by Oliever Tan
Dear ministers and respective ministries:
Not a day goes by without me experiencing a near-hit with an errant e-vehicle rider on a footpath or open pedestrian plaza. It just happened again this morning – an e-scooter blazing at maximum speed missed me by an arm's length while I stepped out of a store.
There was only a second's warning from hearing the e-scooter's engine before it closed in to near-collision. I am a big-sized, athletic man, and I fear for my safety whenever I share space with e-vehicle readers. I have to look left and right whenever I step onto any footpath or void deck space, lest an inconsiderate rider rams me as I step out of their blind spots. This is more tenuous than crossing the road.
Can you imagine when it feels like for the many segments of more vulnerable pedestrians?
The respective ministries have been negligent in allowing such e-vehicles on the same spaces as pedestrians. Instead of anticipating the problems, you took a reactive, wait-and-see approach to regulating e-vehicles. It was a disaster waiting to happen – and it has, in the form of collisions, injuries, and that recent hit-and-run death outside Queensway Shopping Centre. How can people be allowed to own and use e-vehicles, when many lack knowledge of navigating fast vehicles or basic traffic rules? These are teenagers, or people who have never operated faster vehicles than bicycles.
Singapore has never been designed for e-vehicles or even cyclists. We do not have dedicated paths for them. They belong neither on pedestrian paths, nor on roads. The argument that they are a sustainable method of transport is cockeyed. E-vehicle riders are NOT people who have switched over from motor vehicles; they are pedestrians who have 'upgraded' to use e-vehicles. There is no overall reduction in emissions, only an increase in pedestrian hazards.
The relevant ministries must ban or impose harsh regulations on such e-vehicles, before there are even more disasters, injuries, and deaths.