Speech by Mr. Kwek Hian Chuan Henry (Nee Soon GRC)
Debate on Active Mobility Bill (No. 40/2016)
1. Alternative modes of transport such as mobility scooters, motorised wheelchairs, PABs, and PMAs benefit Singapore:
a. They help reduce our carbon footprint, and shift Singapore towards a car-lite society.
b. They also empower many Singaporeans to go about their chores and carry out their jobs.
c. They also connect us better with nature.
2. While we want to encourage the use of such devices, more structure has to be in place for their usage. I would like to make 3 suggestions:
3. First. We can put in place more infrastructure for mobility devices.
a. LTA aims to transform all HDB estates into cycling towns by 2030. However, funding limitations prevent more shared paths beyond the key roads. Could MOF provide LTA with more funding, especially for HDB towns that have higher traffic density?
b. In private estates with many seniors, public paths need to be adapted to the usage of Personal Mobility Aids and Power Assisted Bicycles. This will help our seniors reach out to key amenities. I hope LTA allocate a small dedicated budget for such purposes.
i. In my constituency, Kebun Baru, there is a landed precinct called Teachers’ Estate. Many retired teachers and residents are giving up their cars as they grow older. Yet they have difficulty accessing key amenities, especially given the hilly terrain that they live in. They will be deeply appreciative if LTA can adapt footpaths to overcome the hilly terrain, and perhaps create one or two small rain-shelters on their way to key amenities.
4. Second. We can do more to raise awareness in the community. Mobility devices such as PABs, e-Scooters are a fairly new concept in Singapore, and it is necessary for the public to understand how to use the devices to their benefit and not endanger themselves nor pedestrians.
5. To achieve this, we can:
a. Include the Active Mobility framework in driver’s education.
b. Work with the Road Safety Council, and cover this topic during excursions to our Road Safety Park for the younger riders
c. Advertise in cinemas, and
d. Engage in emerging social media platforms such as Mothership or SGAG.
6. Third. We must ensure affordable devices are available while we push for stronger safety standards.
a. For example, LTA recently tightened the device standards to exclude PABs with throttles, so as to improve public safety. But for period of time, it was difficult to find affordable alternatives that fit the tighten standards.
b. I urge LTA to prioritise identifying and approving affordable PABs and PMA that meets our device criteria, so that they can quickly benefit our people and our seniors. It would also be good if LTA can publish the entire approved list of devices online.
7. Finally, we want to encourage users for mobility devices as we move towards being a car-lite society, but certain penalties include a fine and/ or imprisonment which appears very serious. Can LTA elaborate on the circumstances that will usually entail a jail sentence?
8. In conclusion, the Active Mobility Bill will benefit riders and pedestrians. To allow us to tap on the bill’s full potential, we will need to create more infrastructure, raise awareness, and ensure safe but affordable options.
9. I stand in support of the Bill. Thank you.