Almost half of Singapore drivers feel that roads are now more dangerous – and it’s got to do with e-scooters and ride-sharing vehicles

A man illegally rides an e-scooter on the road in Singapore.
Singapore Press Holdings

E-scooters zip down the street and private-hire vehicles roam the roads – it’s a common sight these days.

But this changing landscape of roads in Singapore is causing road users to feel less safe, according to a survey conducted by insurance company AXA.

In April 2018, the survey polled 812 Singaporean road users – private car owners, taxi drivers, motorcyclists, commercial drivers, private-hire car drivers, cyclists (including bike-sharers), personal mobility device (PMD) riders and pedestrians.

It found that while 81 per cent of drivers think that Singapore’s roads are “quite safe” or “very safe”, 48 per cent feel less safe on Singapore roads today, as compared to three years back.

But here comes the strange part – their insecurities aren’t backed by stats. From 2015 to 2017, there was actually a decline in the number of fatal road accidents (-20 per cent), and accidents resulting in injuries (-4 per cent), AXA said, citing the Singapore Police Force.

Most of the road users surveyed (72 per cent) say their perception of decreased safety is due to the presence of more aggressive drivers, while 70 per cent also attribute it to non-drivers (such as PMD riders and cyclists). A total of 57 per cent say it’s because of the rise in popularity of private-hire vehicles.

But that does not mean respondents disapprove of the use of private-hire vehicles, PMDs and bicycles.

In fact, 80 per cent of them welcome the introduction of ride-sharing services in Singapore because they make commuting easier (86 per cent) and reduce congestion on the roads (30 per cent).

But still, close to one in two also think ride-sharing services contribute to road accidents (48 per cent) and make commuting less safe (45 per cent).

The same goes for PMDs and bicycles – 55 per cent of respondents view their rise in popularity positively. 74 per cent acknowledge that these devices ease commuting woes, and 38 per cent think they make roads less congested.

Despite that, many respondents are also concerned about the potential risks, with around three in four saying that they make sidewalks more dangerous (78 per cent), more congested (77 per cent), and contribute to more accidents (72 per cent).

Elderly pedestrians

In the middle of this year, the Singapore Police Force reported that 40 per cent of all accidents involving elderly pedestrians in the first half of 2018 were due to jaywalking.

Respondents of AXA’s survey believe that an increase in reckless driving (54 per cent) and jaywalking (44 per cent) are what’s causing these accidents.

To counter that, most respondents support the development of elderly-friendly infrastructure – such as more senior-friendly road safety features (58 per cent), road crossings designed with the elderly in mind (50 per cent), better engagement and education for the elderly on road safety (46 per cent), and to make roads a safer place for the elderly.