5 ways to stay safe on your e-scooter or hoverboard - and pose no danger to pedestrians

A pedestrian walking past a man travelling on e-scooter on the pavement at Pasir Ris Drive 1 on Sept 21, 2016.
A pedestrian walking past a man travelling on e-scooter on the pavement at Pasir Ris Drive 1 on Sept 21, 2016.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE - Electric scooters have come under the spotlight again following an accident last Saturday (Sept 17) when an e-scooter collided with a woman pedestrian.

The accident has re-ignited safety concerns about the use of personal mobility devices such as e-scooters and hoverboards, which are increasing in popularity.

Mr Denis Koh, who leads e-scooter interest group Big Wheel Scooters Singapore and served on the Government's Active Mobility Advisory Panel (AMAP), told The Straits Times that electric device users have a greater responsibility for road safety than pedestrians because "faster-moving vehicles should always practise safety and due diligence".

The Government accepted in April the AMAP's recommended guidelines on the use of bicycles and mobility devices. Here are some things to note:

 
 

1. Know your devices

There are four categories.

a. Personal mobility devices (PMDs): Include electric devices such as e-scooters and hoverboards, as well as non-electric devices such as conventional unicycles.

b. Personal mobility aids (PMAs): Include motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters which are intended for elderly and disabled people.

c. Electric bicycles

d. Conventional bicycles

2. Make sure your device meets specifications

All PMDs and bicycles - motorised or otherwise - can be no heavier than 20kg unladen, and no wider than 70cm. The unladen weight requirement reduces the risk of injuries during the crash, and the width allows safe travel on footpaths.

Electric devices should also have a maximum device speed of 25kmh - with no modifications to increase the device speed.

The Land Transport Authority maintains a list of non-compliant devices.

PMAs are exempt from these physical device criteria, since they are necessary for their users and generally are not capable of travelling faster than a jogging pace.

3. Use your device only in permitted areas

The recommended speed limit on footpaths is 15kmh. Electric bicycles are not allowed on footpaths.

The recommended speed limit on cycling paths and bicycle-pedestrian shared paths is 25kmh.

PMAs and PMDs are not allowed on roads.

4. Engage safety features

Under the AMAP guidelines, electric bicycles and PMDs must have white headlights and red rear-lights. These lights must be switched on when it is dark.

If it is not possible to install lights on PMDs, users must be equipped with lights, for example, by wearing luminous vests or fixing lights on their helmets.

All electric bicycle users must wear a helmet.

Big Wheel Scooters Singapore, the e-scooter interest group,also advises PMD users to wear a helmet and covered shoes. It strongly recommends PMD users to also wear gloves, elbow pads and knee pads.

5. Practise road courtesy

Device users should always give way to pedestrians on footpaths and shared paths, under the AMAP recommendations. Pedestrians also have the right of way on pedestrian crossings.

Device users should slow down and be prepared to stop when approaching high pedestrian-traffic areas such as bus stops. They can either "walk" their bicycles or dismount and push at high pedestrian-traffic areas.

If an accident occurs, users should stop to render aid and swop particulars, just as would be the case with motorists.