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Why are Singaporeans feeling less and less safe on roads?

Over the past year, advanced technological devices and services, such as personal mobility devices (PMDs) and bike-hailing, have continued to change the look of our roads in the Lion City. What was originally meant to reduce over-reliance on automobiles may now be creating new problems altogether. According to the AXA Mobility Survey 2018, one in every two drivers felt less safe driving in Singapore than they did three years ago, despite a decline in the number of accidents. Clearly there are myriad of contributing factors behind this phenomenon and today Kwiksure Singapore will take a closer look at the possible reasons behind.

Facts vs feelings: Roads are getting more dangerous

Singapore police statistics have shown dwindling number of traffic accidents from 2015 to 2017, which includes a 20 percent decrease in fatal accidents and 4 percent drop in accidents resulting in injuries. This figure explains why 81% of drivers surveyed think that Singapore’s roads are “quite safe” / ”very safe”, which is a significant increase compared to 65% in 2015.

Nevertheless, at the same time, more and more drivers and non-drivers seem to share the feeling that Singapore’s roads have become less safe. A majority of respondents attributed this perception to an increase in aggressive driving behaviors, a growing number of non-drivers (cyclists and PMD users, for example) road users, and more private-hire vehicles on the road.

Risky behavior on Singaporean roads was identified in both drivers and other road users. For example, one in four drivers admitted to going through an amber light (29%) in the last three months whilst the most common bad habit of pedestrians was jaywalking. If you’re interested, we‘ve written previously on common driving offenses and their penalties in Singapore, and about the issue of distracted driving.

The fear of congested sidewalks

The introduction of motorized PMDs, such as e-scooters, is one government initiative to pursue a car-lite society in the state city. Nevertheless, up to 56% of respondents have concerns even though they think it is a good idea. Despite most respondents acknowledging that PMDs and bike hailing can make commuting easier, and improve health and well-being, they also mentioned being worried about the potential risks associated with an increase in their number; such as more dangerous and congested sidewalks, and an increased chance of road accidents.

That said, there are also concerns about a lack of safety awareness and knowledge of traffic rules among bike riders. 21% of respondents to the mobility survey admit to being completely unfamiliar with government regulations regarding bicycles, and 56% say they are unaware of the need to keep left of vehicles. With the prevalence of “scan-and-go” bike-sharing services, more commuters may ride a bike without understanding the existing rules on road and sidewalks.

In order to further regulate e-scooters and act against errant riders, the government sought suggestions from an advisory panel, who put forward the following recommendations; the speed limit for cyclists and PMD users of footpaths to be lowered from 15 km/h to 10 km/h, registration of all devices will become compulsory, and riders will have to wear helmets. The government accepted these recommendations and the new regulations will start to take effect in early 2019.

Elderly pedestrians and motorcyclists the most vulnerable

The Mid-Year Traffic Situation Report 2018 by the Singapore Police Force shows that traffic accidents involving elderly pedestrians and motorcyclists remain key concerns.

For motorcyclists, the number of fatal accidents involving motorcyclists has increased by 12.5% in the first half of 2018 when compared with the same period last year. The Singapore Road Safety Council has committed to public awareness campaigns, such as the Singapore Ride Safe, to encourage safer riding habits amongst motorcyclists.

As for elders, close to 40% of all accidents involving elderly pedestrians were attributed to jaywalking in the first half of 2018. Some elders jaywalk because they are less alert, or because it is simply too exhausting for them to walk the extra distance. For cases where elderly pedestrians were not at fault, reckless driving (54%) was perceived to be a majority cause.  

When asked about what the government could do to create a more elder-friendly environment in the community, most interviewees said they support setting up silver zones in the form of senior-friendly road-safety features and road crossings designed for elders.

Well-rounded financial protection for evolving needs

With the ever-evolving mobility landscape and technology advancement, new forms of insurance such as PMD insurance are starting to emerge as well. No matter whether you are an ordinary road user or an electric scooter rider, chances are you’d be better protected if you considered a well-planned insurance plan to protect yourself against ever changing road risks.

From motor insurance, home insurance to, travel insurance, Kwiksure Singapore is adept at matching clients with the insurance plan that best matches their needs. As an independent insurance brokerage, we strive to offer unbiased advice and compare different plans using our professional knowledge. Just contact us today for any questions related to insurance, a free price quote, and a plan comparison!