The Active Mobility Advisory Panel (AMAP) has been instrumental in introducing cycling and PMD as a viable mode of transport for the public. For example, allowing the bicycle to be used on walkways helps many safe and slow cyclists to avoid the risk from cars, which is possible after AMAP’s first recommendation in 2016. For that, I’m truly grateful and proud of being part of it.
However, in the midst of pushing for Active Mobility, we had underestimated the stress and risks imposed on the pedestrians walking on the pavement.
This has led to a significant increase in the number of reported accidents involving PMDs and bicycles on public paths. From 19 accidents in 2015 to 250 in 2018! A number of them have resulted in serious injuries. – REVIEW OF ACTIVE MOBILITY REGULATIONS FOR SAFER PATH SHARING (2018-08-24)
For pedestrian’s safety, it is stated in the Code of Conduct (COC) that bicycle and PMD riders should slow down when they approach the pedestrian. However, some riders ignore the COC because it is just an advisory (optional) and they tend to focus only on the (mandatory) law (15 km/h) and Regulation (20kg/25km/700mm).
The law is often a clear reference when a layman judge what is right or wrong.
Some riders take it as their entitled “right” to go at “legal speed limit” and demand the pedestrians to give way as they ring the bell. In case of an accident, these riders blame the pedestrian for unexpected movement, leaving them “no time to react”. However, they never admit the risk was created by themselves because they did not slow down when approaching the pedestrians.
On reflection, it was not logical to allow a group of fast device riders on the footpaths, without demanding the riders to control their device to keep a safe distance from the public.
I was disappointed regarding the recent AMAP recommendations for walkways, which only suggested to lower the speed limit, but didn’t take the opportunity to address the issue of the legal requirement for responsible riding on the walkway.
Having said that, I must admit what AMAP has done is pioneering and groundbreaking. As far as I know, no other developed country has made it legal for adults to ride on the walkway. Most device riders really treat this as a special privileged and are giving priority to pedestrians who are more vulnerable. The issue is from a small percentage of less sensitive riders who are not aware of the threat they are imposing on the vulnerable pedestrians. Education alone is not able to reach all these riders. The law can be considered as part of public education effort.
It is understandable that such a radical measure which has never been tried before may take some time to get right.
More thoughts on 2018 AMAP recommendations:
- Lower the speed limit on the pavement from 15km/h to 10km/h
- Where are the laws to protect pedestrians of footpaths?
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