PAP parliamentarian Dr Lee Bee Wah took transport authorities to task in Parliament yesterday for their lack of foresight in pushing for a car-lite society without considering the limited infrastructure that is presently available to support other forms of transport.
Dr Lee was specifically speaking about the “new” personal mobility device (PMD) form of transport, which she said has created “a new set of problems” for Singapore due to the “lack of civic-mindedness” of PMD users and a “lack of strategic and forward planning” on the part of transport authorities.
The Nee Soon GRC MP asked if the authorities are being too hasty to push a car-lite culture stressing less reliance on petrol or diesel-fueled vehicles as she pointed out that a lack of foresight has caused the authorities to play catch-up when reckless PMD users endanger pedestrians.
Claiming that “many residents tell me it is no longer safe to walk in Singapore,” Dr Lee asserted: “It is the lack of strategic and forward planning on the part of transport authorities in allowing the owners of these personal mobility devices free reign to public pathways and pedestrian walkways.”
Dr Lee further criticised the Government for not considering public safety before allowing PMD users “free reign”:
“We should have thought of safety long before these 20 to 40kg missiles go crashing into innocent pedestrians. Now we are constantly playing catch-up though I would say it is better than turning a blind eye or a deaf ear to the public outcry against those who use their PMDs recklessly.”
After a recent spate of accidents involving PMD users, the Government passed amendments to the Active Mobility Act that will require PMD users to adhere to a 10km/hr speed limit on footpaths, from 2019. PMD users presently stick to a 15km/hr speed limit.
Under the Active Mobility Act, errant cyclists and personal mobility device (PMD) riders can face fines and jail time if caught. Those caught speeding may face a maximum $1000 fine and/or up to three months in jail.
Dr Lee, however, does not think that this measure is adequate. Calling on the Government to review the Act and consider passing more equitable laws that ensure the safety of pedestrians, Dr Lee slammed the amendments to the Act.
The ruling party politician said that the act “seems to favour cyclists and PMD users” and asserted that it is “near impossible” for cyclists and pedestrians to co-exist in areas with high foot traffic.