Following the circulation of videos showing users of personal mobility devices (PMD) attempting to dodge the new footpath ban by riding on grass along footpaths, the National Parks Board (NParks) warned the public that those caught doing so may be fined up to S$5,000.
Group director of parks development at NParks Kartini Omar told CNA yesterday (6 Nov) that riding PMDs on the sidewalk grass risks damaging the turf, which can lead to soil erosion, in addition to posing safety risks to the user.
It is an offence Under the Parks and Trees Act to ride PMDs on the grass along the green verges without permission.
On Tue (5 Nov), the Land Transport Authority (LTA) issued warnings to over a hundred PMD riders for using their devices on footpaths on the first day of the e-scooter ban.
Responding to The Straits Times‘ queries, LTA said that it will continue to issue warnings to riders who flout the ban till Dec 31, but will take “strict enforcement action” in serious cases.
“Subsequently, from Jan 1, 2020, those caught riding an e-scooter on footpaths will be liable for a fine of up to $2,000 and/or jail of up to three months,” it said.
In a separate statement on Facebook, LTA said that it has deployed enforcement officers in Ang Mo Kio, Jurong and Toa Payoh to enforce the ban on the ground.
“We are issuing warnings at this stage to give users some time to adjust to the new rule,” the LTA said, adding that it will adopt “a zero tolerance approach” starting 2020.
Rise in “offences relating to errant behaviour and incidents involving e-scooters” reason behind the ban: LTA
In a statement on Mon, 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.
Riders of electric scooters (e-scooters) are advised to limit their use of such devices to cycling paths and Park Connector Networks (PCNs).
Bicycles and Personal Mobility Aids (PMAs) such as motorised wheelchairs 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:
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.