E-scooter shop owner jailed for riding PMD at 135kmh on road
SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - In a media interview last year, the e-scooter shop owner claimed he had rejected a teenager's request to modify his e-scooter so it could go above the legal speed limit of 25kmh.
Samuel Tan Woon Yeow recalled telling the teen's father, who was ready to pay thousands to get it done: How could he, in good conscience, "empower a kid with a scooter that would get him or innocent passers-by into trouble or harm"?
Yet, just weeks before that interview was published in Today in July last year, Tan, the owner of Synergy Scooters, had been caught riding his own non-compliant device at a speed of at least 135kmh along Lim Chu Kang Road with three teenagers.
For riding on a public way in a manner so rash as to endanger human life, Tan, 38, was on Monday (Nov 30) jailed for a week.
He also pleaded guilty to a Road Traffic Act offence for riding a personal mobility device (PMD) on a road.
The three teenagers, who cannot be named as two were 16 years old and one was 15 years old at the time, pleaded guilty to similar offences.
Probation suitability reports were called for the teens and they will return to court on Jan 6 for sentencing.
This is not Tan's first offence.
He had been fined less than six months prior for what was essentially the same act of riding an e-scooter at high speed, Deputy Public Prosecutor Ronald Ang told District Judge Lorraine Ho.
He said the prosecution had preferred a more serious charge this time to reflect Tan's higher culpability, and a mere fine would send the wrong message.
The court heard that the group of four were riding PMDs at a high speed along Lim Chu Kang Road towards Jalan Bahar at about 12.10am on July 6 last year.
Riding on the left lane of the three-lane road, which has a 70kmh speed limit, the group was spotted by two Traffic Police officers on patrol.
The officers switched on their blinkers and sirens to get the group's attention, but they did not stop and the officers trailed the group for at least 150m.
Using his motorcycle's speedometer, one officer clocked one teenager travelling at 135kmh. Another teen who was slightly ahead was also riding at that speed.
Tan and the third teenager, who were travelling even further ahead, eventually stopped.
The two other teens rode against the flow of traffic along Jalan Bahar before stopping as well. One of them also made an unauthorised U-turn.
All four of their PMDs were unregistered, weighed more than twice the 20kg limit, and exceeded the maximum device speed limit of 25kmh.
Tan's lawyer, Ms Lim Lei Theng, urged Judge Ho to consider a jail term of less than a week.
She said Tan had not ridden a PMD since the offences, and is looking for a job as business at his shop has been bad.
She added that Tan's offences were victimless and less dangerous than other cases of PMDs being ridden recklessly on pedestrian paths.
The judge disagreed.
Judge Ho said: "Even if it is 12am near the cemetery, it is (still) a public road...
"It was fortuitous there was no one injured."