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.
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.
But while recognising that the safety of pedestrians is of topmost consideration and the need to curb irresponsible PMD users, it is also problematic to issue a blanket ban on the use of such vehicles on footpaths as this affects the livelihood of many who are responsible users.
Alternative solutions can be explored:
- 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.
There are alternative ways to deal with the problem. Banning PMD use outright is the easy and lazy way out. It breaks the rice-bowls of many of our fellow citizens who depend on PMDs for their livelihood but who are responsible users.
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.