Over 250 summonses for illegal motorised bike users

A user of an illegal motorised bicycle being pulled over by an enforcement officer from LTA in Boon Lay Drive last Wednesday. The two-wheeler was found to have a throttle, or start-up assistance feature, and had not been approved for use by the LTA.
A user of an illegal motorised bicycle being pulled over by an enforcement officer from LTA in Boon Lay Drive last Wednesday. The two-wheeler was found to have a throttle, or start-up assistance feature, and had not been approved for use by the LTA.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Dec figure higher than 155 monthly average after tougher rules for such bikes kicked in

A higher-than-average number of summonses - more than 250 - were issued to users of illegal motorised bikes last month, after the introduction of tougher penalties.

The penalties were announced last November, along with stricter technical requirements for such bikes, as the Land Transport Authority (LTA) tries to enhance the safety of pedestrians and road users.

LTA said it has "strengthened enforcement efforts" since 2011 to tackle the scourge of illegally modified electric two-wheelers, which are also called power-assisted bicycles (PAB).

During an enforcement operation held by LTA and the Traffic Police in Boon Lay last Wednesday, observed by The Sunday Times, most of the motorised bikes that were hauled up were found to be equipped with throttles, a start-up assistance feature.

An LTA spokesman said: "The throttle feature may inadvertently cause a PAB to move off from a stationary position, for example, while waiting at traffic junctions. This poses a safety hazard not only to PAB users but other road users as well."

DANGER FEATURE

The throttle feature may inadvertently cause a PAB to move off from a stationary position... This poses a safety hazard not only to the PAB users but to other road users as well.

LTA SPOKESMAN

Under the rules, the motor power of the motorised bike can cut in only when the rider starts to pedal.

With stricter requirements kicking in last month, bikes have to meet the European Standard EN15194 - making them harder to modify illegally - and not weigh more than 20kg.

During Wednesday's operation, 33 motorised bicycles were checked and 16 were found to be illegal. Four of these were seized as their users were repeat offenders.

According to the LTA, 256 summonses were issued last month, compared with last year's monthly average of about 155. For the entire year, there were 1,863 summonses .

There were 1,042 summonses in 2014, and 978 in 2013.

  • MORE STRINGENT REGULATIONS

  • The new rules and regulations on power-assisted bicycles, or e-bikes, came into effect in December last year.

    These are the rules:

    • The e-bike's maximum weight must not exceed 20kg.

    • It should not have a start-up assistance feature, or throttle.

    • Its construction must be similar to that of a conventional bicycle.

    • It should comply with European

    Standard EN15194 - which requires it to undergo rigorous testing.

    • Motor power must be progressively reduced and cut off as the bicycle reaches 25kmh, or sooner, when the cyclist stops pedalling.

    • Maximum motor power output rating must not exceed 250W (EN15194 standard).

    • It can be used only on roads.

    • It must be affixed with an orange Land Transport Authority seal.

Last month, enforcement operations were conducted in other hot spots, such as Bedok, Woodlands, Tampines and Geylang, netting 69 illegal motorised bikes. Nine of these were seized.

Besides such targeted enforcement, LTA officers also conduct checks during their daily patrols.

Under the new penalty regime, first-time offenders are fined $300, up from $100 previously, while repeat offenders are fined $500, up from $200.

Among those caught on Wednesday was a 34-year-old building painter from China, whose bike was found to have a throttle and had not been approved for use here. He bought the second-hand bicycle off the Internet for $600. The man, who declined to be named, was fined $300. He said in Mandarin: "I came to Singapore about a year ago and am unaware of the rules here. "

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 10, 2016, with the headline 'Over 250 summonses for illegal motorised bike users'. Print Edition | Subscribe