Young people ride on an electric scooter along the waterfront Marina Bay in Singapore. Quay Marina Bay. (Image by DoublePhoto Studio / Shutterstock.com)

LTA to ban e-scooters on all footpaths starting 5 Nov, road ban on PMDs to stay

Riders of electric scooters (e-scooters) are advised to limit their use of such devices to cycling paths and Park Connector Networks (PCNs), as the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will be banning the riding of e-scooters on all footpaths starting tomorrow (5 Nov).

In a statement today, the LTA said that despite “significant efforts” to regulate the use of such personal mobility devices (PMDs) using laws and to educate the public in using such devices responsibly, “offences relating to errant behaviour and incidents involving e-scooters remained on an upward trend”.

“This has led to much anxiety among pedestrians, particularly more vulnerable groups such as the elderly and young,” said the Authority.

To that end, LTA said that it has “conducted a thorough safety review and will take decisive action to restore safety on footpaths”.

“From 1 January 2020, a zero-tolerance approach will be taken and those caught riding an e-scooter on footpaths will face regulatory action.

“Offenders are liable for fines up to $2,000 and/or face imprisonment of up to 3 months, if convicted,” LTA warned.

Bicycles and Personal Mobility Aids (PMAs) such as motorised wheelchairs, however, will not be subject to the footpaths ban, and will also be allowed on all cycling paths and PCNs, as seen in the table below:

Types of devices allowed on various public paths and roads. Source: LTA

The Authority said that it will provide an advisory period from 5 Nov to 31 Dec this year to allow e-scooter users some time to adjust to the ban.

Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min said in Parliament on Mon that the ban follows France’s move to prohibit the riding of e-scooters on its pavements, following the high number of accidents involving such devices, several of which were fatal. Those found guilty of riding their e-scooters on pavements will now be subject to a €135 fine in France.

Dr Lam said that the Government had expected PMD users to “be gracious and responsible” with “public education” on the responsible use of such devices, despite possible challenges facing the co-sharing of footpaths with pedestrians.

“Unfortunately, this was not so,” he lamented. He stated that “cities have allowed the use of such devices on footpaths” initially “as they are non-pollutive, inexpensive and, if properly used, convenient for short intra-town travels”.

E-scooter users can continue to use cycling paths and PCNs, islandwide cycling paths to be tripled by 2030: LTA

Touching on allowing e-scooter users to continue making use of cycling paths and PCNs across Singapore, LTA said that it intends to “triple” the current distance of cycling paths from 440km by 2030, adding that all HDB towns will have a cycling path by that year.

“Several cycling path projects are nearing completion in major towns. From next year, residents in Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Bukit Panjang, Taman Jurong and Tampines can enjoy greater active mobility connectivity as sections of cycling paths in these neighbourhoods will be completed.

“For example, a resident living at Block 470 Tampines Street 44 will be able to ride seamlessly along the cycling path network to Tampines Hub in 20 minutes.

“In new precincts such as Kampong Bugis, Tengah and Woodlands North Coast, LTA plans to build cycling paths on both sides of the road. New cycling paths may also be added in private residential estates and industrial estates,” said LTA.

The Authority also said that e-scooter riders living in Choa Chu Kang, Toa Payoh and Woodlands will also be able to enjoy expanded cycling paths for their first and last mile connectivity by 2025 for the purpose of travelling from their homes to public transport nodes and other amenities.

“Active mobility device users may refer to the MyTransport.SG app to navigate the cycling paths and PCNs,” said LTA.

Early PMD disposal incentive to be extended, PMD-sharing licence applications to be rejected: LTA

LTA also said today that it will be extending the Early Disposal Incentive for registered non-UL2272 certified e-scooters by one month to 31 Dec this year, and will also be providing more disposal points in Dec. A list of points of disposal can be accessed here.

“Since the introduction of the $100 early disposal incentive in September, LTA has received more than 9,000 applications from owners to dispose of their registered non-UL2272 certified e-scooters,” said LTA.

The Authority noted that at least 80,000 out of the 100,000 registered e-scooters are not UL2272-certified, and thus cannot be used on all public paths starting 1 Jul next year.

The remaining registered e-scooters that fail the “inspection regime” beginning 1 Apr next year will have their registration cancelled.

“It is an offence to ride unregistered or non-compliant e-scooters on public paths. We strongly urge the owners of non-compliant e-scooters to dispose their devices early to protect themselves and their neighbours from unnecessary fire risks,” said LTA.

LTA, in compliance with a safety directive issued by the Minister for Transport, will also “reject all existing licence applications and will not be inviting applications for PMD sharing licences until further notice”.

This move was made following the high number of recent accidents involving PMDs.

The use of PMDs on public footpaths was previously allowed under the Active Mobility Act, passed in Feb 2017.

LTA said that in light of these changes, it will “continue to review the effectiveness of its path safety measures for all, and accelerate the development of active mobility infrastructure to foster the safe and sustainable growth of active mobility in Singapore”.