'Code of conduct' for pedestrians not meant to be prescriptive, says active mobility advisory panel
SINGAPORE: The idea of a “Code of Conduct” for pedestrians was based on feedback gathered from focus group discussions, said Active Mobility Advisory Panel (AMAP) member Denis Koh.
It is not meant to be prescriptive, he told CNA.
“On shared paths, we just request for pedestrians to keep to the left so others may pass. Riders are also encouraged to slow down and make their presence known before passing any pedestrian,” said the chairman of PMD enthusiast group Big Wheel Scooters Singapore.
Where there are separate pedestrian and cycling paths, pedestrians should avoid walking on the cycling path, he added.
“Sharing of space will require all users to be empathetic to each other,” noted Mr Koh.
There are also codes of conduct for active mobility device users on footpaths and shared paths, noted transport consultant Gopinath Menon, another member of the panel.
"So it is also in the interests of all to have also a code of conduct for pedestrians on footpaths and shared paths," he said, adding such guidelines help enhance safety.
The code was among a list of recommendations AMAP submitted to the Government last Friday (Sep 27).
Read: Panel recommends e-scooter users be at least 16 years old, pass theory test before riding on public path
Formed in 2015, the 13-member AMAP – which is chaired by Senior Parliamentary Secretary Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim - proposes regulations on the safe use of bicycles and PMDs here in public places here.
The panel said the code of conduct is aimed at cultivating “gracious sharing behaviour on public paths” as well as ensuring pedestrian safety, noting the Highway Code also includes a section which guides pedestrians on matters such as how to cross roads safely.
The submission of the recommendations came shortly after the death of an elderly cyclist, 65-year-old Ong Bee Eng, following a collision with an e-scooter rider.
Associate Professor Faishal said at the time that the accident underscored the need to swiftly implement the panel's recommendations, as well as step up on education and enforcement efforts.
The introduction of the code has nevertheless raised some eyebrows.
In a Facebook post on Monday (Sep 30) local blogger Lee Kin Mun, better known as mrbrown, asked if the panel was telling pedestrians “how to walk”.
He suggested it should instead be made mandatory for pedestrians to be given clear right of way on footpaths, in a post which received more than 600 reactions and 300 shares.
Others questioned whether there was a need for such a code at all.
Business owner Teh Poh Chai, 53, said such a code would not help to defuse the conflict between pedestrians and PMD riders.
It might be more effective to introduce measures such as requiring PMD riders to dismount in areas such as near bus stops, and requiring all PMDs to have bells or horns to alert pedestrians, he added.
“It’s tough to really stick to one side of the pavement. You can’t have laws and rules for everything,” said PMD rider John Han.
The 40-year-old sales executive said many pavements here are too narrow, and suggested wider pathways would be more useful in protecting both pedestrians and PMD riders.
Mr Chew Boon Hur, general manager of PMD retailer Mobot, said it would not be easy to tell pedestrians not to use their phones while walking.
“I think it’s best that it remains as just a code of conduct,” he said.