Banning of PMD / e-bike in Singapore
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On 13th Oct 2019, The Straits Times published an article "Will a PMD ban hurt food delivery firms?” You may view the article here: https://www.straitstimes.com/business/economy/will-a-pmd-ban-hurt-food-delivery-firms
With the statistics allaying fears that a ban on PMD will hurt the livelihood of food deliverymen and their companies, I have sent a follow up email to PM Lee Hsien Loong, Dr Lam Pin Min and Dr Janil Puthucheary (see screenshot).
You may read the full content of the email here:
"Dear PM Lee Hsien Loong, Dr Lam Pin Min & Dr Janil Puthucheary,
Following up on my earlier email regarding a ban on PMDs, I would like to add an 8th point to the list of reasons on why a PMD ban should be re-considered:
8) On 13th October, The Straits Times published an article “Will a PMD ban hurt food delivery firms?”. In the article, it is reported that “Food delivery firms told The Sunday Times that PMDs make up a minority of their fleets, with some saying they do not foresee a significant impact on business. Others have stopped taking on new PMD riders after recent regulatory changes”. The Straits Times went further to state that “Food delivery firm Deliveroo said riders using PMDs and power-assisted bicycles make up 5 per cent of its overall fleet of 6,000 here”.
You may view the article here: https://www.straitstimes.com/business/economy/will-a-pmd-ban-hurt-food-delivery-firms
Thus, food delivery companies have spoken for themselves that majority of food deliverymen do not use PMDs anyway. As such, the statistics here should alleviate any concerns that a ban on e-scooters will adversely affect the livelihood of many people and cause an increase in unemployment. This supports the 1st point in my previous email that “the misuse of PMDs…is prevalent and seems to outnumber the usage for delivery or mobility purposes”.
Sir, before I end this email. I would like to pose a question for your consideration and hope that you could offer your opinions. One common argument against a ban is that risks are inevitable anyway, where achieving 0 incident is impossible. However, such a statement should be applicable only if every single person in the society benefits from PMD. For example, all Singaporeans, including me, benefit from national security. Hence, it is inevitable that I bear the risk of NS training. On the other hand, PMDs only benefit a portion of the population. Does it then make sense for every single members of the public, from the population’s majority, to bear the risk for something which they have not benefited from?
Zachary Tan (on behalf of more than 69,770 concerned members of the public)"
Thank you all for your support thus far and for doing our very best to keep our loved ones safe as much as possible.
It has also come to my attention that once people are signing this petition, change.org is asking people to 'chip in' money. Please be aware that this money is used by change.org to promote the petition to reach more people but I was previously unaware of this and have not asked anyone to donate money. I'm simply asking you to sign your name and if you want to help reach more people then just please share this petition on your social media or share it with all your contacts without clicking on "Chip in". Thank you.
Letter to PM Lee, Mr Shanmugam & Dr Lam (26 Sep 19):
"Dear PM Lee Hsien Loong, Mr K Shanmugam, Dr Lam Pin Min,
I am writing this email with the collective sentiment of more than 35,000 concerned members of the public to call for a ban on PMDs. You may view the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/all-singaporeans-banning-of-pmd-e-bike-in-singapore
Following Dr Lam's recent ministerial statement, we would like to respectfully seek your reconsideration of a complete ban on PMDs, especially after a recent accident victim, Madam Ong Bee Eng, lost her life.
The following are the reasons why majority of Singaporeans still see a need for a ban:
1) PMDs are not only used for livelihood and mobility. It is also widely used by thrill seekers, who are not physically disadvantaged in any way, for the purpose of speeding. Leisure speeding cannot be considered a form of necessity. Most have experienced and observed that the misuse of PMDs in this aspect is prevalent and seems to outnumber the usage for delivery or mobility purposes.
2) A recent case of fatality still happened anyway and there were many errant PMD use in the face of additional regulations, thus showing that rules can be easily disregarded.
3) It is difficult for cameras and enforcement officers to be ubiquitous. Most riders cannot be trusted to maintain their self-discipline in the absence of surveillance. Even if accident-causing riders have been identified and caught, it would have been too late as the injury is already inflicted.
4) Riding a PMD does not require a traffic license. Hence, the absence of knowledge of standard traffic rules and etiquette poses a danger especially when a rider over-zealously emulates the speed of motor vehicles both on the road and on pavements.
5) Currently, pavements and walkways are no different from roads. The concept of a safe space has thus been taken away from pedestrians who should not have an obligation to constantly check for traffic on a non-vehicle path. This imposes a psychological burden on the emotional well-being of pedestrians.
6) To mitigate point 5), we understand that $50 million has been set aside for the building of infrastructure to create a safe space for pedestrians. However, such a massive project will require a lead time of a few years for the construction to be completed. During this lead time, there is no guarantee of pedestrians’ safety and we cannot be sure how many more will be injured or killed by the time the infrastructure is ready.
7) It has been argued that the outright ban of PMDs would cause inconvenience to those whose livelihood depends on it. However, victims of PMD collisions would be subjected to a greater predicament through their hospitalization, disability, pain or death. It is hard to think of a scenario where depriving riders of their PMD will land them in such a similar intensity of distress. Thus, it might be difficult to justify prioritizing the convenience and rights of PMD riders over pedestrian safety.
Therefore, I would like to put forth a few suggestions that might increase the feasibility of implementing the ban:
1) The Early Disposal Scheme for non-UL2272 devices could be extended for all PMDs regardless of their specifications. This is where all PMD owners shall be required by the law to surrender their devices in exchange for the current amount of $100. Such a nationwide campaign would be expensive and be a strain on our reserves. To offset the monetary cost incurred, surrendered PMDs could be scrapped and the recyclable materials be sold to recycling plants or overseas.
2) Food deliverymen could continue their work through the use of bicycles. Bicycles travel at a safer, yet reasonable speed and their mechanism generates more audible sound that can warn pedestrians of their approach. One of the main arguments for PMDs is its eco-friendliness, of which the bicycle fits the bill to a greater extent, given its independence of electricity.
In comparison to PMDs, bicycles promote cardiovascular activity which will improve the health of food deliverymen. To negate the psychological strain caused by fatigue on the job, the Health Promotion Board could collaborate with the food delivery companies to embark on a campaign similar to the National Steps Challenge, where an accumulated number of pedals could lead to rewards.
3) However, some deliverymen might face physical limitations when using a bicycle, thus making it hard for them to cope with a PMD ban. WSG could create job referral programs specially tailored to assist ex-deliverymen in securing alternative jobs. The amount of SkillsFuture credit should also be increased for them to acquire new skills to transition to another job.
With regards to the irresponsible PMD riders who have already inflicted injuries upon their victims, it is hoped that the perpetrators could be held legally and financially accountable to the quality of life that the victim had before the accident. Thus, an injured and unemployed victim should be entitled to a monthly compensation equivalent to his or her last drawn salary for as long as the disability lasts. This is in addition to the hospital fees which should be fully shouldered by the perpetrators, since the medical expenses and loss of income were wrongfully imposed on the victims.
The sheer number of people who supported the petition for the ban on PMDs, as well as the recent death, are testament to the fact that the PMD problems faced by the common people are still serious and have not been sufficiently resolved through regulations. Therefore, we hope that the points mentioned will be taken into serious consideration and the prospects of a ban will be thoroughly re-examined in Parliament.
Zachary Tan (On behalf of more than 35,000 concerned members of the public)"
Petition to Singaporeans:
E-scooters / e-bikes have been a menace on the streets of Singapore lately. We have lost count of the number of lives ruined by irresponsible riders. Brain damage, permanent physical disability, death... the list goes on for the types of penalties endured by innocent people whose crime is that they appear at the wrong place, and at the wrong time.
In the latest incident, the victim of a PMD-induced accident, Madam Ong Bee Eng, was killed after being knocked down by an irresponsible 20 year-old rider.
This isn't the first time such an accident occurred. In previous incidents, a man suffered brain injury after being knocked down by an e-bike rider.
A child was also injured along Orchard Road by an irresponsible e-scooter rider:
Now, do you know what's the scary thing? No one knows who will be the next victim. You could be next. Your precious parents who cared for you and watched you grow up could be next. Getting married next week and looking forward to a blissful life with your loved one? Nah, dream on! How dare you forget that your beloved fiance needs to pay the price of someone's irresponsibility by staying in bed as a disabled patient for the rest of his/her life? Your marriage should take a back seat to the rights of PMD riders.
You might say that not all PMD owners are irresponsible people and hence it would be unfair to impose a blanket ban. Well, not all gun owners are trigger happy murderers, but guns are banned here. Not all people who consume chewing gum are habitual vandals, but that has been banned too. Not all Watain concert goers are Satanic bigots, but that was banned as well. Not all alcohol drinkers will start a riot after 10.30pm, yet the sale of alcohol is prohibited after that timing. Could LTA thus apply the same thought process when banning e-scooters and e-bikes?
Right now, we can't even walk on any pavement without fearing for our lives. It should not be our responsibility to look out for vehicles when we are walking on pavements or walkways (see how ridiculous it sounds?) We want back the times when we could feel safe after crossing the road when we have already done our due diligence to check the traffic. Our kids should play and feel safe in places that are not accessible to vehicles.
Fellow Singaporeans, enough is enough. It's time to do something to prevent more tragedy from happening.
But then, if you do not care about the safety and welfare of your loved ones, I beg you to ignore this petition.
The solution is simple. LTA should ban the ownership of e-scooters/e-bikes and completely halt the import of such devices. A law should be passed to make the mere possession of e-scooters / e-bikes a punishable crime.
How about those who have already purchased a PMD? I am drawing inspirations from New Zealand's recent firearms buy back scheme, where assault rifle owners surrender their weapons in exchange for cash. Similarly, LTA could initiate a compulsory buy back campaign, not just for Non-UL2272 devices, but for all devices where e-scooter/e-bike owners are required by law to surrender their devices in exchange for monetary compensation. I understand many of you will be concerned that such a campaign is expensive and will take a toll on our taxpayers' reserves, channeling away funds that could have been used for better purposes to improve the lives of Singaporeans. For this, I would like to propose that the surrendered PMDs be scrapped and the recyclable materials be sold to recycling plants or overseas to offset the monetary cost incurred.
Speed limit or age limit do not work. Reason is because it still gives people a chance to break the law by secretly riding as an underaged person or illegally speeding when no law enforcement officers are present.
Sure, some of you might argue about how a ban will affect the livelihood of food deliverymen. Perhaps GrabFood, Food Panda and Deliveroo could simply carry out their deliveries through the sole use of bicycles. Bicycles travel at a safer, yet reasonable speed and their mechanism generates more audible sound that can warn pedestrians of their approach. One of the main arguments for PMDs is its eco-friendliness, of which the bicycle fits the bill to a greater extent, given its independence of electricity. In comparison to PMDs, bicycles also promote cardiovascular activity which will improve the health of food deliverymen. To negate the psychological strain caused by fatigue on the job, the Health Promotion Board could collaborate with the food delivery companies to embark on a campaign similar to the National Steps Challenge, where an accumulated number of pedals lead to rewards.
Irresponsible riders caught so far should also be held financially accountable to the quality of life that the victim had before the accident. Would it be possible for the injured victim to be entitled to a monthly compensation equivalent to his or her salary even when unemployed, for as long as the disability lasts? Any form of luxury that the victim could have potentially afforded should be provided by the perpetrator as well. This should be on top of the hospital fees fully shouldered by the culprit.
Sufficient pressure, however, needs to be exerted on the relevant authorities for these solutions to be realized and be followed up with appropriate measures. This, I cannot accomplish alone for I am but just one of the million average Singaporeans, with no influence as an individual. This, is when I would like to seek every single one of your help, to come together as one united voice to make the recent and unfortunate incident which took a life, the very last e-scooter related accident.
Thank you for your patience in reading this petition. I hope I did not take up too much of your time. But ultimately, the choice is yours to make a stand. I cannot decide for you whether you love your family members enough to support a change that will enhance their safety out in the streets.
I started this petition because…
Personally, I myself have had a number of experiences when I narrowly escaped serious injury not because the riders were alert and swerved away from me in time, but because I turned my head at the right moment and managed to avoid them.
Those experiences made me realize how easy it was to lose my life even when I'm walking on the pavement built for pedestrians and when I'm supposed to feel safe. As such, I have been rather cautious everyday and have been consciously checking the pavements while walking on them, which I feel is a psychological burden wrongfully imposed on me by e-scooter and e-bike riders.
Perhaps my paranoia will save me. But my loved ones and friends might not be that lucky. Hence, I fear that one day I'll lose them to such accidents. I hope things will change if the law could be amended to make possession of e-scooters and e-bikes illegal. I do not want to wait till either myself or my loved ones to suffer any mishap before any actions are taken.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ― Edmund Burke
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