Lately the Land Transport Authority in Singapore has been tackling many complaints against one particular issue; not jaywalking, not car accidents and not traffic - but electric scooters.
Electric scooters have been trending for the last two to three years, and companies have made it easier and easier for the people of Singapore to rent and use one, wherever they might be on the island. Commuters are using them to get to work, and others simply hire them for a fun afternoon exploring the CBD. I remember my first electric scooter ride; it was a thrilling and exciting experience. Speeding around the Marina, I could feel the wind in my hair, the famous MBS hotel disappearing into the background as I whizzed away.
However, not all scooter experiences end so well. I was lucky to have arrived home safely. But others had not been. One particular accident I had heard about led me to thinking about how dangerous they can really be.
You see, it turns out being hit front-on by an electric scooter coming at the speed of around 20km/h can send you flying backwards into the air, unsurprisingly. Imagine how fatal that would be if it were a child or an elderly man that you hit?
There were 228 reported accidents in 2017 and 2018 from Personal Mobility Devices, which also include motorized vehicles such as hoverboards and electric unicycles.196 of these accidents were resulted in injuries, most of which were serious and involved loss of concussions and fractures. There have even been a few deaths because of electric scooters, one taking place less than a month ago.
Since the most common injuries that riders faced were head related, wearing helmets would significantly reduce the risk from electric scooter accidents. Another solution is to have a compulsory training course on safety guidelines. Some countries have even banned these vehicles due to the large amount of accidents and safety concerns.
Apart from the accidents occurring from electric scooters, there have also been 54 fires from faulty scooters short-circuiting in the first half of this year. It is now compulsory in Singapore to register your electric scooter under the UL2272 safety standard in order to detect faulty batteries and mechanical components. Singapore is also considering a total ban on personal mobility devices after analysing the negative impacts that they bring.
In my opinion, the best solution is to ban electric scooters in public areas. Furthermore dedicated areas should be set up, similar to a rollerblades ring which is only suitable for roller skating. This way, electric scooters could be used for leisure purposes only. Reducing the use of scooters as a mode of public transport would also reduce the number of opportunities for accidents.