Law to curb reckless use of mobility devices kicks in

The Active Mobility Act, which came into effect yesterday, spells out where bicycles, personal mobility devices and power-assisted bicycles may be used and how fast they can go.
The Active Mobility Act, which came into effect yesterday, spells out where bicycles, personal mobility devices and power-assisted bicycles may be used and how fast they can go.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Cyclists and other PMD users who speed or ride recklessly face stiff fines and jail time

Speedsters and reckless riders on bicycles, e-scooters or other personal mobility devices (PMDs) now face stiff fines and even jail time.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said yesterday that it was exercising its powers with immediate effect against those who fail to stop speeding or observe regulations set out in the Active Mobility Act that has kicked in.

Its powers regulate the use of bicycles, PMDs and power-assisted bicycles (PABs) on footpaths, shared cycling paths and roads, as well as their sales, the LTA's statement added.

The new law spells out where the devices may be used and how fast they can go.

For example, PABs are not allowed on footpaths, while e-scooters cannot go on public roads. The speed limits are 15kmh on footpaths and 25kmh on park connectors and shared paths.

First-time offenders who flout the usage rules and speed limits may be fined up to $1,000 or jailed for up to three months, or both. Repeat offenders may have their fine and jail term doubled.

The new law also sets limits on the size and speed of the devices that can be used on public paths. These cannot weigh more than 20kg each and must have their speeds capped at 25kmh. Those who use devices that flout these rules can be fined up to $5,000 and jailed for up to three months, or both.

In the case of hit-and-run accidents, those who do not stop to help accident victims face a maximum fine of $3,000 or a jail term of up to one year, or both.

Those who refuse to give their particulars or lie to LTA enforcement officers face a higher maximum fine of $5,000, in addition to the maximum one-year jail term.

Besides users, the new law also targets vendors of non-compliant devices. Those caught selling them may be fined up to $5,000 and jailed for up to three months, or both.

The LTA said it has been holding safe-riding clinics for users and dialogues with retailers to prepare the public and industry for the new law.

The Active Mobility Act was passed by Parliament in January last year. At the time, then Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo said it was introduced to safeguard the safety of pedestrians even as active mobility was encouraged to support a car-lite Singapore.

"There is not a shadow of doubt that pedestrian safety is paramount," she had said.

 
 
 

After the Act was passed, the Government kept mum on when it would take effect. Early last month, a government panel formed in 2015 to develop a set of rules governing the use of footpaths and cycling paths was still gathering public feedback on how cyclists and PMD users should behave when travelling on footpaths and in crowded areas, including whether they should ride more slowly than the recommended top speed of 15kmh that has now become law.

The LTA's surprise announcement yesterday came on the back of the rising problem of reckless riders as PMDs become more popular.

On average, there are about three accidents a week involving users of mobility devices. There were 110 accidents between January and September last year, with about 30 of them occurring on public paths and involving pedestrians and a mobility device. The rest took place at road junctions and on roads when users flouted traffic rules.

Besides having to observe rules set out under the new law, those who own PMDs will have to register their devices from the second half of this year. The exact start date for registration has not been announced.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 02, 2018, with the headline 'Law to curb reckless use of mobility devices kicks in'. Print Edition | Subscribe