Reckless e-scooter riders in Singapore spark concern

Reckless e-scooter riders in Singapore spark concern
Netizens have expressed outrage at these e-scooter riders, who were caught weaving from one lane to another.
PHOTO: Facebook/Jeff Ng

Two e-scooter riders weave from one lane to another and speed past cars stopping at a T-junction between Yishun Avenue 11 and Yishun Avenue 6.

One of them has a pillion rider sitting in front of him.

A third rider, who looks to be on a cycling path, barely flinches as he whizzes past a woman and a child, who jump out of his way to avoid getting hit.

In-car camera footage of these personal mobility device (PMD) users, which was posted on Facebook late Monday night, has since been viewed at least 60,000 times and shared more than 1,000 times.

Another driver who encountered these riders posted a separate video online.

Netizens have expressed outrage at the way the e-scooter riders disregarded their safety as well as that of others.

Both videos had time-stamps indicating the incident took place last Friday afternoon.

The New Paper showed the video clips to road safety experts, who said the riders had committed several offences.

"First and foremost, you are not supposed to be on the road. Secondly, they are travelling above the speed limit," said Mr Gerard Pereira, 61, a training manager at the Singapore Safety Driving Centre.

Under the Road Traffic Act, it is an offence to ride PMDs, including e-scooters, kick-scooters and hoverboards, on roads.

First-time offenders who ride PMDs on local and major roads will be fined $300 and $500 respectively, while those who ride on expressways will be charged in court. Repeat offenders face stiffer penalties.

If convicted in court for the first time, offenders face a fine of up to $2,000 and/or jail of up to three months, while those convicted for the second or subsequent time face a fine of up to $5,000, jail of up to six months, or both.

The Active Mobility Act, which kicked in on May 1, also stipulates speed limits of 15kmh on footpaths and 25kmh on cycling and shared paths, including park connectors.

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"On the pavement, they are supposed to be travelling slower than (in the video), and if they do see pedestrians, they are supposed to slow down," Mr Pereira told TNP. "It looks like these guys are being errant as well as arrogant."

Mr Denis Koh, the chairman of the largest PMD enthusiast group here, Big Wheel Scooters Singapore, also criticised the riders.

Mr Koh, 46, who sits on the Active Mobility Advisory Panel, said such actions were in the minority and did not represent the PMD community.

"Once again, we condemn these errant behaviours," he added.

Mr Pereira noted the riders did not wear safety headgear, posing a danger to themselves and fellow road users.

"Bigger vehicles can't see them, they are too small. And they are coming very fast, so by the time the driver realises, it is too late," he added.

To improve safety on roads and paths, a new Bill tabled in Parliament on Monday could give the authorities more teeth.

If passed, it could allow the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to outsource its enforcement actions against PMDs that do not comply with the Active Mobility Act, The Straits Times reported. It will also pave the way for a proposed registration regime for e-scooters to be implemented early next year.

For Mr Pereira and Mr Koh, education, rather than enforcement, is key.

Mr Pereira said: "Enforcement cannot be everywhere... So the only way is to educate."

Mr Koh agreed: "Education will always remain a priority, and enforcement as secondary measures."

Citing the Safe Riding Programme rolled out by LTA in February, he said such education efforts will take a while before the public sees change.

In the meantime, Mr Pereira advises motorists to slow down and take precautions when they encounter errant PMD riders.

He said: "As a motorist, if you hit the person... you have to live with it."

This article was first published in The New Paper. Permission required for reproduction.

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