E-scooter and power-assisted bicycle (PAB) users will soon be required to pass a theory test prior to riding their devices on cycling paths, according to the Ministry of Transport (MOT).
In a statement on Wed (4 Nov), MOT said that the measure will be implemented following the Government’s acceptance of all of the Active Mobility Advisory Panel (AMAP)’s latest recommendations.
MOT added that users under the age of 16 can continue to use e-scooters under adult supervision.
The recommendations, which were submitted to MOT on 27 Sep this year, also include urging businesses to “procure mandatory third-party liability insurance to cover e-scooter users who ride in the course of work, and to prepare the industry and community to move towards mandatory insurance for all e-scooter users”.
“We will work with AMAP to consider whether third-party liability insurance should be made mandatory for other individual device riders,” MOT added.
A Code of Conduct will also be introduced to encourage better ways for all users to share paths safely.
“We will expand the current Code of Conduct which focuses on device users, to include guidelines to encourage pedestrians to keep left while walking on paths unless overtaking, to walk on footpaths whenever there are footpaths next to cycling/shared paths, and for all path users to be alert to their surroundings,” said MOT.
The use of mobile phones while riding an active mobility device on public paths and roads — unless the mobile phone is mounted or used in a hands-free manner — will be prohibited.
“The AMAP’s recommendations are timely and will complement existing efforts to improve path and road safety. The Government will work closely together with AMAP to implement these recommendations,” according to MOT.
AMAP’s first set of recommendations on the rules and code of conduct for cycling and the use of personal mobility devices (PMDs) were first released in Mar 2016.
The panel — which comprises representatives from key active mobility stakeholder groups including seniors, youths, cyclists, motorists, PMD and PMA users, as well as grassroots leaders — was established in Jul 2015 to study the regulations that govern the active mobility landscape in Singapore, which includes walking, cycling and the use of PMDs and PMAs.
PMD footpath ban a last resort in dealing with errant riders after lack of improvement with previous measures: Senior Minister of State for Transport
The new measures will be among the Government’s efforts to regulate the use of PMDs on public pathways in Singapore, following the Land Transport Authority (LTA)’s announcement on banning the riding of e-scooters on all footpaths, which began early last month.
Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min said in a Facebook post on 8 Nov 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”.
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.
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.