On Saturday (21 September), a 65-year-old woman was knocked down after her bicycle collided with an e-scooter, driven by a 20-year-old, in Bedok North Block 539 at about 10.30pm.
Madam Ong Bee Eng, a logistic assistant packer, was rushed to Changi General Hospital (CGH) in an ambulance after she fell unconscious due to the collision. She suffered a serious brain injury and fractures in her ribs and collar bones.
Madam Ong’s son, Ng Chin Khai, told The Straits Times (ST) that the doctors said to him that his mother “could be left in a vegetative state after her operation”. He added, “My mother has been cycling around the neighbourhood for more than 10 years. I was told that she was about to cross a zebra crossing when the e-scooter, which was travelling very fast, hit her.”
He also said that his mother is in a critical condition and went into a coma.
Unfortunately, Madam Ong’s condition took a turn for the worse on Monday (23 September). Doctors told her family to prepare for the worst as her blood pressure dropped in the morning.
“Doctors told us to ask whoever wanted to see her for the last time to come,” said Andy Ong, brother of the elderly woman. Speaking to ST, Mr Ong elaborated that his sister’s blood pressure has been low throughout the day and she is currently on life support.
In response to this tragedy, a Facebook user who goes by the name Sharon Lee posted in a Facebook group called Complaint Singapore condemning Workers’ Party (WP) for their lack of care about residents’ safety as they did not ban Personal Mobility Device (PMD) at their ward.
This is because since 1 September, 15 town councils under the People’s Action Party (PAP) had banned individuals from riding PMDs, bicycles or power-assisted bicycles (PABs) at void decks and common corridors, after the PAP town councils revised their common property and open spaces by-laws.
Since the ban is new, riders will be given a slight leeway as for the first two months – 1 September to 31 October – the town councils will not be strictly enforcing the ban. However, starting 1 November, fine up to S$5,000 may be imposed on those who break the law.
Under the Active Mobility Act, the PMDs, PABs and bicycles can still be used on public paths.
However, Aljunied-Houngang Town Council, which is run by WP, did not impose this ban. They explained that they have the “powers to deter PMDs from riding at common areas” but “enforcing these powers without evidence of an infraction is a challenge”, Mothership reported.
As such, Ms Lee said: “This incident speaks for itself, PMDs were already banned in all PAP managed ward but WP refused to follow suit, and now this happen in Aljunied GRC Kaki Bukit Division under WP, MP for that area is Muhd Faisal Bin Abdul Manap.”
She added, “So much about people supporting him, now this happens and WP still remain mum? If you think I am talking crap, go check out Blk 530 Bedok North Street 1, it’s indeed under WP.”
But the point here is that the accident involving Madam Ong happened at a zebra crossing and the PMD ban imposed by PAP town councils are at void decks and common corridors only. In fact, under the Active Mobility Act, these devices can still be used on public paths, which includes zebra crossings.
Upon reading Ms Lee’s remarks, many netizens slammed her for misleading the public as the accident did not happen at a void deck or common corridor. They reiterated that the incident happened at a zebra crossing and PAP town councils’ ban is irrelevant in Madam Ong’s case.
Others questioned her motive of blaming WP for an accident that happened merely due to the carelessness of the PMD rider. Some asked if she’s a supporter of PAP and she should blame “PAP government for not deploy(ing) enough enforcement officer”.
However, a few pointed out that she is “most LIKELY IB” as she only blames “WP when it doesn’t even involve” her. Robin Wong was quoted saying “Stupid Pappies IB opportunists to shoot blame arrows”.
In fact, a HardwareZone forum thread was created to highlight about Ms Lee’s comment and how she’s “PAP IB” who seeks to blame WP for the tragic accident involving Madam Ong and an e-scooter rider. Apart from saying that she’s an IB and the accident occurred at a place where PMDs are not banned, online users also noted that she is politicising the whole issue while the poor elderly woman is fighting for her life in the hospital.