Parliament: MPs call for third-party liability insurance and age criteria for PMD users

A man on an electric scooter or personal mobility device riding on the pavement along Holland Road on March 6, 2018. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The use of Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs) will come under tighter regulations, with the passing of new laws that will expand the enforcement reach of the authorities and require e-scooters to be registered.

But more can be done to further improve safety, said MPs who spoke in the debate of the Land Transport (Enforcement Measures) Bill in Parliament on Monday (Sept 10).

Their suggestions include making third-party accident insurance compulsory and setting an age requirement for PMD users.

Some also called for stronger enforcement efforts against reckless riders.

Replying to the 12 MPs who spoke, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) is conducting a trial on the use of mobile closed-circuit televisions along public paths, to identify and reduce errant behaviour.

Between May 1 and Aug 15, the LTA's enforcement officers recorded 1,300 offences, Dr Lam added. These offence include reckless riding and the use of non-compliant devices on public paths.

The Active Mobility Act, which took effect on May 1, regulates the use of bicycles, power-assisted bicycles and PMDs on footpaths, shared cycling paths and roads,

MPs such as Mr Zainal Sapari (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) and Ms Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC) wanted third-party liability insurance to be made mandatory, so that accident victims can seek recourse in claiming for damages from the PMD riders.

Dr Lam said a panel advising the Government on active mobility laws had considered the impact of mandatory insurance on a diverse group of PMD users and decided that it was more important to prevent accidents.

He noted that victims have three avenues to seek recourse: a private settlement via mediation,pursue a civil claim, and make a police report on the accident.

Non-Constituency MP Dennis Tan, however, said the right to take a case to court may just be an "academic one", since the injuries suffered by a victim may not be very serious, and that the costs of a legal suit may not be worthwhile for the parties.

Agreeing, Dr Lam said it is important to educate road and path users to ride responsibly and safely.

Meanwhile, employers of large number of active mobility device users, like food delivery companies, will be encouraged to insure their riders, he added.

The Government will also work with the General Insurance Association and insurance companies to explore ways to make premiums more affordable and accessible for PMD users.

One way could be to bundle insurance into the sale of the PMDs, he said.

He also said the suggestion made by Ms Lee and Nominated MP K. Thanaletchmi for an age criteria for individuals registering their PMDs will be considered.

From early-2019, e-scooter users will need to register their devices, and give their personal particulars to the authorities, to ease the tracing of individuals during investigations of an offence. They must also declare that their e-scooters comply with the weight, width and speed requirements.

Dr Lam, in his reply to Non-Constituency MP Tan, said an individual should apply to the LTA to transfer the PMD registration to the buyer when he sells his device.

Mr Ang Hin Kee (Ang Mo Kio GRC) suggested the LTA create a list of PMD retailers who sell compliant devices. This is an ideathe authorities will study, Dr Lam said.

Ms Lee raised the issue of whether the Active Mobility Act or Town Councils' by-laws take precedence regarding where cyclists and PMDs users can ride in housing estates.

Dr Lam said the Active Mobility Act applies to all public paths, including those in town council areas. Also, town councils are not allowed to ban PMDs on such paths or enforce by-laws that differ from the provisions in the Act.

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