The PMD drama and what it says about our society

Living up to our name as the ‘fine’ city, there are indeed fines just recently introduced to PMD riders and sellers who break the newly established Active Mobility Act which imposes both a speed and a weight limit. Breaking these rules could mean having to pay a fine of up to $1,000 or serving up to three months in jail, or both.

“Then might as well don’t buy?”

Undeniably, it does seem like it’s only a matter of time before the Ministry of Transport starts to introduce ERP gantries or make compulsory licenses for potential PMD users. And boy, does that ruin the whole idea of convenience that PMDs were initially introduced to provide.

However, their actions are not carried out without merit — these scooters have actually been quite a hazard both on the road and footpaths. On average, there are about three accidents a week involving PMD users.

The regular news coverage on PMDs has also incited a slew of comments on social media. Here are the different groups of netizens, their general profile, and what they have to say regarding this issue:

The Complain Kings and Queens: They have either been blocked or hit by PMDs before. They are mostly on the Transport Ministry’s side… but still complain about the Transport Ministry’s solutions because well, complaining is what they do best.

The “white sheep”: They are mostly PMD riders who are unhappy with the new Act, particularly the weight limit as they feel that light e-scooters are not as safe and sturdy as the ones that currently have (that will, of course, be impounded if caught). They blame the “black sheep” who, according to them, are the “young punks”.

The snide and sarcastic: They are just here to hate the government.

The (very rare) helpful netizens: They are the ones who truly value-add to the discussion. They provide opinions and propose solutions that the Transport Ministry could actually consider.


The last group of netizens also saw beyond the chatter of complaints and spiteful remarks and found the root of the problem: us.

This incident simply shows that we, as a society, cannot be trusted with good things because we make bad, selfish decisions with them that turn them into “bad things”.

The PMD was introduced to better our lives, yet we have made it a menace, forcing the government to intervene and introduce laws that force us to be gracious. What would it take for us to act like responsible citizens who know well enough to value the importance of “loving thy neighbour”?

This whole drama regarding the PMDs is merely an episode in a series of other problems that we have faced, such as the inconsiderate parking of shared bicycles, and will continue to face as more gadgets are introduced into our world.

However, the problem often does not lie with the law or the new gadgets that we use. The problem lies with us, individually and as a society, and our inability to be courteous and sensible.

Perhaps this is why we can’t have nice things — that is, until we learn to be gracious and responsible users of them.

by Rachel Lim