Bedok PMD fatal accident (2019)

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Left: The late Madam Ong Bee Leng. Right: The PMD involved in the fatal accident. Photo collage from The Straits Times.

On 21 September 2019, Madam Ong Bee Eng, a 65-year-old logistics assistant packer for the courier company DHL[1] was involved in a collision with an e-scooter in Bedok North. Madam Ong passed away on 25 September 2019 from her injuries.

Details of incident

E-scooter collision

The accident site in Bedok North. Photo from Shin Min Daily News.

On the day of the incident, Madam Ong had visited her 88-year-old mother in Singapore General Hospital (SGH). After attending a wake later in the day, she had dinner at a coffee shop in Kaki Bukit before stopping at a supermarket to buy some green tea. She was involved in the accident while cycling home along a route she frequented.[2]


Madam Ong was about to cross a zebra crossing near Block 539 Bedok North Street 3 when she was hit by an e-scooter that was travelling at a high speed.[3] The e-scooter rider was a 20-year-old man.[4] The customers at a nearby coffee shop had heard a loud bang and saw both Madam Ong and the rider on the ground.


Mr Ng Chin Khai, Madam Ong’s son, shared that his mother had been cycling around the neighbourhood for more than 10 years. Andy Ong, Madam Ong's 53-year-old brother, mentioned that she has cycled in the area for almost 30 years and had never been involved in an accident before.[5]

Hospitalisation

The state of Madam Ong's bicycle after the accident. Photo from Shin Min Daily News.

Madam Ong was unconscious when she was taken to Changi General Hospital (CGH). She suffered a serious brain injury and had fractured her ribs and collarbone. She was subsequently admitted into CGH’s Surgical Intensive Care Unit.[6]


The e-scooter rider was conscious when he was taken to CGH and was subsequently arrested by the police for causing grievous hurt by a rash act.[7] After the family’s appeal for eyewitnesses, Mr Yang, a 53-year-old, told the Chinese newspaper Shin Min Daily News that the e-scooter appeared to be moving at more than 50km/hour.[8] Police officers were seen carrying a large e-scooter that was believed to be involved in the incident.[9]

Death

On 23 September 2019, Madam Ong’s blood pressure fell. Her blood pressure remained low throughout the next day and she was placed on life support. Madam Ong succumbed to her injuries on 25 September 2019 and passed away in CGH. [10] She is survived by two children and three grandchildren.[11]

Responses

Land Transport Authority (LTA)

The LTA revealed that the PMD involved in the accident was a non-compliant Personal Mobility Device (PMD). It exceeded the prescribed weight and width usage for use on public paths under the Active Mobility Act and should not have been used on a public path. In their official statement, the LTA asserted that it will not tolerate individuals who endanger public safety by showing a “flagrant disregard” for regulations.[12]

Bedok North residents

The accident site with the PMD pictured. Photo from Shin Min Daily News.

In light of Madam Ong’s incident, Bedok North residents said that they wanted a ban on PMDs as they saw PMDs as a safety hazard and felt unsafe in their neighbourhood.[13]


A straw poll conducted by The Straits Times on 150 residents showed that around 70% of them wanted PMDs banned or restricted to those with legitimate mobility issues. Meanwhile, around 80% of residents wanted the government to impose strict fines on those who ride recklessly or those who modify the devices to go at higher speeds. Some residents remarked that PMDs are “a public nuisance” and “an accident waiting to happen”.[14]


Additionally, The Straits Times reported that 50 PMDs rode by in about four hours, with the majority of them being food delivery men. Teenagers were also spotted racing one another on PMDs. Residents also mentioned seeing modified PMDs affixed with engines that allowed riders to reach higher speeds.[15]

Online petitions to ban PMDs

Following this incident, there was a resurgence of attention to petitions that wanted to limit the use of PMDs in Singapore. A petition on Change.org, set up months before the accident by Zachary Tan, saw more than 65,000 signatures after Madam Ong’s death. This number was triple of the total they had gotten before the fatality.[16]


Another months-old petition titled “Ban PMDs in Singapore. Keep our people safe!” also gained renewed interest. As of early October 2019, the campaign saw over 17,000 signatures.[17] There were petitions set up on other sites as well, such as one by Rodney Tan on ipetitions titled “It is time to ban e-scooter in Singapore”. This petition had more than 1,000 signatures as of early October 2019.[18]

References / Citations

  1. Wong, Pei Ting. “Devastated family of woman killed in PMD collision urges speedsters to 'know the consequences'”. Today. September 26, 2019. Accessed October 08, 2019. Retrieved from Today Online.
  2. Goh, Yan Han. “65-year-old cyclist in e-scooter accident on life support, family told to prepare for the worst”. The Straits Times.  September 23, 2019. Accessed October 08, 2019. Retrieved from The Straits Times.
  3. Menon, Malavika. “Cyclist, 65, in a coma after accident with e-scooter rider in Bedok North”. The Straits Times. September 22, 2019. Accessed October 08, 2019. Retrieved from The Straits Times.
  4. Menon, Malavika. “Cyclist, 65, in a coma after accident with e-scooter rider in Bedok North”. The Straits Times. September 22, 2019. Accessed October 08, 2019. Retrieved from The Straits Times.
  5. Goh, Yan Han. “65-year-old woman injured in Bedok e-scooter accident dies in hospital”. The Straits Times.  September 25, 2019. Accessed October 08, 2019. Retrieved from The Straits Times.
  6. Goh, Yan Han. “65-year-old cyclist in e-scooter accident on life support, family told to prepare for the worst”. The Straits Times. September 23, 2019. Accessed October 08, 2019. Retrieved from The Straits Times.
  7. Menon, Malavika. “Cyclist, 65, in a coma after accident with e-scooter rider in Bedok North”. The Straits Times. September 22, 2019. Accessed October 08, 2019. Retrieved from The Straits Times.
  8. Wong, Pei Ting. “Devastated family of woman killed in PMD collision urges speedsters to 'know the consequences'”. Today. September 26, 2019. Accessed October 08, 2019. Retrieved from Today Online.
  9. Menon, Malavika. “Cyclist, 65, in a coma after accident with e-scooter rider in Bedok North”. The Straits Times. September 22, 2019. Accessed October 08, 2019. Retrieved from The Straits Times.
  10. Goh, Yan Han. “65-year-old cyclist in e-scooter accident on life support, family told to prepare for the worst”. The Straits Times. September 23, 2019. Accessed October 08, 2019. Retrieved from The Straits Times.
  11. Wong, Pei Ting. “Devastated family of woman killed in PMD collision urges speedsters to 'know the consequences'”. Today. September 26, 2019. Accessed October 08, 2019. Retrieved from  Today Online.
  12. Teh, Cheryl and Toh Ting Wei. “E-scooter that knocked into cyclist in fatal Bedok accident should not have been used on public paths: LTA”. The Straits Times. September 26, 2019. Accessed October 08, 2019. Retrieved from The Straits Times.
  13. Teh, Cheryl. “Poll shows 70% of Bedok North residents want PMD use banned or restricted”. The Straits Times. September 27, 2019. Accessed October 08, 2019. Retrieved from The Straits Times.
  14. Teh, Cheryl. “Poll shows 70% of Bedok North residents want PMD use banned or restricted”. The Straits Times. September 27, 2019. Accessed October 08, 2019. Retrieved from The Straits Times.
  15. Teh, Cheryl. “Poll shows 70% of Bedok North residents want PMD use banned or restricted”. The Straits Times. September 27, 2019. Accessed October 08, 2019. Retrieved from The Straits Times.
  16. Tan, Zachary. “Banning of PMD / e-Bike in Singapore.” Change.org. Accessed October 08, 2019.
  17. Upset Singaporean. “Ban PMDs in Singapore. Keep Our People Safe!Change.org. Accessed October 8, 2019.
  18. Tan, Rodney. “It Is Time to Ban E-Scooter in Singapore.ipetition. Accessed October 8, 2019.