Motorised bicycles should be classified as motorcycles

A man checking with his son who was riding pillion on his motorised bicycle on a pavement along Jurong West St 52.
A man checking with his son who was riding pillion on his motorised bicycle on a pavement along Jurong West St 52. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

The Land Transport Authority's (LTA) clampdown on motorised bicycles is a breath of fresh air ("LTA clamps down on motorised bikes"; last Friday).

For the longest time, there have been clarion calls for the authorities to regulate the use of footpaths and common spaces by cyclists, given the steep rise in the number of cyclists and more powerful bicycles posing a danger to pedestrians with their often reckless and irresponsible behaviour.

Finally, things have been set in motion, even though we have some way to go in formulating a set of rules of engagement as well as legislation to ensure safety for all users of shared spaces.

For motorised bicycles, limiting the weight and speed limit is only one part of the equation.

Even a bike with a weight of 20kg and a speed of 25kmh can cause serious injuries if a pedestrian is hit.

In view of this, motorised bicycles should be classified as motorcycles and be used only on roads.

Currently, it is common to see motorised bicycles being ridden on footpaths and common spaces.

When these cyclists are absorbed by the thrill the speed provides, coupled with a lack of a duty of care and responsibility, accidents occur. So they need to be reined in.

Ultimately, we look forward to the day when both pedestrians and users of personal mobility devices understand their respective responsibilities, so that safety and security will prevail.

For this to happen, we need education, legislation and strict enforcement.

Lawrence Loh Kiah Muan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 24, 2015, with the headline 'Motorised bicycles should be classified as motorcycles'. Print Edition | Subscribe