Regulate E-Scooter/PMD Use, Don't Ban It!
Regulate E-Scooter/PMD Use, Don't Ban It!
Why this petition matters
WHAT IS HAPPENING NOW
News sources just reported that "The use of electric scooters on all footpaths will be banned from Tuesday (Nov 5) and riders may only use them on cycling paths and park connector networks. Such devices will continue to be banned from roads as well." While this is just for E-Scooters now, by early 2020, the ban will extend to other PMDs as well.
This comes on the back of reported incidents involving deaths, injuries and fires. We do not take such incidents lightly and abhor the lack of riding etiquette on part of these errant riders. We also do not seek to make light the hurt, pain or loss of any parties involved. Instead, we are apologetic and want to find a solution that would prove to be fair and equal to ALL Singaporeans - young or old, rich or poor - regardless of race, language or religion.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT
1) PMDs/E-Scooters are a means to a livelihood for some Singaporeans.
There are companies and businesses built on the sale and/or servicing of the PMD/E-Scooter. Such a sudden ban would have an adverse impact on their businesses and affect the employment of people under said companies/businesses.
In addition to this, it is also a means to an end for some Singaporeans. Whilst food delivery companies have purported that PMD/E-scooter riders only make up about 30% of their delivery fleet, do not the lives of this 30% matter? We cannot cite that not all/majority of Singaporeans use PMDs/E-scooters, thus we do not need to think about their lives or well-being. The minority matters too. That is the one of the pillars our Singapore society is built upon. Every single person matters. A delivery person who uses the E-Scooter and relies on the delivery job as his main source of income would earn on average $2,200-$2,300 a month. With this ban, he would probably have to surrender his E-Scooter to LTA, getting back only $100, despite having spent $400-$1500 on the E-Scooter and necessary accessories like a handphone holder. He would then need to make adjustments to either resort to walking to make deliveries and/or buying a bicycle to continue his job. Indeed, when there is a will, there is a way. But just for a second, place yourself in his shoes. Does his life not matter?
2) PMDs/E-Scooters are a cheaper and faster mode of transport for those who cannot afford otherwise.
A new car costs, on average, $80,000 and up and a motorbike can range from $15,000 and up, inclusive of COE. PMDs/E-scooter can cost as low as $400 per unit. With LTA-imposed speed limits, the PMD/E-scooter is arguably a faster mode of transport in comparison to cycling, walking or taking the bus over short distances. It provides the user with convenience too, being able to step out of home and hop on, to get to where you need to go - be it rain or shine (i.e. intensely hot and humid weather) and whether to head to the office, the MRT station or just to grab a meal at the coffeeshop nearby.
3) What seems to be working in other countries, may not apply here.
Our small island-country is not vast like that of Peru or Germany, where PMDs have been banned on pavements and footpaths and such a ban would not hinder ease of mobility as much, due to longer commute distances which avails public modes of transport as more convenient options. Cars and motorbikes are also not as expensive in France, where PMDs have been banned entirely. Instead, our heartlands and city has been planned to provide convenience and centrality. Footpaths are inescapable on one's chosen commute route.
With this ban, are PMD/E-Scooter Users only suppose to use their device to go for 'rides in the park'? Are they also to walk their devices to said cycling paths and get off when they hit a footpath? It is not practical and defeats the purpose of owning a PMD/E-Scooter - as a more convenient and cheaper mode of transport.
4) Cyclists in Singapore pose a bigger problem/threat, but has not been punished as harshly.
The number of accidents involving bicycles is debatably higher than that involving PMDs/E-Scooters.
According to this report, "The number of cases (of accidents involving bicycles that resulted in injury or death) fell 16% to 498, from 596 cases in 2017. There were 614 cases in 2016." In comparison, as reported here: "The number of accidents involving PMDs has gone up with the increase in users. There were 228 reported accidents involving PMDs on public paths in 2017 and last year (2018), with 196 resulting in injuries."
Bicycles have not been banned on footpaths or roads. Why are PMDs/E-Scooter punished so harshly? This is not fair.
OUR PROPOSED SOLUTION
1) A Temporary Ban till Proper Rules & Regulations are in place
We would like to propose that the government provide a proposed timeline to review the use of E-Scooters/PMDs on footpaths. We agree that a ban is necessary at the moment to halt potential accidents and injuries from happening and to allay public fears. However, a total and permanent ban of E-Scooters and other PMDs on footpaths, granted leeway is going to be given till Jan and early 2020, respectively, is still not fair nor reasonable.
2) Rules and Regulations to be imposed on PMD/E-scooter users
a) Compulsory Purchase of E-Scooter Insurance:
Although this has not been mandated for cyclists, due to the speed at which PMDs/E-Scooters can go at and to ensure that in the case of accidents, there is a proper system and means of compensation, all users should buy E-Scooter insurance. At the moment, these are the options on the market:
-AA Personal Mobility Plus
-AXA Personal Mobility Protect
-Etiqa eProtect Personal Mobility
-NTUC Income Personal Mobility Guard
This also adds a layer of responsibility on the user to be more vigilant and to be more mindful of his/her riding etiquette on footpaths and common areas.
b) Mandatory Theory and/or Practical Tests
Regulation on PMDs/E-Scooter has been said to be difficult to be difficult to enforce. As such, we propose that we move further up the line and for the government to put in place mandatory tests to ensure the suitability, education and skill of riders before granting him/her a licence.
c) Age Limit of 13 or 15 years old
We propose that only those aged 13 or 15 and above be allowed to ride PMDs/E-Scooters. This is to ensure that riders are capable of thinking and behaving responsibly. We have proposed this age as it is also the age at which one is allowed to find work/employment under Singapore's Employment Act.
d) Public Education on Proper PMD/E-Scooter Use
At the advent of increase in accidents/offences involving cyclists, the government saw fit to educate the public about proper cycling etiquette. This report indicates: "Singapore Road Safety Council Chairman Bernard Tay said road safety talks the council conducted together with the Traffic Police have helped as well. "We have conducted many talks in schools and for foreign workers on how to ride safely," he said."
As such, we propose that the same be done for PMDs/E-Scooters. We ask that the Singapore Road Safety Council and Traffic Police also be on board to consult on how to educate the public on PMDs just like they have done and are doing for Bicycles.
With our proposed solution, this would provide the E-Scooter/PMD user more options and ways to utilise the unit/device they currently own, instead of rendering it almost useless for the purpose for which it was bought.