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The New Paper reports Madam Ang Liu Kiow, a 53-year-old housewife, met with an accident involving a 17-year-old on an electric scooter last Saturday 17th September.
She was still awake after the accident but lost consciousness in the ambulance while being taken to Changi General Hospital (CGH), where she underwent two operations on her brain. She is still in critical condition.
The circumstances surrounding the accident, which happened around 10am on a pavement in Pasir Ris Drive 1, remain unclear.
According to the news article the e-scooterist was arrested yesterday. The police have classified the case as a rash act causing grievous wounds and are investigating.
Recent reports indicate that many youngsters ride e-scooters, bikes and skates, some of them at fast speeds, in the area.
Interviewed lawyers said that it might be difficult to get compensation in accidents involving personal mobility devices (PMDs), such as e-scooters, e-skates and hoverboards.
Based on current rules PMDs are not allowed on pavements, roads and park connectors, only on private premises.
This is set to change by year end when new rules kick in.
“We need to look into legislation to make it compulsory for riders of personal mobility devices to have third-party insurance,” said a Member of Parliament for Pasir Ris-Punggol Zainal Sapari who was shocked to learn of the accident.
“Despite our best efforts at education, there are still users who do not adhere to guidelines that have been prescribed.” he continued.
He will be alerting Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is the MP for that area, and they will be reaching out to the family to provide assistance.
“I hope this incident will trigger the relevant authority to review its position with regard to making third-party insurance mandatory.” he said and that “enforcement must also continue to ensure the safety of pedestrians.” He added.
But any new measure may come too late for Madam Ang and her family.
Mr Wilson Leong, Madam Ang’s son, said: “I cannot describe the feeling in words. My father has been crying often and hasn’t been eating since the accident.”
“The doctor told us my mother has had multiple strokes in the brain due to a lack of oxygen. We have to decide whether to take (her) off life support and see if she comes to,” he said.
“But when the time comes, if needed, we want to let her go peacefully. We can’t bear to see her suffer any more.”
The victim or the victim’s family must take up a civil suit against the alleged culprit in order to receive compensation.
Criminal lawyer Ravinderpal Singh of Kalco Law said the penalty for this offence is a jail term of up to four years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
Lawyer Raphael Louis of Ray Louis Law said it could be hard for Madam Ang’s family to seek compensation because “e-scooters are usually not insured, unlike cars”.
He added: “Even if the person responsible is prosecuted, the compensation paid will be minimal. The criminal aspect doesn’t help the victim much in terms of compensation.”
But if the defendant has no assets, it may not be useful to sue, because it will be difficult to get payment even if the suit is successful.
There are new rules and a code of conduct for the safe use of footpaths, cycling paths and shared paths, which will come into effect by the end of the year.
Road safety expert Gerard Pereira, a manager at Singapore Safety Driving Centre, felt that the 15kmh speed limit for personal mobility devices, which include e-scooters, on footpaths is still too fast for the elderly to react in time,
He felt more measures need to be put in place.
“Especially around bus stops, there should be more ‘Stop and push’ signs,” he said.
“When the equipment is sold, there should be some form of rules to follow. Riders should also have to undergo training and know how to handle the vehicle in order to get it.”