By Linette Heng
SINGAPORE — A spate of accidents has brought personal mobility device (PMD) safety under the spotlight. But as shared paths remain a reality, how can PMD users keep both themselves and other path users safe? Yahoo News Singapore puts together some top tips from PMD users, retailers, and the authorities.
Know your limits – but don’t match them: The speed limit for riding on footpaths is 10kmh, while on shared paths it is 25kmh – but these are maximum, not recommended speeds. Match your actual speed to actual road conditions. Slowing down ahead of a blindspot or if there is an obstacle blocking your view is a lot better than later proclaiming, “She came out of nowhere.”
Choose the right path: Under the Active Mobility Act, e-scooters and PMDs can be used only on footpaths and shared paths. Yet, more than 600 PMD users were caught on roads in 2018. While riding on roads may get you to your destination faster, it’s dangerous – to you and other road users – and you could be fined up to $2,000 and jailed for up to three months. Keep to footpaths and the clearly marked shared paths, which include cycling paths, and Park Connector Networks, and stay off roads and pedestrian-only paths.
Go with Plan B: Ringing your bell once before overtaking allows the pedestrians in front of you a chance to move to one side. But if they stubbornly stay in your path, trying to weave your way through would be both frustrating and unsafe. In this case, the better option would be to alight and push your PMD until you are clear of them. And always ride with caution when approaching pedestrians who may need more time to react, including the elderly, or small children, who can be unpredictable.
Light up: Lighting up when it is dark means that others on a shared path are aware of you, and can step to the side as you approach, pass or overtake them. Have a white light fitted in the front of your PMD, and red light in the rear, and angle them slightly towards the ground to avoid blinding those coming towards you.
Take responsibility: Check that your device is working properly and that your brakes and tyres are in good working condition. Also keep in mind the limitations of your device: e-scooters with solid rubber tyres and front wheel drive scooters are at high risk of slipping on wet surfaces. Dismount and push over slippery surfaces, wait out the rain, or simply fold up your device and take the train.
You can find the Land Transport Authority’s rules and code of conduct for PMDs here.