Last week, Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan revealed that the Active Mobility Advisory Panel (AMAP) is currently reviewing some active mobility regulations, including the speed limit on footpaths, and will release its recommendations later this year.
He was responding to questions filed by MP for Tampines GRC Miss Cheng Li Hui, who asked the Minister for Transport in view of the potential severe personal injuries that can be sustained in a collision between PMDs and pedestrians whether the speed limit of PMDs on footpaths and cycling/shared paths should be lowered and whether the maximum device speed of electric and motorised PMDs should also be lowered.
In a written reply on 9 July, the minister noted that cyclists and personal mobility device (PMD) users are currently subject to a speed limit of 15km/h on footpaths, and 25km/h on cycling and shared paths. For motorised PMDs, there is a device speed limit of 25km/h.
He noted that the speed limit on shared and cycling paths is not under review as such paths are much wider and there have been far fewer accidents occurring on them. Thus, the authority will maintain the maximum device speed of PMDs at 25km/h, which is the maximum speed they can travel on cycling and shared paths.
Responding to NMP Mr Azmoon Ahmad who asked the minister whether the Ministry can consider installing speed regulators at both ends of zebra crossings to ensure that rushing users of personal mobility devices have to decrease their speed when approaching such crossings, the minister note that where possible, LTA installs speed regulating strips on cycling paths when they approach a pedestrian crossing, such as zebra crossings and signalised pedestrian crossings, to remind users of personal mobility devices to slow down when approaching crossings that are coupled with other signs, including “Watch Out for Vehicles”, “LOOK” boxes with a bicycle logo, and “Give Way to Pedestrians” to guide the behaviour of users of personal mobility devices.
He added that it is currently a code of conduct for active mobility device users to stop and look out for on-coming traffic when approaching any pedestrian crossing and to cross only at walking speed, noting that AMAP is conducting a review of active mobility device user behaviour at road crossings, and will release its recommendations by the end of the year.
When asked if the Ministry will consider introducing legislation which explicitly prohibits the use of personal mobility devices for carrying young children as passengers, Mr Khaw replied to NMP Assoc Prof Randolph Tan that personal mobility devices (PMDs) have been a convenient mode of first-and-last-mile transport for many Singaporeans, and some of them are designed to carry passengers.
“Rather than banning the carrying of young children as passengers, it is more important for all PMD users to take responsibility for riding safely. PMD users should not carry more passengers than the PMD is designed to carry, and should ride slowly to ensure safety for themselves, their passengers, and other path users,” he stated.
MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC Mr Christopher de Souza also asked how are the PMD rules designed to keep pedestrians, especially children, elderly and those with disabilities, safe on walkways and parks and how effective have they been in reducing the number of accidents so far. Mr Khaw replied, saying that current rules regulating the safety of public paths were developed by the Active Mobility Advisory Panel after a large scale public consultation exercise in 2015, which include speed limits on footpaths and shared paths, regulations against reckless riding, and restrictions on the speed, weight and dimensions of devices used on public paths.
“A code of conduct has also been introduced to guide cyclists and PMD users on how to share paths safely with each other. These regulations are coupled with strict enforcement and extensive education efforts,” Mr Khaw added.
He then noted that LTA and the Panel will continually review if these regulations are relevant and sufficient. The Panel is currently reviewing the speed limits on footpaths, the behaviour of active mobility users at road crossings, the usage of helmets by active mobility users, and the insurance and compensation framework for active mobility. The Panel will release its recommendations by the end of the year.
Ultimately, he stressed that it is also the individual responsibility of the cyclist or PMD user to have basic respect and consideration for their fellow path users.
MP for Ang Mo Kion GRC Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar asked the minister, how many accidents involving electric scooters or electric-powered PMDs have there been, how many involved serious injuries to pedestrians which required hospitalisation from October 2017 to May 2018 , and whether there are plans to further regulate the use of electric scooters or electric-powered PMDs especially the allowable speeds and usage, testing, licensing and age requirements of the riders. Whereas MP for MacPherson SMC Ms Tin Pei Ling asked what is the number of errant PMD users caught and taken to task since the commencement of the Active Mobility Act, what is the profile of these errant users, and what other efforts will be undertaken by the Government to improve awareness of the Act to better safeguard public safety.
In a written reply that the Transport minister revealed that there were a total of 128 reported accidents on public paths involving personal mobility devices (PMDs) in 2017 and noted that 9 of these resulted in major injuries.
He stressed that the Active Mobility Act (AMA) empowers LTA to enforce against active mobility offences. LTA’s Active Mobility Enforcement Officers have stepped up efforts to strictly enforce against active mobility offences such as the riding of non-compliant devices, reckless riding and speeding.
According to Mr Khaw, since the AMA commenced on 1 May 2018, 297 errant PMD users between the ages of 14 and 80 have been caught for active mobility-related offences. Those who are found guilty of active mobility offences are liable for fines and/or imprisonment. Those caught riding non-compliant devices may also have their devices seized and forfeited.
He also stated that LTA will introduce a mandatory registration regime for e-scooters from early next year, which will help deter reckless behaviour and facilitate members of public and our enforcement officers in identifying and tracking down errant users.
Mr Khaw added that AMAP is also reviewing the active mobility regulations, including the speed limit on footpaths, the behaviour of active mobility users at road crossings, the usage of helmets by active mobility device users, and the insurance and compensation framework and will release its recommendations by the end of this year.
He then pointed that LTA has also stepped up efforts to further improve awareness of the rules and code of conduct governing active mobility usage, including launching publicity campaigns in different languages, leveraging on Active Mobility Patrol volunteers to engage the public on safe and gracious path-sharing behaviours, and launching the Safe Riding Programme.
“I urge all cyclists and PMD users to show respect and consideration for their fellow path users. This will go a long way in ensuring that Singaporeans can continue to share our paths safely and harmoniously,” he stated.
In January this year, LTA kicked in tougher penalties for PMD users caught riding on roads, strengthening regulations and enhancing its penalty regime to deter errant use of PMDs.
Under the new penalty regime, the current composition sum of $100 has been increased to $300 and $500 for first-time offenders who ride on local and major roads respectively. LTA stressed that first-time offenders who ride on the expressways will be charged in court.
In the event of a conviction in Court, offenders convicted for the first time face a fine of up to $2,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 3 months, while offenders convicted for the second or subsequent time face a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 6 months.