The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and policymakers should stop targeting vehicles but instead go after errant road users regardless of what vehicle they use, said a netizen on the Complaint Singapore Facebook page on Monday (3 May).
Mr Justin Kon shared his thoughts on an incident he witnessed recently where a lady riding a power-assisted bicycle (PAB) on a footpath and with no helmet was stopped by enforcement officers but was let off without being issued a summons.
Mr Kon shared a video of the incident, which he said he had managed to film as he was at the “red light at the junction”.
“I just had to capture it because I somehow knew what was going to happen, yes, she getting off scot-free,” he said.
“Video stopped as it was green light and I had to move off. True enough, she wasn’t issued a summon.”
Mr Kon said he then confronted the officers about what happened and told them that he would be back to speak to the LTA officer in charge after delivering his own order.
He himself was using a PAB though he asserted that he was riding on the road, as per regulation.
When he completed his delivery, Mr Kon came back to the area to ask the officers about what happened.
However according to him, they “did not want to admit their mistake” and asked him to write in to the LTA instead of posting what he wanted.
He then pointed to a second video he posted of his conversation with the officers. In it, he can be heard asking the officer across the road whether he saw the incident and whether the cameras they are wearing recorded what happened. The officer said yes on both accounts.
He went on, “So guys, with that video, LTA is telling us, ‘it’s ok to disregard the law, we will see who we FEEL like issuing a summon to that day’.”
Mr Kon added that this isn’t the first time he has seen riders who are not food delivery riders “go scot-free” for riding on footpaths while food delivery riders are issued an immediate summons.
Mr Kon went on, “Cyclists with no helmets, no front and backlights on the road get off scot-free too! You know why? As quoted by the LTA officer, catching PAB riders are their priority, the rest ain’t as important.
“Even vehicles on the road that have near-miss incidents with Us cyclists on the road go Off scot-free too.”
In his post, Mr Kon explained that he has written to LTA on multiple occasions over the course of a year but only received a “very poor response” from them.
He has also engaged with LTA officers when he sees them on the road, spoken to the policy department of the Public Mobility Group and written to their director with no replies, and voiced his opinions on 938 Live about the tests that LTA now requires PAB riders to take.
“My point: STOP THE PERSECUTION OF PAB RIDERS. You get the errant users not the vehicle. Cyclist on footpath are equally, if not more dangerous than PAB riders as well.”
“To make things more absurd, if a PAB rides on the footpath, with his/her battery dead, or with the motor off and go at speeds way slower than a bicycle because our bike is heavier, we are issued a summon too. Well, because it’s a PAB,” said Mr Kon.
He said that the fines for PABs are “absurd” as well, at S$300 for riding on a footpath while road vehicles are only fined S$100 for speeding, and even that can be waived off.
“We spend $1000 or so on our bike and get a $300 fine, while cars costing a 100x more get a $100 fine. Where’s the logic?” he asked.
While he conceded that PAB riders sometimes need LTA’s enforcement due to errant riders who modify their PABs or disregard safety regulations, he asked for statistics showing that cyclists and PAB riders on footpaths have caused major accidents.
“Why aren’t they showing it to us, yet persecuting us like we caused major accidents on the road every day,” asked Mr Kon.
He added, “If LTA isn’t making roads safe for cyclists (PABs) included, what right is there to enforce us to be on them? With severely cracked roads, portholes, and poorly surfaced roads (humps and dumps caused after contractors do up a portion of the road after digging up), we cyclists take the brunt of it?”
He went on, “I am very sure cars and vehicles on the road have caused more harm to the public so why aren’t they taken off the roads then? Make sense? If it doesn’t, then why is so much done to go against PAB riders?
“And now a 100-page booklet with a theory test for PAB riders? Is our Basic Theory Test for driving even that long?”
Mr Kon concluded by demanding that the LTA stop its double standards in enforcement road safety and simply go after all errant users despite the type of vehicles they use.
TOC has reached out to the LTA for comments.
Rules for PABs
Back in 2019, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) said that it would soon require e-scooter and PAB users to pass a theory test prior to being allowed to ride their devices on cycling paths, following the Government’s acceptance of all of the Active Mobility Advisory Panel (AMAP)’s latest recommendations submitted in September that year.
The new measures, which would kick in by 30 Jun, would be among the Government’s efforts to regulate the use of personal mobility devices on public pathways in Singapore, following the LTA’s announcement on banning the riding of e-scooters on all footpaths, which began in November 2019.
The ban means that e-scooters are not allowed to be used on roads or footpaths in Singapore, but they will still be allowed on cycling paths and Park Connector Networks (PCNs).
The ban did not, however, extend to bicycles or Personal Mobility Aids (PMAs) like motorised wheelchairs. Those would still be allowed on footpaths as well as on all cycling paths and PCNs.
PABs, however, would only be allowed on cycling paths, PCNs, and roads. The Road Traffic Act also makes it mandatory for cyclists and PAB riders to wear a helmet when riding on roads.
So from 30 Jun, all e-scooter and PAB riders will need to take a theory test to ensure familiarity with active mobility rules, codes of conduct and safe riding practices. The LTA notes on its website that holders of driving licenses will not be exempted from taking this theory test.
This is in addition to the registration requirement implemented in April last year, which requires all new PABs to be sealed with the LTA approval seal and be registered and affixed with a number plate on the rear of the device, as well as the updated regulations on where different PMDs could be used.