Don't be so quick to blame throttles for e-bike ills

I was recently stopped by a Land Transport Authority (LTA) officer for using an electric bicycle that had a throttle.

I told the officer that I bought the bike second-hand from a seller online and the throttle had already been installed. The bike had an LTA tag on it, so I thought it was legal.

The officer told me that the throttle was legal in some older models of electric bikes, but not my model. So I was slapped with a fine.

Throttles have been blamed for a number of accidents. However, LTA is barking up the wrong tree.

I have ridden electric bikes with and without throttles.

Without a throttle, and using just the pedal-assist, I get a power surge that is like being shoved forward. This is dangerous, especially when riding on crowded paths where pedestrians are.

With the throttle, I have control over the acceleration of my bike.

We should not ban a useful feature on an electric bike just because of some serious accidents.

Accidents happen because of irresponsible riding and modifications that make the bike go too fast; not because of the throttle.

My encounter raises another issue as well - the second-hand market for electric bikes.

The buyer should not be penalised for the seller's actions before the bike was sold.

If it were made mandatory for electric bikes to be registered, they can easily be checked during the registration process.

When the owner wishes to sell the bike, both the buyer and seller would have to go to a police station or community club to transfer the registration.

Jonathan Kong