Singapore—The call for PMD riders to be required to use helmets was made at a media briefing at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) on Monday, October 21.
A study carried out by TTSH has shown that the number of incidents related to PMD use has risen considerably, and with some very serious consequences.
There have been 213 PMD riders who were taken to TTSH for these kinds of incidents in the 33-month period between January 2017 and September 2019.
Six of these incidents resulted in fatalities.
In 2017, there were only 47 incidents of PMD-related injuries, while in 2018 there were 87.
However, for this year, there are already 79 such incidents, which Dr Sunder, an associate consultant for trauma services at TTSH, shows a 68 percent interest from two years ago.
Worryingly, the majority of the injuries sustained from PMD-related incidents are head and neck injuries, with forty-one percent of the incidents. Twenty-six percent of the patients suffered from external injuries such as abrasions and lacerations. Twelve percent have resulted in facial injuries, while nine percent of patients had chest injuries, eight percent injured their extremities in sprains, dislocations or amputations and four percent suffered from abdominal injuries.
According to Dr Sunder, “Head injuries are worrying – the potential disability can be quite severe, the recovery can be very prolonged.”
Also speaking at the press conference was Goh Sook Leng, who broke bones in her face when she used a PMD for the first time in December 2018.
It had begun to rain when she and a friend took a ride in an e-scooter from Clarke Quay to East Coast. As she was returning the rented PMD, the rain got heavier, and as she applied the brakes on the e-scooter, the PMD stopped suddenly and sent her flying face-first into some rocks, causing extensive facial bleeding and swelling.
Ms Goh said at the press conference that she suffered multiple fractures on the right of her face, and eventually needed three surgeries to insert implants in her face.”When I got to the hospital, they did a scan and said I had multiple complicated fractures in my face. I also fractured a finger on my left hand.”
It took weeks of treatment for Ms Goh to recover from the accident, and she sometimes still feels discomfort in her face.
She added that she had not been given a safety briefing when she rented the device, and neither was she provided with safety gear, which would have prevented the kind of injuries she suffered.
Ms Goh believes that safety gear should become a requirement for PMD users.
“If I had been given a helmet, maybe my injuries would have been less severe.
I think it should be mandatory for all riders to wear protective gear for their own safety.
The doctors said I was very lucky that the fall did not injure my spine.”
The director of trauma services at TTSH, echoed her call for mandatory helmets for PMD users, saying that lives may be saved by safety gear and proper rider behaviour, The New Paper (TNP) reports. Whether the accidents occur on a pavement or road does not change the outcome as much, he added.
“If you are not careful, regardless of what you hit, regardless of what you do, you are going to get relatively badly injured.
If you cannot change the mode of transport, then we have to change rider behaviour and an individual’s protective gear.”
He added that companies that use PMDs for their employees need to make sure their workers are safe.
“Now that we have this data that head and neck injuries are really the most common, maybe they might want to take ownership in providing personal safety equipment like helmets as part of a programme to protect their employees.”
Data from TTSH revealed that from the 46 PMD riders who had sustained severe injuries, there were only seven who had used helmets.
“We need to educate riders. I hope we can focus on public education,” Dr Teo said./ TISG