With freedom to roam our paths and roads comes with responsibilities.

 

It is a clear indication from the authorities that they are looking to cultivate good riding habits through the community.

In a bid to more effectively rein in errant cyclists and users of personal mobility devices (PMDs) such as e-scooters, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will give some volunteers under the Active Mobility Patrol scheme selected enforcement powers. This is in response to calls from the volunteers, numbering over 800 to date, for greater empowerment.

The proposed empowerment will come in the form of authorization cards which will be issued to a pilot batch of 25 volunteers –or Volunteer Public Path Wardens— allowing them to take down particulars of violators of active mobility rules. They will also be allowed to document the scene of incidence by taking photos and videos which will then be turned over to LTA for further action.

As enhanced powers require a strong sense of responsibility, there is a stringent selection process for volunteers seeking to make the step up. Since June, they have undergone training on the rules and code of conduct under the Active Mobility Act and their scope of powers. On top of that, they have received on-the-job training with LTA’s Active Mobility enforcement officers. These potential wardens will also be screened for eligibility from the current pool of volunteers, and they will have to be nominated by grassroots or other non-government organisations.

Once the Active Mobility Act that was passed in Parliament in January comes into effect, the enhanced powers will then be made official. Training of more wardens will be based on feedback from the pilot batch.

It is a clear indication from the authorities that they are looking to cultivate good riding habits through the community. LTA chief executive Ngien Hoon Ping stressed that the key asset that community volunteers possess is their familiarity with fellow residents.

As far as effectiveness of a community-based enforcement goes, I foresee it going both ends of the spectrum. In fact, if you haven’t noticed, it exists in the form of various cycling grounds around Singapore. Led by experienced cyclists who are well versed with proper cycling etiquette, they lead cycling packs and advise other members on how to act when they’re on the road.

Take West Coast Riders for instance, a group that I would normally ride with. As a relative newcomer, it is reassuring to see veterans step up and ensure that we are following the rules. There will also be regular reminders on our Facebook page that categorically list these rules; this has resulted in a fairly disciplined group that does its best to carry itself well. Although we have bonded over time, the same respect remains.

At the same time, the old adage of familiarity breeding contempt might just rear its ugly head, especially in a group of PMD users that may not be aware of the need to maintain good etiquette whilst riding on paths and roads, or the severity of the lack thereof. Couple that with the fact that the next volunteer you see might just be your next-door neighbour, and the possibility arises where he or she might not be taken as seriously as they should.

It is, however, not difficult to combat this issue – volunteers too, can adopt the same, no-nonsense stance taken up against veteran cyclists when it comes to enforcing discipline, clearly drawing the line between familiarity and leniency. Like cycling group leaders, they serve as the relatable middle ground between authorities and the public, and it is important that they do just that – avoid a hardline stance whilst remaining firm in their duties.

 

Read the original article regarding LTA’s move here.

” Will Singapore’s paths and roads be made safer now that LTA has empowered its volunteers with greater authority?