Electric and motorised bicycles vex park users

Vehicles such as motorised bicycles (above) and electric scooters are banned in parks. Since last month, additional signs have been put up at parks to advise the public against the use of motorised vehicles. Those caught can be fined up to $5,000. --
Vehicles such as motorised bicycles (above) and electric scooters are banned in parks. Since last month, additional signs have been put up at parks to advise the public against the use of motorised vehicles. Those caught can be fined up to $5,000. -- PHOTO: ST FILE, KEVIN LIM
Vehicles such as motorised bicycles (left) and electric scooters are banned in parks. Since last month, additional signs have been put up at parks to advise the public against the use of motorised vehicles. Those caught can be fined up to $5,000.
Vehicles such as motorised bicycles (left) and electric scooters are banned in parks. Since last month, additional signs have been put up at parks to advise the public against the use of motorised vehicles. Those caught can be fined up to $5,000.PHOTOS: ST FILE, KEVIN LIM

More of them seen in parks and connectors now, despite signs prohibiting their use

More electric and motorised bicycles are zooming along park connectors and their surroundings, breaking the rules and aggravating other park users who say they are a safety hazard.

Even with signs prohibiting the use of such bikes in plain sight, riders zip along at speeds of up to 35kmh, so as to avoid traffic on roads, and take short cuts.

Eighteen park users interviewed said that the riders tend to speed, and that some weave in and out of both the pedestrian and bicycle tracks.

"There are more of these electric bicycles around now," said retail executive Tan Kia Cheng, 47, a regular jogger at Punggol Waterway Park. "Some do not keep a safe distance and they can't be bothered to slow down. It is dangerous because they can appear suddenly and without warning."

When The Straits Times visited Punggol Promenade Riverside Walk on Monday, 22 electric bicycles were spotted between 8pm and 9pm using the park connector linking Punggol Park and Lorong Halus Wetland.

Some of these bicycles were decked out in flashy green and blue LED lights. A few travelled in small groups.

These riders said they should be allowed access to the parks.

"It is a means of transport. For older folks like myself, it is easier to go up slopes or travel long distances (using such bikes)," said a 68-year-old electric-bicycle rider, who would not give his name.

"I think it is reasonable that we take short cuts using the park connectors. We can't be expected to take a longer route (on the roads), when there is a better and safer route available."

A 29-year-old rider, who wanted to be known only as David, added: "It is not fair. There are people on road bicycles that go even faster than us, and they can use the park connectors."

Electric and petrol-fuelled motorised bicycles, which cost between $800 and $4,500, are banned in parks. Some can be modified to reach speeds of 45kmh. However, low-powered bicycles with a maximum speed of 25kmh, and which are approved by the Land Transport Authority, are allowed on roads.

According to the National Parks Board (NParks), more people are using electric vehicles at parks and park connectors.

Since last month, additional signs have been put up at parks such as Bishan Park to advise the public against the use of motorised vehicles. Those caught can be fined up to $5,000.

NParks director of parks Kartini Omar said: "Motorised vehicles are not allowed in our parks and along our park connectors, unless they are electric wheelchairs to help the elderly or disabled to get around. This is for the safety of park users."

She added that NParks has issued notices of offence to riders caught flouting the rule and will continue to do so, but did not reveal how many have been caught.

While most park users feel that more should be done to keep electric bicycles out of parks and park connectors, others believe they should be allowed but with a cap on speed. Student and recreational runner Edmund Lim, 25, said: "I don't see anything wrong with having electric bicycles on park connectors, as long as they do not travel at high speeds and endanger people's lives."

calyang@sph.com.sg