The Government’s decision to ban the use of e-scooters or personal mobility devices (PMDs) on footpaths is a last resort in dealing with errant riders, following a lack of improvement with previous measures, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min.
In a Facebook post on Fri (8 Nov), Lam said that the Government has introduced several measures to curb the problem of “reckless and inconsiderate riding” of PMDs, including lowering speed limits, introducing the Safe Riding Programme, and even strengthening law enforcement via the Land Transport Authority against riders who break the law.
“Despite all this, the situation did not improve. Last year, nearly 300 people were treated at hospitals for PMD-related injuries. That’s nearly 1 every day! And these were just the reported cases. Many of these are minor incidents, but you would remember the more serious ones, including those that resulted in fatalities,” he illustrated.
“When the safety of people is at stake, the decision is always clear. That is why after thinking long and hard, we decided to implement this ban to make our footpaths safer again,” said Lam.
Lam however acknowledged that implementing the ban “was not an easy decision” to make, as the Government is aware that the ban “will affect many people, especially food delivery riders who rely on e-scooters for work”.
Consequently, Lam said that the Government — after discussions with food delivery companies such as Grab, Foodpanda and Deliveroo — will be introducing a Transition Assistance Package (TAP) to “provide some measure of relief to the affected riders”.
“Had the opportunity to share the details of the TAP with several food delivery riders and hope this will help with their transition to another viable mode of transport to continue with their jobs,” he added.
Earlier on 4 Nov, Lam told Parliament 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.
He added 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 Trade-in-Grant among measures to assist food delivery riders affected by footpath use ban
Noting that around 7,000 food delivery riders utilised e-scooters at work alongside the majority who use traditional vehicles such as motorcycles and bicycles, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) the same day said that the eTG aims to financially assist said riders in the process of switching to bicycles, Power Assisted Bicycles (PABs) or Personal Mobility Aids (PMAs).
“Under this scheme, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will match dollar-for-dollar the food delivery companies’ funding support for their food delivery riders who trade in their existing e-scooters for alternative LTA-approved devices,” said MOT, adding that “each rider will receive an eTG of up to S$1,000 for PABs or S$600 for bicycle”.
“For delivery riders with mobility difficulties who are eligible to use PMAs and wish to continue working for their delivery company, they too will receive an eTG of up to S$1,000.
“The eTG scheme will be administered by the food delivery companies, which are also working with retailers to bulk purchase and bring down costs of these devices,” said MOT.
Delivery riders who work for more than one company will only be eligible for one eTG disbursement, the Ministry added.
Food delivery riders who wish to qualify for the eTG must be existing e-scooter food delivery riders as of Thu (7 Nov), and are required to surrender their e-scooters at disposal points located at Grab, Deliveroo and Foodpanda’s premises.
MOT urged food delivery riders to approach their companies for more details on the grant scheme, which will operate till 31 Dec 2019.
Adapt and Grow initiative to provide employability support for food delivery riders seeking new jobs: MOT
The package, jointly created by MOT and LTA with the three major food delivery companies, will also include a joint effort between NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) and Workforce Singapore (WSG) with Grab, Deliveroo and Foodpanda’s to provide food delivery riders seeking new jobs with employability support under the Adapt and Grow initiative.
Affected drivers will receive customised information on career events starting from next week.
MOT encouraged the affected food delivery riders to contact WSG directly via hotline at 6883 5885, or to drop in at any of the five WSG’s Careers Connect and NTUC’s e2i centres for immediate assistance.
The Ministry of Social and Family Development’s (MSF) and ComCare schemes will also be available to provide temporary financial assistance to riders via the nearest Social Service Office or PA Community Club, MOT added.
Commenting on the decision to ban the use of e-scooters on footpaths, MOT said that it was a “difficult” one to make, particularly in the light of food delivery riders’ affected livelihood, and “arose because of many instances of irresponsible riding”.
“Even as the delivery riders switch to other modes of transport, they should be mindful of safety both for themselves and other path and road users.
“They should strictly abide by the safety rules, including speed limits, so as not to cause unnecessary injury,” MOT added.
CNA reported on Wed evening (6 Nov) that around 50 e-scooters riders gathered at a Meet the People session in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s ward Ang Mo Kio to address their grievances regarding the ban, with many of them seen in GrabFood delivery uniforms.
Riders using e-scooter on footpaths will now be subject to S$2,000 fine; bicycles and PMAs not subject to ban: LTA
In a statement on 4 Nov, 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 Park Connector Networks, 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.