Singapore Democratic Party offers alternative solutions to the recent e-scooters ban on footpaths

From Tuesday (5 November) onwards, electric scooters were banned on footpaths in Singapore, and this has caused much unhappiness among PMD riders, especially those who depend on the devices for their livelihoods, like food delivery workers.

As such, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) offered a number of alternative solutions to this problem, and this was written in the party’s website as well as shared by SDP’s chief Chee Soon Juan on his Facebook page.

“The ban on personal mobile devices or PMDs have caused much unhappiness among its users especially those who depend on such devices for a living, for example, food deliverers,” SDP stated.

It added, “This is a difficult situation because of accidents caused by PMD riders on footpaths in the past that have resulted in injuries and even death. The dangers of PMD use on footpaths must not be taken lightly.”

Although SDP acknowledges that the safety of pedestrians is the top priority and irresponsible PMD riders should be punished, the party also asserted that imposing a complete ban of such vehicles on footpaths is “problematic”, as it “affects the livelihood” of other responsible users.

As such, the party listed down 8 solutions that can be explored, instead of just banning PMDs on footpaths.

  • Restrict PMD use to those who depend on them for a living eg. food deliverers; exclude recreational users except in parks.
  • Set an age limit.
  • Register users and regulate usage eg. areas of operation, routes they take, time of operation, etc.
  • Require registered users to attend a course on rules and regulations on PMD use.
  • Ensure that vehicles are equipped with safety equipment such as proximity alarm devices.
  • Set speed limits, lower them during peak hours when human traffic is high and school zones. ‘Speed strips’ to prevent speeding could also be constructed on footpaths.
  • Ensure that users dismount from their PMDs and push their devices at busy intersections such as MRT entrances/exits.
  • In the longer term, set aside bike/PMD lanes like bus lanes. The use of PMDs and bicycles on footpaths can then be phased out.

The party added that there are definitely alternative ways to deal with the problem, and outright banning of PMDs is the “easy and lazy way out”.

“If we put our heads together, we can arrive at a safe and acceptable solution where responsible users can operate their vehicles without compromising the safety of pedestrians.”

The ban of PMDs on footpaths kicked in one day after Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min announced it in Parliament on Monday (4 November).

Dr Lam said on Monday that it was a “difficult decision” to prohibit e-scooters from being used on footpaths, but “it is a necessary step for pedestrians to feel safe again on public paths, while still allowing e-scooters to grow in tandem with cycling path infrastructure”.

Although e-scooters are banned from being used on roads and footpaths in the Republic, but it will still be allowed on cycling paths and Park Connector Networks (PCNs).

Those found guilty of the crime can be fined up to S$2,000 and jail time of up to three months once the ban is strictly enforced from 2020.

From now till 31 December 2019, there will be an advisory period where offenders will be given warnings, in order to give time for e-scooter riders to adjust to the changes.

“From 1 January 2020, a zero-tolerance approach will be taken and those caught riding an e-scooter on footpaths will face regulatory action. Offenders are liable for fines up to S$2,000 and/or face imprisonment of up to 3 months, if convicted,” LTA warned.

However, bicycles and Personal Mobility Aids (PMAs) like motorised wheelchairs will not be subjected to the footpaths ban, and will also be allowed on all cycling paths and PCNs.