The first-ever code of conduct here involving pedestrians has been rolled out in order to foster a safer and more responsible path-sharing environment.
Code of conduct for pedestrians rolled out The first-ever code of conduct here involving pedestrians has been rolled out in order to foster a safer and more responsible path-sharing environment. PHOTO: ST FILE

Pedestrians should stay off shared paths, stick to footpaths if possible and keep to the left unless they are overtaking another pedestrian.

They should also refrain from using their mobile phones while walking on such paths for their own safety.

The code of conduct for users of public paths had previously focused on device users, such as cyclists and e-scooter riders. The updated code of conduct kicked in this month, together with a new rule banning those under 16 from riding electric scooters unsupervised by adults. Another new rule bans device users from using their mobile phones while riding.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on 4 August 2020 that the recommended habits for pedestrians will complement existing active mobility regulations and guidelines for other path users. "We will continue to engage and educate the public on how all can play a part in fostering a safer and more responsible path-sharing environment," said LTA. "A campaign encouraging all users to be more gracious on our paths will be rolled out at the end of the year."

The code of conduct recommends these key points for pedestrians: stick to footpaths and pedestrian crossings when available beside shared paths, keep left on all paths, and stay alert when walking on paths.

According to the code, pedestrians should stay alert and pay attention to their surroundings when on a footpath or shared path. They should also "refrain from using a mobile communication device or operating any of its communication or other functions - such as listening to music - in a manner as will prevent the pedestrian from detecting danger or oncoming obstacles".

The various measures were proposed and introduced in response to a growing number of fires and accidents involving e-scooters last year. However, such issues have been reduced following a ban on e-scooters on footpaths, among other preventive measures.

National University of Singapore Transport Infrastructure Expert Raymond Ong said the code of conduct involving pedestrians makes sense from both a safety and an infrastructure perspective. "It makes more sense for pedestrians to keep on their paths for safety reasons... you also want pedestrians to understand that we have a huge role to play in ensuring our own safety," he said.

"We don't have a lot of physical space (to create separations between paths), so it is more about shaping behaviour and trying to make the environment more conducive for walking and cycling." He said that research has shown that distracted driving, riding and movement leads to an increased risk of accidents and a pedestrian who is not distracted will be better able to avoid them.

Dr. Ong added that the lack of mechanisms to enforce the code of conduct is not the issue here but what is important is to educate the public.