Unsafe cycling, riding: More than 700 caught

Members of LTA's Active Mobility Enforcement team inspecting motorised bicycles yesterday.
Members of LTA's Active Mobility Enforcement team inspecting motorised bicycles yesterday.ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

Three in five users stopped by LTA team since May were e-bike users on footpaths

More considerate behaviour is what the authorities are after, having stopped over 700 cyclists and personal mobility device (PMD) users for unsafe riding since May.

Three in five were e-bike users caught riding on footpaths, which is not allowed.

The remainder were stopped for infringements such as not having a light while riding at night, riding recklessly and speeding.

In May, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) launched its Active Mobility Enforcement team to police foot and cycling paths. It has since conducted more than 400 enforcement operations across the island, the authority said in a statement yesterday.

Right now, the team is giving only advisories to errant riders and handing out brochures on safe riding.

In May, the LTA launched its Active Mobility Enforcement team...

Right now, the team is giving only advisories to errant riders and handing out brochures on safe riding. This is because the legislative changes that will give it powers to issue fines are not yet law, though they are likely to be debated in Parliament before the end of the year.

This is because the legislative changes that will give it powers to issue fines are not yet law, though they are likely to be debated in Parliament before the end of the year.

The changes will allow bicycles and PMDs on footpaths, to encourage the use of these devices for short trips. E-bikes, however, are allowed only on cycling paths, park connectors and the road.

Yesterday morning, a team of eight LTA officers conducted a two-hour enforcement exercise in Taman Jurong, together with the Traffic Police. The area is heavily plied by residents who cycle or use PMDs to get to work in the Jurong Port vicinity.

The officers were keeping an eye out for reckless riders, and those using PMDs that did not meet weight criteria or speed limits, said Mr Willy Soo, deputy manager at the Active Mobility Enforcement section. The upcoming rules will set a speed limit of 15kmh on footpaths, and require all PMDs to be under 20kg.

Besides giving out about 360 brochures, the officers also checked e-bikes in case they were illegally modified. Those whose e-bikes looked like they might be will need further inspections.

Five advisories were also handed out for unsafe riding such as failing to give way to pedestrians.

Forklift driver Michael Lee, 53, was on his way to work on his e-bike when he was stopped.

It was not modified so Mr Lee was allowed to go on after he was given a safe riding brochure.

"I just want to go to work; I don't need to go fast," said Mr Lee. But he said speedsters were common in the area, with many modifying their rides to look like motorcycles.

Port officer Toh Soon Chong, 42, said e-bike and e-scooter users need to slow down when they see elderly pedestrians or children.

Last month, a serious accident occurred in which a 53-year-old housewife was knocked down by an e-scooter in Pasir Ris.

Madam Ang Liu Kiow, who needed brain surgery, was transferred to a normal ward last week, but is still unconscious. A 17-year-old e-scooter rider was arrested.

Her son, undergraduate Wilson Leong, 22, feels more enforcement will help prevent serious accidents from happening.

"There are a handful of them who speed recklessly. They are the black sheep," he said. "If we can identify, and educate or punish them, it would be better for the community."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2016, with the headline 'Unsafe cycling, riding: More than 700 caught'. Print Edition | Subscribe