7 rules for electric bike users as Transport Ministry plans to make registration compulsory

A new law to regulate the use of personal mobility devices (PMDs) was approved in Parliament on Tuesday (Jan 10).
A new law to regulate the use of personal mobility devices (PMDs) was approved in Parliament on Tuesday (Jan 10). ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - A new law to regulate the use of personal mobility devices (PMDs) was approved in Parliament on Tuesday (Jan 10).

The Transport Ministry will provide more details on the law and amend related legislation under the Road Traffic Act.

In particular, electric bicycles will soon need to be registered to an owner and bear registration plates.

Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo announced the move, saying that e-bikes were being targeted as they "were prone to illegal modification to achieve high speeds on roads".

Here are seven rules for e-bike users.

1. Must be at least 16 years old

Riders of e-bikes, as well as those who ride pillion on them, must be at least 16 years old. This is a requirement by the Traffic Police for safety reasons. All riders must also wear suitable protective bicycle helmets. These requirements took effect from Jan 1, 2005.

2. Don't cycle on footpaths

Electric bikes are allowed on roads, and cycling or shared paths, but not on footpaths. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) in November 2016 said it had issued more than 860 advisories to people found riding bicycles, e-bikes and other PMDs dangerously on footpaths and cycling paths.

3. Maximum speed is 25kmh

Despite this, some e-bike users get their devices illegally modified, and some of them even hit speeds of up to 100kmh, according to several e-bike retailers.

Selling non-compliant motorised bicycles or illegally modifying them is an offence under the Road Traffic Act. Those caught can be jailed for up to three months or fined up to $2,000 for the first offence. Repeat offenders may be fined up to $5,000 or jailed for up to six months.

4. Maximum continuous power output must not exceed 250 watts

First-time offenders who illegally modify e-bikes currently face a fine of up to $2,000 or jail for up to three months, under the Road Traffic Act.

The fine will be raised to $5,000 once a proposed law in the Active Mobility Bill introduced in 2016 is approved.

5. Motor power should kick in only when rider starts to pedal

The motor power of e-bikes must be progressively reduced and finally cut off as the bicycle reaches 25kmh, or sooner, if the cyclist stops pedalling.

LTA issued 1,433 summonses over the sale or use of non-compliant e-bikes between January and September 2016.

6. Weight of e-bikes cannot exceed 20kg

E-bikes can weigh up to only 20kg. This reduces the risk of serious injury if there is a collision.

Some online e-bike retailers state the weights of the devices for sale, but many others indicate only that they are "LTA-approved".

7. All e-bikes must have an LTA approval seal

All new e-bike makes and models must obtain type-approval from LTA-authorised vehicle inspection centres.

Each approved device must also be affixed with a seal by the inspection centre before it can be sold or used in Singapore.

SOURCES: Onemotoring.com.sg, The Straits Times