Should PMDs finally be banned?

Personal mobility devices or PMDs are a boon for many like food delivery riders and the disabled. But they have increasingly become a bane for many pedestrians as everybody jostles for limited space on footpaths.

After all, PMDs are banned from roads and for good reason. They are allowed only on footpaths and shared pathways, such as cycling paths and park-connector networks.

The problem of errant PMD riders has been going on for a while. There are so many stories of near misses on social media. Even with rules like speed limits of 10km/h, errant riders still continue to plague the footpaths, almost like rats and mosquitoes.

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Partly it’s a problem of enforcement because these officers cannot be present everywhere all the time right? Only last weekend, 80 enforcement officers impounded 10 PMDs for flouting rules.

So is it finally time to ban these machines of terror once and for all? Other countries have already banned them  – Germany this month banned e-scooters from pavements and France will follow suit in September.

Personally, I think totally banning PMDs is a draconian measure. PMDs do have many benefits IF and only if riders use PMDs in a responsible manner. Should responsible riders suffer for the sins of a few idiots? No right?

The solution in my view is a stricter licensing regime similar to motorcycles. Riders must be of a minimum age, say 18 years old, to ride a PMD. The rider must obtain a licence by going for a compulsory safe-riding course. PMDs must have licence plates so errant riding can be easily traced to the rider. Machiam like another class of driving / riding licence on its own.

If the rider gets into an accident with a pedestrian, the licence will be revoked and the rider will be banned from riding a PMD for a period of time, depending on how serious the offence was.

The authorities have taken a largely hands-off approach to regulating PMD riders. Now is the time to put the squeeze on PMD riders gao gao, so that they know there will be consequences if they choose to ride recklessly.

We have to do this soon before more pedestrians get hurt and near misses become collisions. And for goodness sake, please ban PMDs from void decks lah! The numerous blind spots there are just accidents waiting to happen, no matter how slow you ride.