More than $1 billion will be needed to speed up and complete plans to treble the cycling path network in Singapore, amid a recent ban on the use of e-scooters on footpaths to improve pedestrians' safety.
Since the ban on Nov 5, accidents involving e-scooters have dropped by about 30 per cent, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min, adding that further reduction can be expected as enforcement is stepped up.
Speaking in Parliament yesterday, he said his ministry is now in talks with the Finance Ministry to get the extra funding to expand the cycling path network to about 1,300km. He did not provide further details.
Dr Lam also cited a recent telephone poll commissioned by government feedback unit Reach, in which two out of three respondents agreed that safety on footpaths has improved since the ban.
He was replying to three MPs on issues relating to the use of personal mobility devices (PMDs).
The Government had announced last August that it aimed to treble the cycling path network from the current 440km to 1,300km by 2030. Last month, Dr Lam said it intended to hasten plans by "a couple of years".
Yesterday, he said: "We will accelerate the pace of implementation by a few years. We are discussing with Housing Board, NParks and the local town councils on a practical timeline."
More details on the funding will be announced during the debate on the new budget for the Transport Ministry.
Work is also ongoing to improve markings on footpaths and distinguish them from cycling paths, with logos indicating "No PMD" to be painted at selected intersections of footpaths and cycling paths.
The decision to quicken the pace of building the cycling path network is prompted by concerns of e-scooter users about connectivity. Currently, they can use only 440km of cycling paths. Before the ban, they had access to 5,500km of footpaths as well.
Since the ban, more than 300 summonses have been issued against reckless riders, said Dr Lam, replying to a question by Mr Ang Wei Neng (Jurong GRC). This is for speeding and riding non-compliant devices.
In addition, about 6,000 advisories had been issued to remind riders of the new regulations as of Dec 31 last year.
From this year, those caught riding on footpaths can be fined up to $2,000, jailed a maximum of three months or both. Since Jan 1, 27 errant riders have been caught.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) now has 182 officers on its team to enforce active mobility rules, up from about 100 officers in August, Dr Lam said in a reply to Nominated MP Dennis Tan. More officers will be recruited to beef up the team to 200 people.
The footpath ban was announced after a series of accidents involving e-scooters, which resulted in the death of a 65-year-old woman cyclist and several pedestrians being injured.
LTA had said that as of Dec 31, there were more than 75,000 registered e-scooters in Singapore, a 25 per cent drop from the month before. The drop coincided with a scheme that offered $100 to e-scooter owners who disposed of their machines that were without a safety certificate by the end of last year. The agency had said it received about 30,000 applications for the grant.
Dr Lam also introduced two new Bills in Parliament yesterday.
The Active Mobility (Amendment) Bill seeks to strengthen the regulatory regime on active mobility devices and retailers, and promote better public path safety.
The Bill also makes related amendments to the Road Traffic Act to enhance penalties for PMD-related offences.
The SME (Control and Licensing) Bill sets out a new Act which will expand the scope of the current licensing regime for active mobility device-sharing operators. This proposed new Act will replace the device-sharing licensing regime in the Parking Places Act.
More details will be unveiled in Parliament next month.