We refer to the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) decision to ban personal mobility devices (PMDs) from footpaths, which came into effect on November 5, 2019.
SG Climate Rally stands with groups adversely affected by the PMD ban, especially individuals reliant on PMD use for everyday mobility and workers whose livelihoods depend on access to e-scooters. Examples around the world have underscored how social justice and climate justice are intimately linked, and this issue is no different. Apart from setting Singapore back on our fight against social inequality, the ban on PMDs also removes a mode of electrified light transportation that is aligned with a transport system that moves towards net-zero carbon emissions.
In our Calls to Action, we asked the Singapore government to use its planning mechanisms for the just restructuring of our ways of life. One key pillar of such a just transition is to support low-emissions transport options, which involves accommodating electric vehicles such as PMDs. While we acknowledge that the government bore good intentions to address public safety concerns through the ban, we believe that there are ways to integrate PMDs into our transport ecosystem without compromising pedestrians’ safety. These include transforming a segment of existing car lanes for bicycle and PMD use, as other countries have successfully and safely done.
The incidents and backlash associated with errant PMD usage are less an indictment of the mode of transport than they are of the inadequacy of supporting public infrastructure. Compliant PMD users should not be unduly penalised for policy oversight. At the same time, such an oversight only reinforces the importance of participatory and consultative policymaking. In particular, special care must be taken to include the voices of affected communities not often heard.
We hope that the Singapore government will not only reconsider the ban on PMDs, but look towards designing a safe, low-carbon transport ecosystem that makes room for other forms of mobility. What Singapore needs from the government is a bold vision to create a transport system that discards the assumption that private automobiles will continue to hold privilege and importance in our society. Transforming Singapore’s transport system will only be possible through targeted investments in public transport and infrastructure. The LTA has already signalled an intent to move towards a car-lite society in its 2040 Land Transport Master Plan, but more must be done to serve the needs of diverse classes. A truly world-renowned transport system is one that reconciles ambitious climate action with a fairer and more inclusive economy.
SG Climate Rally