates that:
- E-bikes are not allowed on footpaths
- E-scooters are not allowed on roads
322 users of personal mobility devices (PMD) have been caught for various offences since the Active Mobility Act came into force.
Even though it’s just been a month since the Act came into effect, we believe it’s time for a review.
That’s because of the spate accidents involving e-scooters in recent weeks.
There aren’t official statistics yet but based on headlines, it appears that there’s an increasing number.
Why e-scooter accidents are no child’s play
An e-scooter travelling at 15km/h can hit you with 9 times the force of an average person’s punch.
Such a blow easily exceeds the punch of a professional boxer, and can send a person flying through the air.
And when you land you could face “very serious head injuries such as loss of consciousness, skull fracture, haemorrhage, tissue damage”, says one Nanyang Technological University professor.
A look at 5 recent cases involving e-scooters will show us why we need tighter regulation around the use of e-scooters in Singapore.
1. Beauty queen and PMD advocate
Madam Cassandra Ho, crowned Mrs Elite Singapore Asean 2016, was knocked down by an e-scooter on Tuesday (5 Jun).
The 49-year-old lost consciousness when the e-scooter crashed into her while she was on a footpath near Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. She was left with a 3cm long cut at the back of her head, a bruise on her face and a swollen right cheek.
Mdm Ho needed to be hospitalised for a couple of days.
It was a strange twist of fate for the former beauty queen, who volunteers with the active mobility patrol (AMP) team, which promotes safe riding habits among e-scooter users.
Commenting on the incident, Mdm Ho said,
It is ironic. I never expected to be hurt by an e-scooter especially when I am always telling riders to follow the speed limit and respect pedestrian safety.
2. Ang Mo Kio hit-and-run
In April, an e-scooter rider hit an elderly woman as the senior exited from the lift at her HDB block.
The impact sent both Mrs Lee and the rider sprawling on the floor.
Mrs Lee suffered cuts and bruises to her nose, knee, elbow and rib area.
She tried to hold on to the rider but he managed to get away.
Her daughter documented the story on Facebook, revealing that the rider was eventually identified.
3. Part of skull removed
45-year-old Ms Goh Lay Yong immediately lost consciousness when an e-scooter hit her along Bedok Reservoir Road in March.
She only came to when she was in the ambulance.
Ms Goh was sent to the intensive care unit at Changi General Hospital.
She had part of her skull removed, and an artificial skull fitted because of the accident.
The perpetrator absconded after calling for an ambulance.
Nevertheless, police have arrested a suspect.
4. Eat watermelons only
An 11-year-old girl hit along Pasir Ris Drive 1 “cried when she saw her face in the mirror” in April this year.
She had multiple cuts and bruises on her head, right eye, palm, elbows and knees.
The girl also lost 2 teeth and bled from the mouth.
Her doctor needed to realign her jaw and gum.
As a result of her swollen gums, she could not “eat anything except a few pieces of watermelon” for at least a day.
Following the accident, the girl’s father called for stricter regulations for Personal Mobility Devices:
5. E-scooter rider hit by car
In an ironic twist of fortunes, e-scooter riders also get injured.
When a car collided into the 26-year-old rider, he had to be sent to the hospital.
He had multiple cuts on his forehead.
The windscreen of the car was badly damaged, which shows the force of the impact.
Compulsory courses for e-scooter users?
Regulations to stop the unsafe use of e-scooters certainly help to reduce the danger on the road.
For instance, an e-scooter weighing 92kg was recently impounded by the Land Transport Authority.
Just imagine the force with which such a heavy object could hit a person.
Beyond regulation though, e-scooter users should also be more aware of the consequences of hitting others and the ways they can avoid accidents.
Since e-scooters have the capacity to cause significant damage, why shouldn’t users have to go through courses and get certification, just like drivers of cars and motorcycles?
Through these courses, e-scooter users can become more aware of safety, such as the braking distance of an e-scooter whizzing at a certain speed.
What do you think?