E-Scooters has a few nicknames now: “the one that knocks down innocent babies”, “the firestarter” and, my personal favourite, “the-one-who-should-not-exist”.
But that’s not all there is to e-scooters.
They are also known as “the bringer of food” and “earth’s saviour”.
You can say that Singaporeans have a love-hate relationship with these lovely jackasses. Or, as Facebook would put it, it’s complicated.
But where does the e-scooter come from? Who came up with this brilliantly moronic idea? And how has it evolved?
Here are 10 facts about e-scooters, the devices we’re lovin’ and hatin’ at the same time.
1. Your Great-Grandpa Could’ve Been Riding E-Scooters
If you’re thinking that the e-scooter is an idea that was thought up after the year 2000, you’re in for a rude awakening.
Because believe it or not, if e-scooter was a person, he’ll be 104 years old this year.
That’s right, 104 years old. Your great-grandfather could’ve been riding this in his youth if he was in the US.
Back in 1915, the Autoped, the “first mass-produced motorized scooter ride in the U.S” appeared on the streets.
But that’s not the most interesting part.
2. You Needed A Driver’s License To Ride This
Remember the huge debate in Singapore about how riders must have some form of license or registration to ride e-scooters?
This isn’t anything new.
According to Smithsonian, a person who was riding his motorised scooter was pulled over by a patrolman (policeman) and summoned to traffic court.
The reason? He was operating the device without a driver’s license.
And during that time, there were not much safety regulations for motorised vehicles on the roads.
Maybe this could be the way to ensure riders ride responsibly. #FoodForThought
3. Female Power
Now, if you’re a feminist who truly fights for gender equality, you’re going to be psyched to hear this:
The Autoped actually helped to promote “a level of freedom and movement” to ladies.
“Look out for the Autoped girl.”
Remember, it’s normal now but back then, women’s rights were non-existent.
Okay, enough about history.
Let’s move on to e-scooters in Singapore.
4. E-Scooters Are Dangerous
Not just to innocent pedestrians on the roads, but their owners as well. The number of fires started by e-scooters in Singapore is increasing:
In 2018, there were 74 cases of reported fire incidents that were caused by PMDs, up 51% from 49 cases in 2017.
And this year in 2019, news of fires from PMDs kept popping up on the news:
- Another PMD Fire Occurred in CCK Just a Day After New PMD Rules Were Announced
- Boy Charged PMD At Void Deck Because Family Cannot Afford Electricity & It Caught Fire
- Yet Another PMD Catching Fire While Charging, This Time Sending An Elderly To Hospital
- Another Fire Caused By E-scooter In AMK, 60 People Evacuated
So if you own an e-scooter, just know that it’s as dangerous as your NS friend patting your grenade pouch. With a live grenade in it.
5. Charging Your E-Scooter Without Appearing On The News
So, we’ve established that charging your e-scooter is like playing around with a live grenade.
Here’s how you can charge your device without it becoming a one-time use purchase:
- Use a certified e-scooter
- Don’t be kiasu and overcharge it
- Make sure you use a legit charger
- Don’t charge it near flammable objects
- Make sure heat can dissipate from the device when charging (even floor, cold room, don’t cover with fabric, etc)
- Inspect your batteries for bulges, leakage or any other weird stuff
- Let your e-scooter rest for a while after riding before you charge
You can read more about it here.
In case you missed it, UL2272 was supposed to come into effect on 2021.
But, in light (see what I did there?) of the recent PMD fires, the government has seen fit to bring it forward by a year.
So what is UL2272?
Basically, PMDs (including e-scooters) that are certified UL2272 ensures that the charging of the device is cut off automatically once the battery is fully charged.
Instead of 2021, users now only have until 1 July 2020 to ensure that their devices are UL2272-compliant.
And, not just that, owners of UL2272 devices will have to send in their devices for inspections regularly.
Why are we not making e-scooter riders go for a license again? It’s just like another vehicle now, except it’s on paths that normal people walk.
7. E-Scooter Statistics in S’pore
E-scooters are a menace. No two words about it.
They zoom by you blasting ah beng music. Or worse, they zoom into you, causing fractures, falls, bruises or death.
In 2017 and 2018, there were up to 228 accidents reported.
And out of the 228 cases, 196 of them involved injuries.
1 involved a fatality while 32 other cases involve major injuries.
8. Banned At Selected HDB Estates’ Void Decks & Common Corridors
If you happen to be living in areas overseen by PAP town councils, know that PMD riders are not allowed to ride their devices at void decks and common corridors come 1 September 2019. And by the end of this year, there would be 200 enforcement officers on the ground, so don’t pray pray.
9. And It Could Be Extended To Town Centres
A three-month trial of pedestrian-only zones (POZs) will be launched within the town centres in Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Bukit Batok and Khatib, and at a neighbourhood centre in Tampines.
If it works, they will be implemented in other town centres.
10. Crackdown On Reckless E-Scooters
Always having trouble with stupid e-scooter riders zooming around without care? Then you’re going to cheer at this.
The government is cracking down on reckless e-scooter riders after it’s proven that their new regulations weren’t really working.
LTA will be installing mobile CCTVs to catch that ah beng zooming past a 3-year-old girl with his dong-sss-dong-sss blasting at volume 99.
These cameras will, in the future, catch the speed, registration number and facial recognition of the offender.
Plus, if you happen to see an e-scooter rider anyhowly ride, you have the power to report him or her to LTA too.
Obviously, LTA is hoping for this to have the “STOMP” effect, where riders are now more paranoid because anyone on the street might be reporting them to the authorities.
“Right now, there are 700,000 users of the MyTransport.sg app. That’s an extra 700,000 eyes on the streets. Booyah.”
If you’re an e-scooter rider, know this: in order to continue enjoying the ease and convenience of travelling around with an e-scooter, you got to do your part.
Either you and other people who ride e-scooters clean up your act or the government is going to crack down even more.
After all, we all know how Singapore operates, right?
It doesn’t matter if the bad eggs are a small minority. The entire e-scooter community is going to go down together.
One for all, all for one.
– @myhandsumplatoonsergeant, 2019.
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