After taking the extreme measure of banning PMDs from footpaths — thus cutting legal travel distances to a fraction of their prior range as well as ruining the livelihood of several thousand food delivery gig workers who purchased their own PMDs — a wave of protest meetings with elected officials have caused Singapore’s leadership to reconsider how to accommodate PMDs.
Although a Theory Test sounds like a good idea, it’s the wrong metric. Knowing the rules doesn’t equate with a desire to adhere to them (look at car drivers!). The proper metric to measure is conscientiousness. And I can’t think of any way to do that. Conscientiousness matters because, as the video explains, the new rules would also apply to pedestrians, dictating that they “stay in their lane” on a footpath too. This is a mess that still won’t work. And it all stems from Singapore’s Original Road Sin: Not accommodating Alt-Wheels in the street. Electric motors do not belong among pedestrians.
Singapore’s goal of becoming a “car-lite nation” isn’t going to happen until street space is taken away from motor vehicles. In that respect, Singapore could learn something from the Dutch who have given over entire streets to pedal bicycles and made it difficult to drive a passenger car directly from point to point.
Here is the mess created by Singapore’s Original Road Sin:
Both are at fault. The PMD rider knows the streets are currently off-limits. But it’s clear from a second dashcam view that the driver was looking to teach the rider a lesson by crossing the dashed line to squeeze the PMD rider against the truck. But the overarching fault lies with Singapore’s leaders who won’t take street space away from cars.
Singapore’s leaders are asking the wrong question. They’re asking, “How do we best deal with PMDs?” They should be asking: “What is the best thing for everybody?”
The best thing is to let PMD riders have street space. Because that will advance the goal of being “car-lite.” Which is the best thing for everybody.