Starting today (5 November), electric scooters will be banned from footpaths in Singapore, and those found guilty of the crime can be fined up to S$2,000 and jail time of up to three months once the ban is strictly enforced from 2020.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said in a statement 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”.
Although e-scooters are banned from being used on roads in the Republic, but it will still be allowed on cycling paths and Park Connector Networks (PCNs).
From now till 31 December 2019, there will be an advisory period where offenders will be given warnings, in order to give time for e-scooter riders to adjust to the changes.
“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 S$2,000 and/or face imprisonment of up to 3 months, if convicted,” LTA warned.
However, bicycles and Personal Mobility Aids (PMAs) like motorised wheelchairs will not be subjected to the footpaths ban, and will also be allowed on all cycling paths and PCNs.
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.
If that’s not all, LTA also stated that it will be extending the Early Disposal Incentive for registered non-UL2272 certified e-scooters by one month to 31 December this year, and will also be providing more disposal points in December.
“Since the introduction of the S$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.
It added, “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.”
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”.
Following the announcement of the ban, online users gave mixed reactions over the decision. Penning their opinions on the Facebook pages of The Straits Times, Channel NewsAsia and TODAY, a large number of them applauded the Government’s move to disallow e-scooters on footpaths. They said that it’s “good riddance” to ban PMDs on footpaths as “elderly and children can finally feel safe to walk on pedestrian footpaths”.
Others said that the ban is unfortunate for PMD retailers and responsible riders as they have to now face the consequences due to the “acts of black sheep”. They added that those who use PMDs for livelihood will also have to suffer, even though they’re not at fault. Ken Chew said that this ban is “totally unfair” and the Authority should “ban those black sheep by a demerits point system”.
A number of online users felt sorry for parents and food delivery riders as they will now be badly affected due to the ban. They said that food delivery companies will be “nearly gone except for those that are using vehicles and motorbikes”.
Shewin Pillay pointed out that the general public will also suffer as we might not get our food delivered to us after this. “Ou(r) waits will be longer because the poor soul will be on his bicycle instead of his PMD. Or even worse, we won’t be able to get a rider and our order not fulfilled,” he wrote.
Some highlighted that the Government is “irresponsible” as they shouldn’t have allowed the use of PMDs in the first place since Singapore did not have the infrastructures to handle the devices. Leonie R Tan said the ban shows the “short cut and laziness of this government. Instead of choosing licensing, certification and education which takes more effort, they choose just outright ban”.